The legendary Gordie Howe would have been proud.
Until a scoring change after the game, London Knights forward Max McCue had a goal, an assist and a fight for as the Knights edged the Saginaw Spirit 4-3 on Friday night at Budweiser Gardens.
All three came of those things in the second period and are affectionately called a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick.”
Ultimately the assist was taken away after a scoring change but the impact McCue made in the game was not.
McCue was named the game’s first star.
The Sudbury, Ont., native banged in a Sam Dickinson rebound at 9:57 of period two for his first goal of the 2022-23 season to put the Knights on the board.
Brody Crane fed Oliver Bonk to tie the game 2-2 and then Luca Testa poked in his first career OHL goal at 17:42. Testa was London’s first round pick in 2022.
Before the middle period was done, McCue got into a fight with Saginaw forward Dean Loukus and was also 8-of-9 in the faceoff circle.
Howe actually only ever had two of the stat lines that live on with his name today. Rick Tocchet is the all-time leader in the National Hockey League with 18. Former Knight and current president of the Toronto Maple Leafs Brendan Shanahan sits second with 17.
Landon Sim scored the eventual game winner at the 5:38 mark of the third period when he banged in a puck that Ben Bujold took to the Spirit net.
Michael Misa’s second of the game cut the London lead to 4-3 but London defended well against the highest-scoring offence in the OHL the rest of the way and held on to win.
The Knights also held Saginaw to 20 shots in the game.
Misa and Matyas Sapovaliv had staked the Spirit to a 2-0 first period lead. Misa was granted exceptional status to play in the OHL as a 15-year old and now has five goals on the season.
Logan Mailloux was a presence on defence for London as he blocked several shots in the game including two big ones inside the final three minutes of the game.
Brett Brochu made 17 saves for London. Tristan Lennox stopped 20 in goal for Saginaw as he suffered just his first loss of the year.
Piccinich picking up points in Norway
J.J. Piccinich was a member of the 2016 Memorial Cup champion London Knights. The New Jersey native followed that up with a Kelly Cup title in 2019 as a member of the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers.
Now Piccinich has a shot at another title, this time in Norway. Piccinich leads first-place Stjernan in scoring with five goals and 12 assists in 14 games and he sits tied for sixth overall in league scoring. Piccinich left North America at the start of last season to play in Great Britain and made the move to Norway at the beginning of 2022-23.
Dunkley shining for Saint Mary’s
Former Knight Nathan Dunkley is off to a fast start in his second year of university hockey with the Saint Mary’s Huskies. After putting up 23 points in 20 games in his rookie season in U Sports, Dunkley has scored twice and has six points in just four games in 2022-23.
The Cambellford, Ont., native arrived in London during the 17-18 OHL season in a trade with Kingston that sent Cliff Pu to the Frontenacs. Dunkley ended up seeing his major junior career end when his overage season was wiped out by COVID-19.
The Knights and Spirit meet again Saturday night in Saginaw, Mich. Coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m. on 980 CFPL, at www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.