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KNIGHTS BLOW OUT BATTALION

Ontario Hockey League
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Kevin Hancock had a four-point afternoon for the London Knights as they blew out the North Bay Battalion 8-1 at Budweiser Gardens on Sunday.

Hancock now has 48 goals and 98 points in his overage season with nine games remaining on the London schedule.

The victory keeps the Knights four points in front of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for first place in the Western Conference.

It was the second Sunday in a row that London scored eight times on its opponent. The Knights knocked off the Erie Otters 8-5 on Feb. 17. This time around, they did it with eight different goal scorers.

After the game, Hancock pointed out just how important that was.

“All lines were going, and the depth was great,” said the overage Knights forward. “All six [defencemen] played great, and [Joseph Raaymakers] made some big saves so it really was a total team effort that got us that win.”

Connor McMichael and Liam Foudy each had a goal and an assist, and London defenceman Adam Boqvist added a pair of assists.

Justin Brazeau scored the lone goal for the Battalion.

London outshot North Bay 51-23.

Key plays

Cotter and Stranges combined on a beautiful goal to open the scoring against the Battalion. Cotter swooped across the North Bay blue line on the left side, beat a defender and fed a pass in front of the net that Stranges buried for his 12th goal of the year and a 1-0 London lead.

During the first period, Raaymakers of the Knights made two saves in quick succession off Matthew Struthers, who won a race to a puck that he had dumped in off the end boards.

Hancock scored his 48th goal of the year with 29 seconds to go in the first, putting London ahead 2-1.

London captain Evan Bouchard zipped through centre and scored the first of four second-period goals on a snap shot 5:48, and then the Knights tallied goals from Alex Formenton, Josh Nelson and Foudy in a span of two minutes and 55 seconds to break the game open.

McMichael added a third-period goal as he cut hard to the net and picked a corner for his 35th of the season.

Raaymakers ties Ralph

Raaymakers earned his 28th win of the season on Feb. 22, giving him 107 in his OHL career. That ties him for third in career wins by an OHL goalie with Jim Ralph, who played for the Ottawa 67’s from 1978-82. The all-time leader in wins by a goaltender is J.P. Anderson with 126. He played for Sarnia and Mississauga between 2008 and 2013. Londoner and former Soo Greyhound Kyle Gajewski ranks second in OHL history with 114.

Up next

London will be home to face the Guelph Storm on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. The Midwest Division race is down to the Knights and the Storm. The magic number for London to clinch is seven points. Any combination of points gained by the Knights or lost by Guelph totalling seven will mean that London wins the Midwest for the first time since 2013.

The Knights are 2-1-1 against Guelph this year. London and the Storm last met in a midweek game on Feb. 13, and London came away with a 6-1 win.

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