March 4, 2018 8:09 pm

London Knights sweep eastern road swing

Ottawa, Ont., London Knights forward Alex Formenton began the year in Ottawa in the NHL. He returned to the nation's capital on Sunday to help the Knights pick up a big victory.

Mike Stubbs / 980 CFPL

Strange things can sometimes happen on Sundays in the Ontario Hockey League.

Teams tend to be at the end of road trips or three games in three days and concentration lapses can happen.

Chalk up the London Knights’ 7-5 win over the 67’s in Ottawa as the latest example.

The game featured a three-goal lead that disappeared, pucks that went off unassuming sticks into nets and two goals that came eight seconds apart.

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The 67’s pushed back after London notched four first-period goals and tied the game on two early goals in the third. One of those by Travis Barron, came from the right corner of the Knights’ zone, hitting the stick of London goalie, Joseph Raaymakers and finding its way across the goal line.

Ottawa didn’t get to feel good about their comeback for long as Sergey Popov put home the eventual game-winner just eight seconds after Austen Keating knotted things  at four goals apiece on a 67’s power play.

READ MORE: History could get a chance to repeat itself for London Knights in this year’s playoffs

Senators draft pick Alex Formenton gave the Knights some breathing room with a beautiful individual effort with just over six minutes remaining in the game and despite another Ottawa goal, Cole Tymkin sealed a sweep of London’s eastern road trip by rifling a puck into the empty net from inside the face-off circle on the right side of his own zone.

“Down by one, two or three, you are never out of the game,” said Knights defenceman Alec Regula. “They proved that in the third [period] when they tied it up. We were able to stick with it and trust each other and get the win.”

Formenton had a goal and an assist playing back in Ottawa for the first time since starting the season in the National Hockey League with the Senators and points out that as fun as it was to be back in the city that he hopes to call home very soon, it was more important to leave it on Sunday with a victory.

“Those two points are big points coming into playoffs and we needed those. It was also pretty special to be playing here again.

Tymkin, Popov and Liam Foudy also had two point afternoons and an overtime loss by the Owen Sound Attack in Sarnia leaves the Knights two points ahead of the Attack for fourth place and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

READ MORE: Former London Knights land in new locations in NHL

Sweep of the East

London went a perfect 3-for-3 on their Eastern road trip with wins over Peterborough, Kingston and Ottawa. The last time the Knights swept a three-game trek through the East was the 2013-14 season when they beat Ottawa, Kingston and Belleville. Max Domi, Chris Tierney and Bo Horvat led London offensively on that trip.

Three teams clinch playoff spots

The Knights prevented Ottawa from clinching a spot in the post-season through a win of their own, but a Peterborough loss in Niagara allowed them to clinch on Sunday. Seven of the eight spots in the Eastern Conference are now spoken for. Mississauga needs two points to wrap up at least eighth place. In the West, Guelph and Windsor found their way in on Sunday when Erie lost 7-2 in Mississauga.

Top of the charts

Every OHL team has under eight games to play in the regular season and very little has been decided outside of the top of the Eastern and Western Conferences. On Wednesday, the Soo Greyhounds clinched the Hamilton Spectator Trophy as the league’s regular season champions and with it the top seed in the West. On Saturday, the Hamilton Bulldogs won their sixth consecutive game and wrapped up the Leyden Trophy as East Division champions and home ice advantage in the East throughout the first three rounds of the post-season.

READ MORE: Jordan Kooy’s first OHL shutout gives London second win in two nights

Up next

The Knights don’t get much of a break following their road trip before stepping back on the ice. They will host the Guelph Storm on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Budweiser Gardens. The Storm had lost seven straight before pounding Owen Sound 8-3 on Saturday. They finished out their weekend against Kitchener. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on 980 CFPL, at or on the Radioplayer Canada app.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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