With the Memorial Cup in the building and the Team of the Century looking on, the London Knights did what their 2004-05 team was famous for: they found a way to win.
London knocked off the Mississauga Steelheads 7-4 in a game that featured a pre-game ceremony honouring the club that won the franchise’s first OHL championship and first Memorial Cup.
In a first period that ebbed and flowed like it was in a wavy lake, London managed to keep their heads above water and emerged with a 4-3 lead through 20 minutes.
From there, things settled down and the Knights worked their way to a 10th straight victory, something the 2004-05 team knew a lot about. London is now 12-0-1 in their last 13 games and have not lost in regulation since Oct. 19, now more than a calendar month.
Adam Boqvist led the way with two goals and an assist. Alex Formenton had a goal and two assists.
Evan Bouchard and Billy Moskal chipped in a goal and an assist apiece and Joseph Raaymakers stopped 33 shots for his eighth win of the year.
How the goals were scored
After all kinds of applause during the pre-game ceremony honouring the Knights’ 2004-05 Memorial Cup championship team, the Mississauga Steelheads quieted the crowd with a goal by Owen Tippett that came on a snap-shot just 24 seconds into the game.
London rebounded with three straight goals of their own.
The first goal was the first of Paul Cotter’s Ontario Hockey League career. He took a pass from Liam Foudy and ripped a wrist shot past Mississauga goalie Jacob Ingham to tie the game 1-1.
Nathan Dunkley scored to put London ahead less than three minutes later as he spun around and batted a backhand into the Steelheads’ net.
Adam Boqvist’s third goal of the season made it 3-1 for London at 10:35 as he was set up by Billy Moskal.
With just under a half a period remaining, there was time for more scoring and the teams took advantage.
Cole Carter and Alan Lyszczarczyk scored power-play goals just over 60 seconds apart and the game sat tied again.
London struck on the power play before the end of the period as Boqvist blasted a shot into the net with 1:08 remaining and the Knights were back in front to stay.
Evan Bouchard scored a tap-in on a man advantage in the second period, set up by Boqvist. The goal was Bouchard’s fourth of the season.
Alex Turko set up Billy Moskal to give London a 6-3 lead at the end of 40 minutes.
In the third period, two National Hockey League prospects exchanged goals as Alex Formenton scored short-handed and Ryan McLeod wired a shot over the shoulder of Joseph Raaymakers on a power play and the scoring finally finished at 7-4.
Team of the Century
It has been just over 13 years since the London Knights’ first Memorial Cup Championship. The team that won it also won London’s first Ontario Hockey League championship and in May of 2018, they were named the Team of the Century after an online vote. Before their game against Mississauga on Nov. 22, Danny Syvret led members of that club onto the ice to be honoured with an ovation and a banner raising at Budweiser Gardens. Records they set still stand today. They began the year with an unbeaten streak that saw them go 29-0-2. They won 59 regular season games. They allowed just 125 goals. They lost just nine games total. In all, 15 players, including Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks were able to return to be part of the festivities.
The Knights will play a second home game in as many nights when they host Owen Sound on Friday, Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Budweiser Gardens. It will mark the fourth of six meetings already between the teams. The Knights are 2-1 against the Attack so far. The last game was a wild 6-5 shootout in Owen Sound on Nov. 3. The Attack have been playing very well of late. They are 4-0-1 in their last 5 games.