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Big nights from their stars lifted the London Knights past the Mississauga Steelheads

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. Jim Van Horne/980 CFPL

Liam Foudy and Ryan Merkley each scored twice for the London Knights as they kicked off three consecutive road games with a 5-2 victory in Mississauga on Thursday.

Foudy also had two assists giving him the second four-point game of his OHL career.

“You can see the pro player in him,” said Knights assistant coach Rick Steadman.

“He’s a first round pick for a reason and tonight he certainly showed it.”

The Knights co-captain scored a highlight reel goal in the second period and then put the game away with an empty-netter that put his elite speed on full display.

Fellow co-captain Alec Regula had a goal and two assists for London and Connor McMichael stretched his point streak to 12 games with a three assist performance. He also moved into a three-way tie for the OHL scoring lead with Hamilton Bulldog teammates Arthur Kaliyev and Jan Jenik. Jenik is currently on a 21-game point streak.

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It wasn’t as easy as all of that might sound.

Mason McTavish continues to tear up the OHL in rookie season with the Petes
Mason McTavish continues to tear up the OHL in rookie season with the Petes

London fell behind 2-0 early as the Steelheads got goals from Calvin Martin on a rebound and Cole Schwindt on a back-door feed from rookie Luca Del Bel Belluz. Even with the early deficit, Steadman admitted that there didn’t seem to be any worry on the Knights bench.

“I think our guys dug in,” observed Steadman. “They were talking and they felt as though we were all over them and they just kept pushing.

“Games before now we have backed off in similar situations. Tonight we didn’t.”

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London scored their first goal of the game thanks to some slick passing on the power play late in the first period that was finished off by Merkley as he scored his first goal of the game and his fifth goal of the season on a low slap shot.

Foudy tied the game 2-2 at the 6:33 mark of the second period as he whirled and spun away from two defenders and then sliced between two others and outlasted Kai Edmonds’ stretch to stop him as Foudy went right to left across the edge of the crease as chipped the puck in to give him nine goals this year.

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As seconds ticked away in the second period, Foudy carried the puck back into the Mississauga end, fed it to Merkley and he snapped it through Edmonds with 3.6 seconds remaining to send London into the third period with their first lead of the game.

In the third period the Knights got a power play goal from Regula and Foudy’s empty-netter to round out the scoring and limited Mississauga’s chances to the outside.

London went 2-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.

Dylan Myskiw made 25 saves for his 6th OHL victory.

READ MORE: Around the OHL: The cast and characters of Team OHL

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Setting the pace

The 2019-20 Ontario Hockey League season has now passed the one quarter mark. If you check the stats, you will see that more than a few players are on pace to post some very large numbers for things like goals and points.

Connor McMichael of the Knights leads the league in points per game at 2.42. If he were to play in all 68 games this season and keep up that scoring rate, McMichael would end the season with 164 points.

Bobby Smith still holds the all-time scoring record with 192. The highest total in the past 20 years was posted by another former Ottawa 67’s player in Corey Locke. He had 151 in 2002-03.

Arthur Kaliyev popped in his 25th goal of the season on Wednesday against Peterborough. That has him on pace for 70 goals this year, which would be the most scored in an OHL season since former Oshawa General and London Knight John Tavares had 72 as a 16-year old in 2006-07.

READ MORE: London Knights billet families: ‘One of the most important aspects of junior hockey’

Misha Donskov named Team Canada assistant coach for Spengler Cup

Team Canada’s coaching staff has been named for the 2019-20 Spengler Cup in Davos, Switz., and it includes a former London Knights assistant coach and assistant general manager.

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Misha Donskov will join Paul Coffey to assist Londoner Craig MacTavish for the Christmas tournament that is played at one of the most beautiful hockey arenas in the world. Donskov was with the Knights from 2009 to 2012 when they won the OHL championship. He is currently the director of hockey operations for the Vegas Golden Knights and has also held positions with the Ottawa 67’s and Hockey Canada.

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A Dakota Mermis trick

Between 2012 and 2015, Dakota Mermis won four championship titles. Before joining the London Knights, the Alton, Ill., native was part of a United States Hockey League crown with the Green Bay Gamblers. In 2013 he helped the Knights to win the OHL championship.

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Two years after that, Mermis was dealt to the Oshawa Generals to help them try to win and he doubled down as part of another OHL championship team and then as Memorial Cup winners in a tournament that took place in Quebec City.

Mermis is now a member of the Binghamton Devils of the American Hockey League, where he has shown that he isn’t just a one-trick defenceman.

READ MORE: London Knights end weekend with 5-3 victory over Kitchener

Up next

London will continue three consecutive games on the road in Kitchener on Friday night at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. The teams met for the first time this season on Nov.17 at Budweiser Gardens when five different players scored for London in a 5-3 Knights’ victory. Dylan Myskiw made 39 saves in net for the Knights. The Rangers have lost five of their last six and have dropped to the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Coverage will start at 7 p.m. with the pre-game show on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.