Brody Crane scored a goal and added three assists as the London Knights defeated the Mississauga Steelheads 4-2 on Sunday afternoon in Mississauga, Ont., to stretch the Knights winning streak to eight.
The Union, Ont., native set up Ruslan Gazizov twice in the opening period. In an attempt to give Gazizov a tap-in at the side of the Steelheads net for a hat trick in the second period, Crane ended up scoring. On the attempted pass, the puck actually hit the skate of a Mississauga defender and deflected over the goal line to give Crane his seventh goal of the season.
Crane also set up Sean McGurn for his 11th goal of the year and team-leading 33rd point. It ended up as the game-winner after the Steelheads tightened the score from 5-2 to 5-4 with a pair of third period goals.
Gazizov now has six goals and has points in six consecutive games.
Gazizov’s second of the game put the Knights ahead 2-1 at 11:02 of the first period, but Mississauga tied the game just over a minute later.
Just 45 seconds after that, Logan Mailloux got the puck off a faceoff in the Steelheads zone and wired a shot past rookie Mississauga goalie Ryerson Leenders.
At the other end of the ice, London rookie goalie Zach Bowen made a whopping 42 saves overall. He was a big reason why the Steelhead’s power play was held off the board until the final 20 minutes. Montreal Canadiens prospect Owen Beck was absolutely robbed right in front of the Knight net in the second period. Bowen later came across from his right to left to make a massive save on James Hardie during a man advantage in the third.
London did not have a power play in the game.
Kai Schwindt opened the scoring with a goal for Mississauga that brought down the Teddy Bears at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre. Luca Del Bel Belluz scored twice and Luke Misa scored the other goal for the Steelheads.
The Knights have won 12 of their last 13 games and now own the best winning percentage in the OHL’s Western Conference.
The victory moved London into first place in the Midwest Division.
Time for the Teddy Bear Toss
The Knights Teddy Bear Toss tour will be much shorter this year than it was in 2019-20. The game in Mississauga, Ont., against the Steelheads and London’s own Teddy Bear Toss on Tuesday, Dec. 6 against the Oshawa Generals will be it for this season.
Three seasons ago, the Knights were involved in seven out of the 19 Teddy Bear tosses across the league and their own at Budweiser Gardens. London’s record for bears is 10,671, set in 2012 when Seth Griffith scored the big goal. The Teddy Bear Toss encourages fans to bring their own stuffed animal and throw it onto the rink when the home team scores its first goal.
The Canadian Hockey League record belongs to The Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, who hold the major junior record of 29,935 bears. The world record belongs to the Hersey Bears at 52,341 tossed.
Marner makes history
The count continues for former Knight Mitch Marner as he hit 19 consecutive games with at least one point for the Toronto Maple Leafs after a goal against Tampa Bay on Dec. 3. That point broke the record for longest point streak by a Maple Leafs player that had been held by Ed Olczyk and former Knight Darryl Sittler. Marner has eight goals and 17 assists for 25 points during the streak and currently leads Toronto in scoring.
The Knights will host the Oshawa Generals on Tuesday, Dec. 6, for their annual Teddy Bear Toss game.
London defeated the Generals 4-2 on Nov. 27 in Oshawa, Ont. Knights co-captain Sean McGurn had a goal and two assists in that game.
Coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.