The song didn’t play.
Every game at the Erie Insurance Arena features Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” Otters fans belt it out and add the line, “London sucks,” in reference to the London Knights. They even sing that line when Erie is playing other teams.
But on Sunday, the song didn’t play.
“That is the first time since I started playing hear that I haven’t heard it,” said Liam Foudy, who led the way with a goal and an assist. “It actually felt good not to hear it.”
Four goals in a span of six minutes and 39 seconds in the second period drained most of the spirit from the crowd and gave the Knights a 4-0 shutout win over the Otters.
In their last four games, London has scored 13 of their last 19 goals in the middle period and have won every time.
In fact, the Knights now have nine victories in the past 10 games and have moved into a tie for first place in the Midwest Division with the Guelph Storm, who have gone 10-0-1 in their last 11 games.
“Dale (Hunter) has said that it all starts with the defence,” said Foudy. “We have some new things that we are doing and it all worked out well and we were able to help Dylan (Myskiw) back there.”
Myskiw made 26 saves for his first shutout in the Ontario Hockey League. The overage goalie from Winnipeg, Man., recorded his first major junior shutout last year in the Western Hockey League when he was a member of the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Four different goal scorers took care of the offence for the Knights.
Tonio Stranges got things going on an unassisted effort early in period two as he pushed the puck past a defender in centre ice, won a race to it and rocketed a wrist shot past Erie goalie Daniel Murphy.
Just two and a half minutes later London fourth-year forward Billy Moskal backhanded a puck at the Otters’ net that found its way just across the goal line. The play was briefly reviewed and the goal stood for a 2-0 Knight lead.
A whole 45 seconds after that Connor McMichael and Liam Foudy assisted on Jonathan Gruden’s ninth goal of the season which extended McMichael’s point streak to 14 games and moved him back into a tie for the overall OHL scoring lead with former teammate Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Foudy completed the barrage with his 11th goal in 14 games to chase Murphy from the net.
London was perfect on the penalty kill. They own the No. 1 ranking in the OHL.
The Knights will hold their skills competition at Budweiser Gardens on Wednesday night from 6-8 (details below) and then they will play host to the Western Conference-leading Windsor Spitfires on Friday night at 7:30.
Three hat tricks and some fine company
In his first 20 games of the season, Connor McMichael of the Knights has recorded three hat tricks. He has 23 goals and 50 points overall and is on pace for a staggering 170 points should he play in all 68 games. McMichael also became the first London player to record three goals in a single period since Christian Dvorak accomplished the feat in the second period of a 9-2 win over the Guelph Storm in November of 2015. Dvorak scored four goals in exactly seven minutes that night. Don’t count out McMichael doing something similar at some point in 2019-20.
Knights set to show off skills
On Wednesday, November 27 the Knights will host their skills competition from 6-8 p.m. at Budweiser Gardens. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and fans can enter through either Gate 1 or Gate 4. Players will be divided into four teams that will compete in Hardest Shot, Accuracy Shooting, Fastest Skater, Skills Relay & Elimination Shootout. Admission to the event is a cash donation to Toy Angels Toy Drive.
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.
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.
The Knights will make two rare appearances on home ice this week. Wednesday for their skills competition (see above) and Friday for a game with the Windsor Spitfires. The teams have played just one other time this season. On Friday, October 18, Windsor scored three times in just under eight minutes in the third period to erase a 2-1 deficit and win 4-2.
The Spitfires spring boarded from there and climbed to the top of the Western Conference standings. Their success defies a couple of key statistical categories. Windsor does not have a player in the top-15 in league scoring and neither of their goalies has a save percentage above .900. The Spitfires do own the OHL’s best power play.
Coverage begins at 6:30 from Shoeless Joe’s on King St. on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.