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'Sick play': Easton Cowan scores game winner to send Knights to Memorial Cup final

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Easton Cowan grew up watching the London Knights from his home just west of the city in Mt. Brydges, Ont.

Wednesday night he sent his childhood team to the Memorial Cup final when he scored the tie-breaking, game winning goal with 1:24 to go in regulation as London beat Saginaw 4-2.

“I actually have chills right now,” said Cowan who would add an empty net goal to seal the win. “It's a dream come true.”

He had multiple chances earlier in the game, and had yet to score in the tournament, but his first goal was the biggest of the national championship thus far.

“I thought I was getting my chances throughout the first couple of games, couldn't really find my legs there,” added Cowan, the Toronto Maple Leafs first round pick. “I felt like in that third period, I really got back to my game and fore-check and stops and starts and it felt good to get that one in.”

Cowan finished off the play from close range after Sam O’Reilly won a puck battle by lifting the stick of a Spirit player before feeding Cowan.

“That’s what you expect from your best players,” said teammate Max McCue. “Guys like that you lean on in the hard moments, and you know, they tend to come through. If you give the puck to Cow [Cowan] in the slot with two minutes to go, he’s usually going to score.”

After the game, Saginaw head coach Chris Lazary called the contest a “hell of a game.”

“One good break there at the end and they capitalized on it,” he said. “Easton Cowan is a good hockey player, and they made a sick play on entry and he’s a dangerous player to score.”

Knights head coach Dale Hunter knew Cowan’s time would come, as he was getting chances.

“He's got the skill and he is good skater who knows the game and pushes through,” said Hunter. “It's hard skating out there with both teams running three lines. It’s a battle, and lots of ice time for the guys, so it's the ones that overcome so much ice time and keeps pushing.”

The win pushes London into Sunday’s Memorial Cup final, as they search for the third national title in franchise history.

It’s a thought that puts a smile on Hunter’s face.

“It's a battle to get here,” said Hunter. “You're battling against real good teams and top teams from the leagues, so it makes it fun hockey.”

They will face the winner of Saginaw-Moose Jaw, who will play in Friday’s Semi-final. 

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