Stompin’ Tom Connors made the “Sudbury Saturday Night” famous when he included the song on his very first album in 1967.
The Ontario Hockey League schedule did not allow the London Knights and the Sudbury Wolves to soak in a Saturday of hockey this season, but the teams came together for a Friday night show that ended in a 5-3 London victory.
Kevin Hancock scored twice and added an assist and Liam Foudy hit the 20-goal mark for the second year in a row.
The Knights stomped back after being edged 3-2 by the Barrie Colts on Thursday to begin their northern road swing.
London scored the first goal of the game and never trailed.
The Knights also rode their No. 1-ranked penalty kill which went 9-for-9 against Wolves shooters.
Joseph Raaymakers was a large part of that as well. He made 33 saves to pick up his 20th win of the season.
The loss by Sudbury ended their four-game winning streak.
London kept pace with the Ottawa 67’s in the race for first place in the OHL standings. The 67’s beat Peterborough 4-0 in Ottawa so the Knights remain one point back with two games in hand.
How the goals were scored
Against the Barrie Colts on Thursday night, the Knights seemed to get pucks to the goal line but they found ways to stay out. On Friday, the opposite was true.
Evan Bouchard took a simple whack at a puck that had dribbled to the side of the Wolves net on a power play and it slipped under a defender and Sudbury goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen just enough to count following a lengthy review and London grabbed a 1-0 lead.
Former Sarnia Sting forward Adam Ruzkicka tied the game for Sudbury on a hard shot from the left side of the London zone at 13:33 of the first period.
Liam Foudy put the Knights back in front 56 seconds later as he was set up by Kevin Hancock for his 20th goal of the season. Hancock used Connor McMichael as a decoy and fed Foudy who turned a 2-on-1 into a 3-on-1 and the Knights took a 2-1 advantage to the dressing room.
Alec Regula made it 3-1 Knights early in the second period as he took a pass from Josh Nelson, deked into the slot and wired a wrist shot past Luukkonen.
Ruzicka’s second of the night cut London’s lead to a goal as a puck bounced to the Flames’ draft pick to the right of Joseph Raaymakers and he snapped it in.
Drake Pilon tied the game 3-3 at 15:42 on a deflection as Cole Candella threaded a puck through to his stick that was set up beside the left post. Less than a minute later Pilon appeared to put the Wolves ahead 4-3, but a review ruled that the play was offside.
Before the buzzer to end the second period, the Knights found a way back in front as the teams played 4-on-4. Adam Boqvist got a puck to the front of the net from a sharp angle and Hancock fund a way to get it in for his 35th goal of the year.
Hancock got his second of the night into an empty net as he and Josh Nelson tried to be the least selfish player in a bit of, “You take it… no, you take it.” Nelson left Hancock with a tap-in and he finished the scoring.
3-D power play goal
Thanks to Will Lochead’s ability to work in front of the net and the offensive minds of Evan Bouchard and Adam Boqvist, the London Knights have been using three defencemen on their top power-play unit. On Thursday in Barrie, they combined to score a goal. A puck was put to the Colts’ net with the Knights on a man advantage in the second period, Lochead jammed at it and was stopped, but the puck came free and was taken by Evan Bouchard in the left corner. He found Adam Boqvist just above the right hash mark and Boqvist scored. A power-play goal by a defenceman — assisted by two other defencemen.
Jordan Kooy is still listed as day-to-day after suffering a minor injury on January 12 prior to warm-up as the Knights were preparing to meet the Ottawa 67’s. He will not appear in any games on London’s northern road trip but could be ready to go in Windsor on January 24. The Knights will make their next home appearance on January 25 as they complete a quick home-and-home with the Spitfires.
Alex Formenton has reportedly been skating recently and may be able to get back into the London lineup next month. The Senators draft pick suffered a leg injury at Team Canada’s final selection camp ahead of the World Junior Hockey Championship. Formenton has 16 points in 13 games so far this season.
What goes through your mind
As Max Jones was getting ready to step onto National Hockey League ice for the first time in the regular season, you would expect him to have all sorts of things running through his mind. A player’s NHL debut is special and made even more so by the tradition of letting that player go out all by himself to start warm-up and do a couple of laps before his team joins him. Here’s what Jones tweeted was running through his head:
My mind- *please don’t fall, please don’t fall, please don’t fall* ?
Jones played 12:22 and recorded one shot on goal as the Anaheim Ducks ended their 12-game losing streak with a 3-0 shutout in Minnesota. The even better news for Jones is that coaches tend to keep their lineup the same after a victory like that. Anaheim is in New Jersey on Saturday afternoon.
Former Knights scout Bill Needham passes away
Bill Needham, who was part of the London Knights scouting staff from 1994-1997 passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at the age of 70. Needham was a huge part of getting hundreds of players to the Ontario Hockey League, serving as a scout for North Bay and Windsor and doing two stints with OHL Central Scouting, the second as Director from 1998-2004.
London will complete three games in four days in North Bay against the Battalion on Sunday at 2 p.m. The Battalion had been one of the hottest teams in the league to end 2018 and begin 2019. They went an entire calendar month, from December 13 to January 13 without losing in regulation. Kingston cooled them off last weekend, beating the Battalion 2-1 and since then, they have dropped two more games, losing 5-0 to Sudbury on Wednesday and 5-1 at home to the Soo Greyhounds on Thursday.
Coverage on Sunday will begin at 1:30 on 980 CFPL, at www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.
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