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STING NO MATCH FOR SURGING KNIGHTS

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Connor McMichael got pats on the back from his teammates and a great big hug from goaltender Brett Brochu after he scored his second goal in a game that saw the London Knights defeat Sarnia 4-1.

McMichael’s low snap shot at 11:08 of the third period allowed the Ajax, Ont., native to hit 100 points on the season for the first time in his Ontario Hockey League career.

The Washington Capitals first round posted his 31st multi-point game of the year with two goals and an assist as the Knights moved five points ahead of the Kitchener Rangers who were beaten on home ice for the second game in a row. The Rangers lost 6-4 to the Barrie Colts.

London is also five points ahead of the Saginaw Spirit who were idle on Friday.

Liam Foudy scored the only goal of the first period as he took a pass from Alec Regula at the left point in the Sarnia zone, drew a defender to him and then went around that defender and zoomed toward the net where Foudy’s initial shot was stopped. The Blue Jackets’ prospect found the rebound and batted it past Sting goalie Ben Gaudreau to make it 1-0 for the Knights through 20 minutes.

Ryan McGregor of the Sting tied the game 1-1 at the 7:25 mark of the second period as he deflected a puck past Brett Brochu.

After a Connor McMichael power play goal was disallowed due to goaltender interference, McMichael managed to find the back of the net again for a goal that made it to the scoreboard. He flipped a Foudy pass past Gaudreau to London ahead 2-1.

Alec Regula gave the Knights a 3-1 advantage as he scored his 27th goal of the year on a 5-on-3 power play with just over two minutes remaining in the second period. That goal tied Regula with Dennis Wideman for 2nd most goals by a long defenceman in a single season. Nick Stajduhar holds the London Knights record. He had 34 goals in 1993-94.

McMichael added the only goal of the final period to reach his 100-point plateau and complete the scoring.

The Knights outshot the Sting 49-21. McMichael was credited with 12 of those London shots.

Knights forward Jonathan Gruden left the game in the first period after suffering what appeared to be a cut to his leg following a collision with Gaudreau in front of the Sarnia net. Gruden did not return but his injury is not thought to be one that will keep him out long-term.

Next up for London is a trip to Owen Sound on Saturday before a Sunday evening home game against the Oshawa Generals at 6 p.m. at Budweiser Gardens.

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