Four points from Easton Cowan and a pair of goals by Kasper Halttunen paced the London Knights to a 5-1 victory over the Brantford Bulldogs on Oct. 18.
The win moved Knights head coach Dale Hunter into a tie with the late Bert Templeton for second place on the Ontario Hockey League’s all-time coaching wins list.
Jackson Edward stepped into a loose puck that slid out into the slot at 5:05 of the first period and Edward blasted a shot so hard that it had to be reviewed to make sure it had gone in the Brantford net.
Cowan stepped out of the penalty box and got himself onto the scoresheet for the first time as he took the puck hard to the Bulldogs net from the left side and slid a shot underneath Brantford goalie Matteo Drobac to give London a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes.
Cowan then scored his second goal of the game and fourth of the season short-handed at 3:42 of the second period to push the Knights lead to three.
London increased that edge to 4-0 just under four minutes later when Cowan found Kasper Halttunen on the left side of the ice and his hard slap shot either found a hole or made one in Drobac.
Nick Lardis scored for the Bulldogs on a 5-on-3 Brantford power play but Halttunen’s second goal of the game, also set up by Cowan, restored London’s four-goal lead heading into the final 20 minutes.
Those minutes flew by without another goal in the game as David Egorov entered the Bulldogs net after the fifth London goal stopped all nine shots that he faced and Michael Simpson made eight more saves for the Knights to pick up his fifth victory of the season.
Simpson made 25 saves in the game as London outshot
Edward ended the game with a goal and assist.
Sam Dickinson had an assist and was plus-five on the night.
The Bulldogs were missing four regular defencemen and Londoner Noah Nelson due to suspension and injury. Noah Roberts and Lucas Moore each received two game suspensions for their part in a fight with the Peterborough Petes on Oct. 14. Ced Okitundu received a three-game suspension from the OHL for a cross-checking penalty earlier in the game between Bratford and the Petes. Nelson was out with an upper body injury.
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Dale Hunter now tied for second in all-time OHL coaching wins
London’s win over Brantford gave Knights head coach Dale Hunter his 907th regular season coaching victory, putting him on a level with the late Bert Templeton for 2nd on the all-time list behind only Brian Kilrea.
Hunter’s overall regular season coaching record is 907-362-17-84 which gives him a career-winning percentage of .703.
Tavares and McMichael off to good starts in 2023-24
John Tavares leads all ex-Knights playing in the National Hockey League with six points in three games this season. The Maple Leafs captain has a goal and five assists so far largely being teams with William Nylander on one of his wings.
Tavares had 80 points in 80 games last season in Toronto. Connor McMichael has his first goal of the year with the Washington Capitals. McMichael had been assigned to the American Hockey League to start the 2023-24 season but was recalled two days later.
London will host the Erie Otters on Friday, Oct.20 at 7 p.m., at Budweiser Gardens.
The teams split two games in the pre-season when the Knights won 3-2 in St. Thomas and the Otters grabbed a 3-1 victory the next night in London.
Erie started the year with four straight losses but they have won two out of three games since.
The Otters acquired Sarnia Sting goaltender Ben Gaudreau in an Oct. 10 trade and so far Gaudreau has stopped 91 of the 98 shots that he has faced in an Otters uniform.
Coverage will start at 6:30 on 980 CFPL, at www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.
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