Sahil Panwar scored shorthanded to break a 1-1 tie in the third period as the Flint Firebirds knocked off the London Knights 3-1 on Friday night at Budweiser Gardens.
The win moved the Firebirds into a tie for fourth place for most road wins in a season. They are 24-7 with three games left away from home on their schedule, so the all-time record held by the 2004-05 Knights is safe. However the Firebirds are into some high-end company.
Of the ten Ontario Hockey League clubs to win at least 24 road games in a single year, four went on to win the OHL Championship and three won the Memorial Cup.
Panwar’s goal came as Flint was killing a five-minute major penalty to Riley Piercey on a player in which no initial infraction was called.
Piercey Cross-checked London forward Camaryn Baber in the face as he came through centre ice. Because there was a possible match penalty on the play the officials were able to review it.
Piercey was ejected but the Knights just could not find the back of the net during the man advantage.
Less than a minute after the end of the major penalty, Gavin Hayes made it 3-1 Flint to finish the scoring.
The team captains exchanged first period goals as London’s Luke Evangelista scored his 52nd on the season while Brennan Othmann blasted home his 42nd. That created the 1-1 tie that lasted 28 minutes and 32 seconds
Owen Flores and Luke Cavallin put on a show in net at either end of the ice. Flores made 35 saves. Cavallin made 32.
The Knights magic number to clinch the Midwest Division crown remains at five points.
Any combination of points earned by London or lost by the Guelph Storm totalling five would clinch the division for the Knights.
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Guelph battled back from a 5-2 first period deficit to defeat the Owen Sound Attack 6-5 in overtime.
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OHL Cup update
The OHL Cup is headed into the weekend and the London Jr. Knights are headed with it. The Jr. Knights entered Friday needing to win two games that would be played in under six hours in order to guarantee they would make the knockout round. London hammered the York-Simcoe Express 8-0 in the first game of the day and then blanked Don Mills 3-0 to finish the round robin with three wins and one loss and first place in the Lindros Division.
The Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs needed a win over the Mississauga Senators to advance and while they scored first, the Senators wound up winning 7-3 ending the Chiefs’ tournament.
Former Knights at University Cup
The U Sports men’s hockey championship is happening this weekend in Wolfville, N.S., and the tournament is down to the final four. It began with seven former Knights and London, Ont., native Aidan Hughes (Brock), in contention. Tyler Rollo (Brock), Cole Tymkin (Brock), Joseph Raaymakers (St. FX), Josh Nelson (St. FX), Santino Centorame (St. FX), Jason Willms (UNB) and Eric Henderson (Acadia) are the former Knights taking part. St. FX knocked off Brock in one quarter-final.
When the Ontario Hockey League re-made the end of the regular season schedule to accommodate post-poned games it created a unique situation for the Knights.
The original schedule was designed to keep teams as close to home from a travel perspective as they could possibly be. For London that meant an entire 68-game season against only Western Conference opponents. However, when the schedule was altered the Knights wound up being matched up with the Barrie Colts for one game. That game happens next for London and takes place in Barrie, Ont., on Saturday, April 2 at 7:30 pm.
The Colts are currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. They have won three games in a row. They are led in scoring by former Kitchener Rangers forward Declan McDonnell and L.A. Kings draft pick Brandt Clarke. Barrie also has former Owen Sound Attack goalie Mack Guzda in net.
Coverage will begin at 7 pm on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.
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