Evan Bouchard and Alex Formenton each scored in their first game with the London Knights as the team beat the Rangers 3-0 in Kitchener on Sunday afternoon.
Knights goalie Joseph Raaymakers made 30 saves for his first shutout of the season.
London was playing its third game in 47 hours, and players impressed assistant coach Rick Steadman with the way they finished a perfect three-win weekend.
“The guys are playing hard, but they are having fun out there,” said Steadman. “Look at how they were diving around at the end trying to get the shutout for (Raaymakers), doing anything they could to get him a shutout…Any time the guys can get into that mindset, it makes you a great team.”
Raaymakers was thankful for the help, not just from his teammates but from a couple lucky misses as well.
“There were about five or six posts hit in the game. That’s just the way it went, but it was a good win.”
London outshot the Rangers 36-30. Raaymakers was named the game’s first star. Kitchener goalie Lucas Pfeil was named the second star.
Sunday’s victory moves the Knights into first place in the Midwest Division. They are tied with the Guelph Storm at 22 points but own the advantage thanks to an extra win and a game in hand.
The Knights have gone 6-0-1 in their past seven games.
They played Sunday’s game without a couple of regular defencemen as Adam Boqvist sat out a fourth game in a row. He is listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury. Andrew Perrott served the first game of a two-game suspension for a helmet violation during a fight in Owen Sound on Saturday.
How the goals were scored
Bouchard took just six minutes and 35 seconds to score his first goal of the season for the London Knights. Bouchard finished a three-way passing play with Dalton Duhart and Nathan Dunkley to put London ahead 1-0.
That goal stood until the final minute of the second period, when Alec Regula’s shot from the right side of the Rangers zone was stopped by Lucas Pfeil, but Sergey Popov was in a perfect spot to knock in the rebound and give the Knights some major breathing room as they moved ahead to 2-0 through 40 minutes.
Formenton’s first of the year into an empty net completed the scoring at 18:39.
Third-year Knights forward Cole Tymkin has been piling up numbers in 2018-19. He is on a four-game point streak and leads the Knights in scoring with 10 goals and 19 points in 16 games so far. His offensive jump from last year to this year has been a big boost for the Knights. The Fort Frances/Rainy River native has already set a new career high for goals and sits just outside the top-20 in league scoring. The OHL does not keep track of hits, but if they did, Tymkin would likely top the charts in that category, too. Go ahead and ask anyone who has played against him this year — they’ll tell you keeping your head up is key when Tymkin is on the ice.
Bouchard and Formenton off to another team
Bouchard and Formenton put on the London Knights’ uniform on Sunday for the first time in the regular season. Up until Friday, Bouchard had been decked out in the orange and navy blue of the Oilers and Formenton was wearing the red, black and white of the Ottawa Senators. Both are going to be wearing additional uniforms over the next week: the annual Canada-Russia series begins out west in Vancouver and Kamloops on Nov. 5 and 6 before shifting east. Both Bouchard and Formenton have been added to the Team OHL roster. Bouchard will play on Thursday, Nov. 8 in Sarnia, and Formenton will play for Team OHL on Monday, Nov. 12 in Oshawa.
The Canada-Russia series is an opportunity for players to showcase themselves one final time ahead of the unveiling of final selection camps for the World Junior Hockey Championship. Formenton helped Canada to win gold last year in Buffalo.
Team of the Century to be Honoured
The 2004-05 London Knights were selected as the Team of the Century during the 100th edition of the Memorial Cup tournament in May. They will be honoured at Budweiser Gardens on Nov. 22. Eleven players from that team went on to play at least one game in the National Hockey League, and Corey Perry, Marc Methot and Dan Girardi are still active NHLers. The 2004-05 Knights went 59-7-2 during the regular season and captured London’s first OHL championship and first Memorial Cup title. They still hold a number of Canadian Hockey League records, including longest unbeaten streak from the start of a season: 29-0-2.
After playing four of their past five games on the road, the London Knights will be home for an entire week. They host the Sudbury Wolves on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Budweiser Gardens. The Wolves will not have Quinton Byfield, who was the first overall pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. Byfield is at the Under-17s. It is difficult for 16-year-old players to jump in and make a major impact in the OHL, but Byfield is second in goals and points for Sudbury. He is six-foot-five and 214 pounds — and he plays like it.
London will be hosting the Kitchener Rangers on Nov. 11 for a game that will feature a Remembrance Day ceremony before they drop of the puck.
The pre-game show will get underway at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.