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'It’s going to be a battle': Undefeated Knights and Spirit sets up epic matchup Wednesday at Memorial Cup

London beat Moose Jaw 5-4 in the Knight's second game at the Memorial Cup tournament in Saginaw, MI. May 27, 2024. (Source: Eric Young/CHL) London beat Moose Jaw 5-4 in the Knight's second game at the Memorial Cup tournament in Saginaw, MI. May 27, 2024. (Source: Eric Young/CHL)

It will be the Knights against the Spirit Wednesday night with the winner going directly to Sunday’s final at the Memorial Cup tournament in Saginaw, Mich.

“It’s two good teams, and with this tournament, it’s the best of the best right now,” said Knights head coach Dale Hunter.

The Knights and Spirit are familiar with each other, having played 10 times already this season.

“It's obviously beneficial that we played him a couple times before and, you know, a little bit more about them, unlike these last two games,” said Sam Dickinson, Knights defenceman who scored Monday. “We are going to go out there and play hard and see what happens.”

The Knights got to 2-0 in this tournament by holding off both an early and late onslaught from a desperate Moose Jaw Monday night — they beat the Warriors 5-4 and stay unbeaten.

Two straight games against teams they have never faced, and London won them both.

“It's something new and we’ve never been through before going against two teams you've never played, so it has been different,” said Dickinson. “You just jump right into it right away with such a quick tournament and to get those two games out of the way and two wins, there's nothing to complain about.”

London beat Moose Jaw 5-4 in the Knight's second game at the Memorial Cup tournament in Saginaw, MI. May 27, 2024. (Source: Eric Young/CHL)In front of a largely pro-Knights crowd of 4,768 at the Dow Event Centre, the Knights pulled away in the second period, with three straight goals after the Warriors tied the game at two goals each, 7:01 into the middle frame.

The comeback only lasted two minutes as Sam O’Reilly, Landon Sim and Kasper Halttunen scored seven minutes and twelve seconds apart to give London a three-goal lead and they would never look back.

O’Reilly’s goal was a thing of beauty and gave the Knights the lead, which they would never surrender.

He went around the Warriors defenceman and tucked a shot up under the crossbar from a tight angle.

“It was a hell of a play by Max [McCue] to get it to me,” said O’Reilly. “They were coming at me and I went around them. Thankfully I got it up high over the goalie’s glove.”

London came out physical, pounding the Warriors players on the forecheck every chance they got.

“The purpose of finishing your checks is to separate the guys from the puck and win the battle from that,” said Hunter.

Ruslan Gazizov forced a turnover to score the Knights first goal, thanks to aggressive play in the Warriors end. It was one of many times the Knights used physicality to their advantage.

“It's not easy to play against them for sure,” said Warriors Coach. Mark O’Leary. “They [London] muddy the waters through the neutral zone. They make it hard, hard to get through there and, you know, in and around the net.”

O’Leary thought his team left some opportunities on the board, but credited London for capitalizing on their chances.

Denver Barkey and Easton Cowan each added a pair of assists for London.

Moose Jaw will now face Drummondville Tuesday for a spot in Friday’s Semi-final game with the loser eliminated.

With two winless teams, there will be no tiebreaker game necessary at this year’s tournament. 


Round 1 schedule

(1) London Knights vs. (8) Flint Firebirds

Game 1: Fri., March 29 – London 3 Flint 0

Game 2: Sun., March 31 – London 6 Flint 4

Game 3: Tues., April 2 – London 4  Flint 3

Game 4: Thurs., April 4 – London 3 Flint 2


Round 2 schedule

(1) London Knights vs. (4) Kitchener Rangers

Game 1 – London 5 Kitchener 3

Game 2 – London 5 Kitchener 1

Game 3 – London 6 Kitchener 4

Game 4 – London 4 Kitchener 3


Western Conference Championship Series

(1) London Knights vs. (2) Saginaw Spirit

Game 1 – London 3 Saginaw 1 

Game 2 – London 3 Saginaw 1

Game 3 – Saginaw 6 London 2

Game 4 – London 7 Saginaw 3

Game 5 – Saginaw 4 London 2

Game 6 – London 4 Saginaw 2


2024 OHL Championship Series

Game 1 - London 8 Oshawa 1

Game 2 - London 9 Oshawa 1

Game 3 - London 7 Oshawa 6

Game 4 - London 7 Oshawa 1 Top Stories

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