November 10, 2017 10:59 pm

London Knights blank Flint at Budweiser Gardens

Mike Stubbs/ 980 CFPL
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Knights’ captain Robert Thomas scored three times and London goalie, Joseph Raaymakers didn’t let anyone score at all as the Knights blanked the Firebirds 9-0 at Budweiser Gardens on Friday.

The win came exactly two weeks after an 8-2 victory over Flint in the very same place.

Thomas, Evan Bouchard, Cliff Pu and Alex Formenton all had three-point games. All four had played the night before in Owen Sound in the Canada/Russia series.

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The win by the Knights, coupled with the loss by Flint and a loss by the Saginaw Spirit in Mississauga, moves London clear of both teams in the OHL standings and within three points of the Erie Otters for seventh overall in the Western Conference.

Friday’s game began with a heartfelt Remembrance Day ceremony that honoured Chief Warrant Officer William Schussler, Naval veteran Bob Hanson, Sam Carr of the Royal Canadian Regiment, Master Warrant Officer Edward Carr, Retired Chief Warrant Officer Bill Edwards and military veterans, Leo Young and Rey Lachance.

As the military personnel left the ice, the Knights players lined the red carpet to shake hands with each and every member of the military in attendance as they exited.

How the goals were scored:

After a tight start to the game and a 0-0 score through just over fifteen minutes, London forward, Tyler Rollo started the scoring with his first goal as a Knight. He faded away from traffic to the left side of the Firebirds’ zone and shot a puck at the net and it hit off the post to the glove side of Flint goalie, Garrett Forrest and got London on the board.

Just 46 seconds later, Knights’ captain Robert Thomas glided into the high slot and whipped a wrist shot off the other post and past Forrest to make it 2-0 London.

The second period began with more quick scoring work from the Knights. Richard Whittaker went into the Firebirds’ end on a 2-on-1 and played give and take with Cliff Pu until Whittaker was left with a tap-in for his second career OHL goal and just 27 seconds into the period, the Knights were ahead 3-0.

At the 2:31 mark, Pu batted home an Evan Bouchard pass right in front of the net to push the London lead to four.

Halfway through the second, Pu and Sam Miletic combined to set up Thomas for his second of the game and 14th goal of the season and that made it 5-0.

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Evan Bouchard set up Cole Tymkin and then Robert Thomas in a span of one minute and eight seconds as the Knights upped their lead to 7-0. The goal by Thomas completed his second hat trick on home ice this year.

Liam Foudy put London ahead 8-0 on a breakaway goal at 11:43 and then Alex Formenton got into the slot in the Flint end, got knocked to his knees and while facing the wrong way, backhanded a puck past Forrest to complete the scoring.

Shutout number four:

Raaymakers now has four career shutouts in the Ontario Hockey League, but his 32 saves against the Firebirds gave the Chatham native his first as a Knight. Raaymakers made several outstanding stops and had to lunge in front of a second and even a third effort to keep the puck out of his net. He now has a 6-1-1 record in his eight appearances with London.

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As even as it gets:

All nine goals by the Knights came at even strength. London’s power play was 0-for-2 in the game. The Firebirds were 0-for-5.

With the Knights leading 7-0 in the third period, Bouchard came racing back into his own zone and dove to knock the puck off the stick of Jack Wismer who had a clear lane to the London net. Those are things that scouts tend to jot down about a player.

One in, one out:

Jacob Golden returned to the Knights’ lineup after missing five games due to injury. He was hurt in a collision with Shaw Boomhower of the Steelheads on October 22 in Mississauga.

Max Jones missed the game against Flint with the flu.

Next up:

The Knights will enjoy their only set of Saturday and Sunday off outside of the holiday break and then they will head to Kitchener to play the Rangers on Tuesday at 7:00. You can hear the pre-game show and play-by-play on Global News Radio – 980

READ MORE: London Knights earn big win in Owen Sound against Attack

But before that:

Three Knights players will be off to Sudbury for Game 4 of the Canada/Russia series on Monday. Cliff Pu, Alex Formenton and Evan Bouchard will join Londoner Nick Suzuki and Stratford’s Keaton Middleton and try to even the series with Team Russia. After splitting two games against the Western Hockey League, Russia defeated Team OHL 5-2 in Owen Sound on Thursday. The series gives Hockey Canada a look at players who are eligible for the World Junior Hockey Championship. Knights’ captain, Robert Thomas played against Russia in Owen Sound, but will not play in the second game. Thomas is expected to get very serious consideration for a roster spot on Team Canada for this year’s World Junior tournament in Buffalo.

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