December 2, 2017 10:07 am

Knights comeback falls short against Oshawa Generals

Mike Stubbs/980CFPL

The Oshawa Generals held off the London Knights on Friday, beating them 5-3 at Budweiser Gardens.

Two goals in a span of 1:30 turned a 1-0 London lead into a 2-1 deficit and the Knights could not catch up after that.

After Oshawa opened up a two-goal lead, the Knights pushed back to within one, twice, but even a late flurry on a power play with the London net empty failed to find an equalizer.

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The loss kept Knights head coach Dale Hunter from becoming the third OHL coach to reach 700 regular season victories in his career. It also kept London from leapfrogging the Saginaw Spirit in the standings.

Jack Studnicka had two goals and two assists for the Generals to lead the way offensively in the game.

Evan Bouchard and Robert Thomas each had a goal and an assist for the Knights. Sam Miletic added a pair of assists as well.

The Generals outshot London 33-28.

READ MORE: Brandon Prust is back with the London Knights

How the goals were scored

Max Jones picked up his third goal in two games just over two minutes into the opening period. Like the two he scored in Guelph on Sunday, it came in tight from a tough angle. While standing on the goal line to the left of the Oshawa net, Jones squeezed a backhand between the post and Generals goalie Cole Ceci for a 1-0 London lead.

Oshawa scored power play goals exactly 90 seconds apart to tie the game and then take the lead. Switzerland’s Nico Gross got the first one on a two-man advantage and then Kyle MacLean got the second one before the Knights returned to full strength.

Renars Krastenbergs put Oshawa ahead 3-1 at 14:29 of the first period as he scored off a turnover in the London zone.

The Knights closed the gap to 3-2 in the second period as an old fashioned big save at one end turned into a goal at the other. London goalie, Joseph Raaymakers robbed Oshawa on a 2-on-1 and things zipped back the other way where Robert Thomas fed Evan Bouchard for a tap-in to make it 3-2.

Before the end of the second period, Boston Bruins prospect Jack Studnicka grabbed a puck in centre ice and kept it on a 2-on-1, firing a shot off the post and in and the Generals led by two through forty minutes.

London captain Robert Thomas closed the gap to a goal for a second time just 44 seconds into the third period as he banked a shot off a skate and then the pad of Ceci and across the goal line.

Studnicka sealed the game with his second goal into an empty net after Oshawa had survived a late power play from the Knights.

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More power play goals

When London paid a visit to Oshawa on October 1, the teams combined for six power play goals on 13 opportunities. The power played a part on Friday as well. Oshawa’s first goal came on the man advantage. The Knights added one of their own in the third period.

London’s power play had connected on 50 per cent of its chances over a four game span heading into the game against the Generals.

End of a streak

Cliff Pu’s 10-game point streak was ended by the team that drafted him. Pu recorded 9 goals and 14 assists for 23 points over that span of games. He also earned OHL Player of the Week honours for the week ending on Nov. 26.

Defenceman of the month

Pu wasn’t the only Knight to be recognized in November. Evan Bouchard was named defenceman of the month after he put up some big offensive numbers with five goals and 18 points in 10 games. Bouchard was also a plus-11. That number appears even bigger when you consider the Oakville native is usually matched against every other team’s top line.

Warm up your throwing arm

The annual Teddy Bear toss will be held Saturday night (Dec. 2) at Budweiser Gardens. The Knights are out to try to break the OHL record, which is held by Knights’ fans. It was set in 2012 after a goal by Seth Griffith when 10671 stuffed toys were collected for the Salvation Army. Fans can always add hats and mitts to their stuffed toys and they will be distributed by the Salvation Army as well.

READ MORE: World Cup draw pits Russia against Saudis in opening game, Putin attends ceremony

Next up

The Knights will host a road weary North Bay Battalion team on Saturday night. North Bay lost 5-2 in Windsor on Thursday and then pulled off a 3-2 win in Sarnia on Friday. The puck drops at 7:00. Coverage on 980 CFPL, and on the Radioplayer Canada app begins at 6:30.

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