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Max McCue’s hat trick gives London Knights 3-2 series lead against Kitchener

Three goals from San Jose Sharks prospect Max McCue helped the London Knights to a 5-3 win over the Kitchener Rangers on Sunday afternoon at Budweiser Gardens.

The victory has the Knights up three games to two on the Rangers headed back to Kitchener, Ont., on Tuesday night for Game 6.

It took 54 shots on goal for the Knights to be able to score twice on Kitchener goalie Jackson Parsons in Game 4 and Parsons had the Knights feeling some deja-vu early.

Parsons stopped Tonio Stranges and Luke Evangelista on successive shots early and then he stuck out a leg and robbed Evangelista on a pretty feed in front seconds later.

Patience and persistence paid off for London though as Sean McGurn swiped away a loose puck in the right corner of the Rangers zone and fed Max McCue for his second goal of the post season at the 1:33 mark of the opening period.

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Just over four minutes later Knights 2021 first-round pick Denver Barkey stole a puck in centre and on a 2-on-1 with McCue fed an impressive pass over a stick to McCue to make it 2-0 and London had two goals in under six minutes on Sunday.

After Joseph Serpa got the Rangers on the scoreboard Knights forward Tonio Stranges banged in his fourth goal and ninth point of the series off the end boards and London took a 3-1. lead.

After a goal by the Knights was reviewed in the first period and disallowed for goaltender interference two more were reviewed in the second period. Both were scored by Mike Petizian. One counted and one did not. The one that did tightened the score to 3-2.

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Sean McGurn made it 4-2 London at 10:32 but Kitchener cut the Knights lead to one on Mitchell Martin’s third goal of the season just over three minutes later.

Read more: London Knights’ Brett Brochu nominated for OHL goaltender of the year

London held off the Rangers over the final 20 minutes as they limited the Rangers to just five shots and got an empty-netter from McCue as he completed the hat trick.

McGurn and Stranges each ended the game with a goal and an assist.

Brett Brochu made 33 saves in the game and took a shot toward the empty net in the final seconds after a Kitchener dump-in. The puck was gloved out of the air by Justin Nolet at the Knights blue line.

Parsons would up with 26 saves in goal for the Rangers.

Knights draft 16 players

The 2022 OHL Priority Selection saw the London Knights bring 16 new names into the fold. London drafted forward Luca Testa from Grimsby, Ont., and the Niagara North Stars with the 15th overall selection and followed that up with two more forwards in the next two rounds as they selected physical winger Sam O’Reilly of the Vaughan Kings in round two and versatile centre William Nicholl in round three. The Knights picked Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs winger Rene Van Bommel in the 11th round. For full local draft coverage click here.

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Read more: Day Two 2022 OHL Priority Selection adds more talent to Ontario Hockey League

Austin and Platzer win in Finland

Joona Luoto scored the lone goal of Game 5 for Tappara as they blanked TPS Turku 1-0 to win the 2022 Liiga championship in Finland.

The goal made two ex-Knights champions. Brady Austin and Kyle Platzer were two of three Canadian-born players on the Finnish squad. Tyler Morley from Burnaby, B.C., was the other. Platzer was playing in his third Liiga season after spending the past two with KooKoo. Austin made the switch from the KHL in 2020-21 to Finland this past year.

Austin had seven points in 15 playoff games. Platzer recorded a goal and an assist for Tappara in the post-season.

Read more: Jackson Parsons plays brick wall as Kitchener Rangers tie series with London Knights

Up next

Game six between the Knights and the Rangers will take place on Tuesday, May 3 at 7 pm at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.

London will have a chance to win a fifth consecutive series against the Rangers. Kitchener will be trying to force a Game 7 back at Budweiser Gardens on Wednesday, May 4.

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Coverage will begin at 6:30 on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

 

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