Around the OHL – October 13, 2015

Forward Owen MacDonald sounds off after his team nearly blows a 5-1 from the first period

 Forget simply giving thanks. This weekend for the London Knights was about escape and relief.

They blew a 5-1 first-period lead Monday afternoon but still managed to beat the Hamilton Bulldogs 8-6 before 3,058 — a lot of them Knights fans — at First­Ontario Centre (formerly Copps Coliseum).

“We can’t give that away,” said London forward Owen MacDonald, who tipped in the winning goal with 3:45 left in the third period. “It was terrible play by us in the second period (outscored 3-0 in the middle 20 minutes). That’s what cost us and luckily, we grinded them down in the third.

“We can’t have that again.”

Did MacDonald worry his high tip off a Brandon Crawley point shot would be negated on a high-stick video review?

“I’m not too tall, so no,” the 5-foot-9 veteran quipped.

The Bulldogs grew a few inches when ex-Knight Ben Gleason, dealt to the Hammer last week after struggling to get in London’s lineup, brought his new team all the way back to even late in the third. It was his first OHL goal.

That joy lasted a grand total of 67 seconds before MacDonald’s redirection.

“(Gleason) got his moment of fame,” MacDonald said. “It didn’t last for very long but good for him. I hope he succeeds here and wish him all the best.”

The Knights spent a lot of time crossing their fingers in hope Matthew Tkachuk wasn’t seriously injured after a collision with an Attack player in a 2-1 loss in Owen Sound on Saturday.

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Rangers rookie collects five points in romp

The Kitchener Rangers are hoping it’s a glimpse of things to come.

Rookie winger Greg Meireles picked up five points in an 8-2 rout against the Sudbury Wolves on Thanksgiving Monday at the Aud.

It’s the first five-point performance since Michael Catenacci did the quint back in 2012. But “Cat” was a fifth-year captain at the time, not a 16-year-old playing in just his third OHL game.

“It means the world,” said Meireles, who scored twice and added three assists. “It has always been my dream to go to the OHL, and to get five points is amazing. It’s unreal.”

The freshman has taken an unusual path to the Aud.

The Rangers’ first-round draft pick (12th overall) opted to sign with the club as an affiliate player while spending the majority of the season with the Ottawa Jr. Senators in the Central Canada Hockey League.

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Storm ring in new phone policy

Before entering the dressing room, before practice and on game days, Guelph Storm players must first stop by the equipment table sitting in the hallway outside their dressing room door.

There, into a bright red former shoe box with the word “PHONES” written on it in black marker, they must leave their cellphones and only then can they enter the dressing room. When all phones are accounted for, it’s put safely away by equipment manager Rusty Hammond.

While other teams in the OHL have had a similar rule in previous years, it’s something Guelph Storm coach Bill Stewart implemented prior to this season at the Sleeman Centre.

“It’s a different way to look at things, but we’re so young that we just want to make sure the focus is in the right direction as opposed to all over the place,” Stewart said of the ban on phones in the dressing room.

“There’s agents, parents, friends and all this stuff. We just want everyone to focus when they come here so that we get their full attention. It’s not that they’ve been abusing things. We just need a little more focus because of their youth.”

Stewart said there are so many different social media avenues out there that young people are involved with, that the team has to be aware of them all.

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