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London Knights spoil Flint’s home opener with a 4-2 victory

Jim Van Horne/980 CFPL

Dalton Duhart has scored all kinds of goals at the Dort Federal Event Centre. Most of them came in games of mini-sticks that he used to play in the hallways as a youngster while his father Jason was starring for the Flint Generals.

On Saturday night, he kicked off the scoring with a full-length stick into a standard six-foot-by-four-foot hockey net and helped the London Knights to a 4-2 victory over the Flint Firebirds in their home opener.

“They got pucks deep and were banging,” said Duhart, “But we stuck to our game plan and it worked out.”

Duhart admitted that it took a few seconds to realize he had scored.

“It was a great pass from Bill [Moskal} but it was hard to tell [that it had gone in]. No one really reacted at first. It was pretty funny.”
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Dalton’s dad Jim spent five seasons with the Flint Generals and scored at least fifty goals in a season twice and had 49 one year as well.

“I’ve been coming here ever since I was two or three years old. I grew to love the game here. It’s so great looking back and just thinking about the time I spent in this rink.”

Liam Foudy put up his first points of the season, recording a goal and an assist for the Knights who never trailed in the game. Twice the Firebirds cut London’s lead to a goal, but Foudy’s empty-netter sealed things late in the third.

Duhart pointed to the entire third period as a great demonstration of how the Knights can play with a lead.

“I think we were better defensively in the third and really cut down on turnovers and that’s something we can definitely build on.”

How the goals were scored

Duhart’s came at the 10:18 mark of a first period that took less than 30 minutes to play.

Connor McMichael put London ahead 2-0 at 11:24 with his fourth goal of the season as he raced down the right wing and cut to the net before lifting a shot over Firebirds’ starter Emanuel Vella. Luke Cavallin replaced Vella for periods two and three.

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Jake Durham of Flint banged in a feed from in front of the London Knights net to close the gap to 2-1 with under three minutes remaining in the first period, but Cole Tymkin got the goal right back as he netted his third of the year at 18:53.

The Firebirds got back to within one with the only goal of the second period. Ty Dellandrea dumped the puck in and it came hard off the end boards and right in front to Ethan Keppen who deked Jordan Kooy and made it 3-2.

Foudy used his speed to beat out an icing and then wrap around a puck into the Firebird net at 18:54 of the third period to complete the scoring.

Formenton does it again

For the second consecutive year, Knights forward Alex Formenton has made the Ottawa Senators roster. Ottawa head coach Guy Boucher confirmed to reporters on Saturday that his forwards are set meaning Formenton stays. The speedster from King City was selected in the second round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He played in one game for the Senators before being returned to London where he had 48 points in 48 games in the regular season and then led the Knights with five goals and two assists in four games in the playoffs.

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Billy Moskal and Hunter Holmes face-off in Flint. (Photo credit: Jim Van Horne/980 CFPL). Jim Van Horne/980 CFPL

Once a Knight…

When Liam Foudy scored a goal in the pre-season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, former Knight Josh Anderson was one of the first to congratulate him, largely because he was the guy who passed Foudy the puck. Their Knights careers are separated by three seasons, but Anderson knew exactly whose stick he was getting the puck through to. When they got back to the bench, Anderson leaned over to Foudy and said, “Must be that London connection.”

Suzuki leads OHL in scoring

The headline could have been recycled from any time in the past two years, but it would have referred to Londoner Nick Suzuki, who has challenged for the overall OHL scoring lead. This time, the honour belongs to Nick’s kid brother, Ryan, who is in his second season with the Barrie Colts. Ryan scored twice and added seven assists in his first three games for the high-flying Colts who were averaging seven goals per game through the first week of the year. Suzuki is eligible for this year’s NHL Entry Draft in June in Vancouver. Barrie took him first overall in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection. Nick is back with the Owen Sound Attack. He ended up attending two NHL training camps this fall after Vegas traded him to the Montreal Canadiens in the Max Pacioretty deal.

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Hamilton set to raise banner

Only two teams have yet to play a home game this season. Barring any big changes, both will hit their home ice on Sunday as the Oshawa Generals host North Bay and Hamilton plays Ottawa. The Bulldogs will be raising their 2018 OHL Championship banner to the rafters at the First Ontario Centre. Hamilton defeated the juggernaut Soo Greyhounds in six games last May to capture the city’s first Ontario Hockey League title. The Bulldogs moved to the steel city in 2015 from Belleville. Hamilton head coach David Matsos will not be behind the bench as he continues to recover after a scary incident on Saturday, September 22, in which he collapsed with 20 seconds remaining in a game in Barrie. The Bulldogs have stated that everything regarding Matsos is very positive. He is expected to be in attendance.

Next up for the Knights

The London Knights will play the Spitfires in Windsor on October 4. The teams met in London’s season opener which the Knights won 5-2 at Budweiser Gardens on September 21. London will return home on Friday, October 5, to host Owen Sound in their only game of Thanksgiving weekend.

You will be able to hear the pre-game show and play-by-play for both games beginning at 6:30 on 980 CFPL, at www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

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