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Four points from Connor McMichael, three points from Liam Foudy and two goals by Ryan Merkley resulted in one hard-fought victory for the London Knights.
McMichael scored the game-winning goal with 1:05 remaining in the third period as the Knights defeated the North Bay Battalion 4-3 at Budweiser Gardens on Friday night.
That goal and McMichael’s three assists moved him into the lead in the Ontario Hockey League scoring race, two points clear of Arthur Kaliev. The Washington Capitals’ first-rounder is now just two goals away from 20 on the season.
McMichael is currently on an eight-game point streak that has seen him put up 10 goals and 14 assists. He also has a goal for Team OHL from the Canada/Russia series that he scored on Nov. 7 in Kitchener and will play for Team OHL a second time on Nov. 11 in front of his home fans in London.
Foudy was a close runner-up in point production for the Knights with a goal and two assists and Merkley helped to get the offence going in a game that was becoming the Joe Vrbetic show.
The Battalion goaltender kept London off the board for more than a period and a half.
Merkley’s first goal deflected off a skate behind Vrbetic to cut a 2-0 North Bay lead in half.
The San Jose Sharks prospect then tied the game on a beautifully placed wrister early in the third period on a Knights power play.
Foudy put London ahead 3-2 at 10:04 of the third, only to have Matthew Struthers of the Battalion tie the game with less than three minutes remaining.
That set the stage for more McMichael heroics. A week ago he scored a game-tying goal late against Erie and then produced the winner in overtime in a six-point performance.
London outshot the Battalion 50-17. Dylan Myskiw picked up his third consecutive victory in net.
The Knights honoured members of the Canadian military before the game, including three veterans who served in the Second World War. As is tradition during London’s Remembrance ceremony at Budweiser Gardens, Knights coaches, players and staff lined the red carpet to shake the hands of all military personal as they exited the ice surface prior to the game.
Dale Hunter’s hectic November schedule
You probably know the rhyme that begins with, “Thirty days has November…” Out of anyone in the hockey world, London Knights head coach Dale Hunter may have the greatest appreciation of those 30 days. As Team Canada’s coach for the World Junior Hockey Championship, Hunter is coaching in all six games of the Canada/Russia series. He also has his regular schedule with the Knights.
Dale Hunter will find himself standing behind a bench 17 times in November, in 13 different cities in five separate states and provinces. So far, Hunter is 3-0 with the Knights and 2-1 in the Canada/Russia series.
Game 4 of Canada/Russia series comes full circle
The very first game played in the Canada/Russia series took place on Nov. 17, 2003 in London, Ont, an forgettable game that Team OHL won 7-1. Ben Eager had two goals and an assist to lead the way offensively. If you go back and look at that roster, Corey Perry and Jeff Carter are the only active National Hockey Leaguers remaining from it. Game 4 of the 2019 series will be played at Budweiser Gardens on Nov. 11 at 7:00. It can be heard on 980 CFPL, at www.980cfpl.ca and the Radioplayer Canada app.
Under-17 black magic magic runs out
Team Canada Black became a wild story at this year’s Under-17 World Hockey Challenge in Medicine Hat. Alta. and Swift Current, Sask. All three of their preliminary round games went to overtime and Team Canada Black found ways to win all three. Two ended in OT, one on a goal by Guelph Storm 2019 first-rounder Danny Zhilkin and another sent to a shootout. That matched Team Canada Black up against Team Russia in a quarter-final where overtime didn’t happen. Russia won the game 8-4.
Team Canada White is now this country’s last hope for a medal. They edged Team Canada Red in overtime in a quarter-final on a goal by Sudbury Wolves forward Chase Stillman and face the United States in a semi-final. Russia goes up against the Czech Republic in the other semi.
The London Knights head for Owen Sound on Saturday for their second meeting of the season against the Attack. In the first one the Knights erased a 4-1 Owen Sound lead in London by scoring three times in the second period and force overtime only to have the Attack win it on a goal by Barret Kirwin. Owen Sound built a five-game winning streak in late October and have gone 2-2-1 since it ended. They are led offensively by Los Angeles Kings prospect Aidan Dudas and former Knight Sergey Popov.
Coverage will begin at 7 p.m. on 980 CFPL, at www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.
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