London Knights vs. Windsor Spitfires recap: Victor Mete and Jeremiah Addison collide in a top OHL matchup
I made the long trek from Rochester, New York to London, Ontario to check out a pair of Habs prospects in a heated rivalry.
As far as rivalries in the CHL are concerned, the London Knights and Windsor Spitfires may have the best one going. Both teams sit at or near the top of their respective divisions in the Ontario Hockey League, leading to a high-intensity contest each time they clash. While Mikhail Sergachev is still with the Montreal Canadiens and not in Windsor, a pair of Habs prospects took the ice: Victor Mete for London, and Jeremiah Addison for Windsor.
It was Mete who struck first, getting on the board after Max Jones’ shot went off Mario Culina’s pads and into the slot. Mete ripped it by the Windsor netminder for a power-play goal in the first period. Carolina draft pick Janne Kuokkanen added another marker on the man advntage to double the Knights’ lead late in the opening frame.
#Habs Victor Mete starts the play and finishes it. 6P on the season. pic.twitter.com/lcyGlx4iNK— Mitch Brown (@MitchLBrown) October 15, 2016
While the first 20 minutes were closely contested, the second period was all London as they racked up 19 shots to the three that Windsor managed. Cliff Pu converted a gorgeous breakaway feed into the 3-0 goal to add create a commanding lead.
The third period was more of the same as a relentless Knights forecheck held the Spitfires at bay. Splitting Addison from usual linemates Vilardi and Brown didn’t help, and a beautiful net-front drive and shot from Jones put the game out of reach.
I spoke with Mete after the game about the ongoing rivalry between London and Windsor, and how he adapted to playing against larger opponents.
“Yeah, it’s a big rivalry, so the intensity for each game is ramped up a bit. Last time out we played them well in their building and came out with a point, so we want to carry that same mentality over into this game.”
Standing just 5’10”, you could expect Mete to have a tough time defending against larger-bodies players, like 6’5” Logan Brown who faced him in last night’s contest.
“I don’t always engage a bigger guy right away, I may let him come to me and then surprise them and attack when they’re unaware with my stick or a poke check.”
I also asked about how he sees his playing style, and if he can adapt it to the professional level in near future.
“It’s tough to make it at the pro level, but I think with my speed and skill I can bring that same game to the next level. The pre-season tournament gave me a lot of experience, and even playing against guys like Brown, who was a first-round pick, and Addison is like playing against big-league guys. So learning to play against them helps me when I get to the next level.“
In my eyes, Mete is quite possibly the most dynamic prospect in the Canadiens system with Sergachev on the NHL roster. He’s lightning quick on the ice, with smooth hands and great offensive instincts. Even his defensive play, which was the biggest knock on him by scouts (as is often the case with draft prospects) appears to have improved greatly so far this year. With his smooth skating and knack for creating goals, Mete could very well become a lethal power-play weapon on the blue line in the future.
While he was held off the scoresheet, Addisonand linemates Brown and Vilardi continued their dominant play before a shakeup to spread out the offensive attack late in the game. Addison takes up residence in the “Gallagher spot” right in front of the net and creates all sorts of havoc in the crease. I counted several instances on Windsor power plays or sustained periods in the offensive zone where he created scoring chances just from that area.
Addison comes as advertised: he’s a hard-nosed, full-effort force on the ice, unafraid of get into the dirty areas to create scoring chances. He throws the body well, and shows good hands tipping shots around the crease. He may not end up as a top six player, but he brings a game that fits perfectly into the Canadiens’ current ideal of a bottom-six forward.