Tye McSorley’s hat trick leads London past Owen Sound to open three-game weekend

Tye McSorley of the London Knights has been known for big hits. Really big hits.

But Tye McSorley has become “Tye MacScorely” over the past week.

The Brampton, Ont., native scored three times in a 7-3 victory over the Owen Sound Attack on Friday night.

The goal that completed his hat trick was actually announced inside Budweiser Gardens (with McSorley’s permission) as “Tye MacScorely” after he landed everyone in the building a free Big Mac thanks to an in-arena promotion.

McSorley now has six goals in his past three games and London has victories in two of those games.

London now has nine victories over the Attack in the 2021-22 season. They are a perfect 9-0 against Owen Sound.

The Attack came into the game flying having earned at least one point in 13 consecutive games and 11 of those were wins.

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Owen Sound put four quick shots at the Knight net which got them off to a start befitting their nickname, but the Knights worked their way back thanks to a pair of power plays and a bit of Yogi Berra’s “deja-vu all over again.”

After Cody Morgan blasted home a one-timer at the 5:25 mark, London went to the man advantage for the second time in the game and Tonio Stranges did something very similar to the play that was seen around the world against the Saginaw Spirit where Stranges carried a puck up the ice and wound his way across the Spirt blue line before cutting through a line of defenders to score.

This time started similarly with Stranges picking up a puck left behind the London net by Knights goalie Owen Willmore. This time Stranges went straight up the left wing, cut into the Attack zone, got to the net and backhanded in his 28th goal of the year to put London ahead 2-1.

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Luke Evangelista’s 49th goal of the season made it 3-1 with 1:59 to go in the opening period. Evangelista toe-dragged the puck into the slot and beat Owen Sound goalie Nick Chenard with a backhand.

McSorley scored his first of two goals three minutes and 48 seconds apart in the second period to increase the Knights lead to 5-1 through 40 minutes.

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McSorley then polished off the natural hat trick at 12:45 of the third period by batting a bouncing puck into the Attack net from the top of the crease.

Ruslan Gazizov scored London’s seventh goal less than a minute later and then Cal Uens and Ingersoll, Ont., native Gavin Bryan scored late for Owen Sound to complete the scoring.

The win stretched the Knights’ lead over the Guelph Storm atop the Midwest Division to 10 points after the Storm were beaten 5-4 by Kitchener.

London will take on each of those teams as they continue three games in three days on Saturday.

Ten percent of the top prospects

The London Knights and London, Ont., and area made up four of the 40 players who particiated in the 2022 Top Prospects game in Kitchener, Ont., on March 23.

Team White featuring Knights forward Ruslan Gazizov and London, Ont., native Bryce McConnell-Barker who plays for the Soo Greyhounds defeated Knights defenceman Isaiah George, Strathroy, Ont., native Hunter Haight and Team Red 3-1.

Those four players accounted for 10 per cent of the top prospects in the Canadian Hockey League.

Kingston Frontenacs forward Shane Wright scored the lone goal for Team Red. Wright is still considered by many scouting services as the number one prospect for the upcoming 2022 NHL Entry Draft. The Top Prospects game returned for the first time since Jan. 16, 2020 when Tonio Stranges and Luke Evangelista of the Knights participated.

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Evangelista was selected by the Nashville Predators in the 2nd round of that year’s NHL Draft. Stranges went to the Dallas Stars in Round four.

Knights run playoff streak to 21

The London Knights own the longest current playoff streak in the Ontario Hockey League at 21 seasons dating back to the very first year that Mark and Dale Hunter owned the franchise.

To put some perspective on the number 21, one needs only to look at the length of the average playoff streak among the other 19 teams in the league. It is 3.15 years.

Major junior teams usually turn over personnel-wise every four seasons so what the Knights are doing is rare. Ten OHL teams have missed the post-season at least once in the past three years. The longest recent streak was 23 seasons and belonged to the Guelph Storm. They made the playoffs every year from 1992 until 2015.

Up next

London will host the Kitchener Rangers on Saturday, March 26 at 4 pm at Budweiser Gardens.

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Kitchener is in a battle with the Erie Otters and the Sarnia Sting for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference.

The Knights won the first five games that the teams played in 2021-22. The Rangers have won the past three.

Coverage begins at 3:30 on 980 CFPL, at and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

London will visit the Guelph Storm on Sunday, March 27 at 7 p.m.

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