The London Knights sandwiched three North Bay goals with eight of their own, extending their winning streak with an 8-3 victory on Friday at Budweiser Gardens. London has now won four straight games as they head into an uphill climb in their schedule with six games in just nine days.
There was no sign of incline in the first period as the Knights got rolling downhill, scoring three times to lead 3-0.
Alex Formenton helped to open the scoring as he used speed to beat out an icing, got a shot on goal and Owen MacDonald put home the rebound for a 1-0 lead. Max Jones made it 2-0, wiring a wrist shot past North Bay goalie, Brent Moran. Jones was making his return to the London lineup after missing four games with an injury. He now has at least a point in every game he has played this season. Jones’ linemate, Cliff Pu extended his point streak to 16 games with his first of two assists in the game.
J.J. Piccinich hit double digits as he scored his tenth of the season on a power play last in the period and the Knights appeared to be flying along.
The second period put a bit of a bump into the Knights’ road as the Battalion came bounding all the way back. Justin Brazeau skated down the right wing and sent a knuckler of a shot over the glove of Tyler Parsons to score North Bay’s first goal against London this season. The Knights shut out the Battalion 7-0 in North Bay on November 3rd. That made the score 3-1 and changed the flow of the game for much of the middle period.
The teams began to race back and forth up and down the ice. In the span of two shifts, Max Jones and Cliff Pu created a 2-0 that went wide and a 2-on-1 that was stopped and then the Battalion struck twice in 19 seconds on goals by Brady Lyle and Maurizio Colella and the game sat tied 3-3 and as London’s downhill ride shifted upward.
It didn’t take long before London tilted the hill back their way as first round pick Liam Foudy carried the puck across the Battalion blue line on the left side, looked off two defenders by turning to fake a pass and then cut to the net and deked home a backhand to put the Knights back in front 4-3.
Olli Juolevi and Janne Kuokkanen gave Knights’ fans in Finland a reason to cheer as Juolevi set up Kuokkanen on a power play with a slap-pass that created a wide-open side and a 5-3 London lead going to the dressing room after 40 minutes.
Sam Miletic wasted no time restoring London’s three goal lead as the third period began. He cut hard to the net and poked a shot through Moran for his team-leading 14th goal of the season at 47 seconds.
Robby Thomas battled the puck to the North Bay net and then banged in a rebound for a 7-3 London lead.
Pu finished the scoring and moved back into a tie for the team goal scoring lead with Miletic as he snapped a shot through the legs of Moran.
Five London players recorded multi-point games. Pu and Kuokkanen had a goal and two assists. Thomas, Jones and Piccinich had a goal and an assist for the Knights.
London will continue with six games in nine days on Saturday in St. Catherines as they face the Niagara Ice Dogs for the first time since the 2016 OHL Championship series, back in the building where they celebrated on May 11th. London will come right back to Budweiser Gardens on Sunday evening against the Windsor Spitfires for a six o’clock faceoff. For tickets, call 519-681-0800 x 1, visit the Knights’ Armouries or go online to www.londonknights.com