Knights Through To Memorial Cup Final
Knights 5 Huskies 2
The London Knights’ special teams were, well, special Tuesday night at the Enmax Centrium.
The same was true of netminder Tyler Parsons, who turned aside 30 shots in a first-star performance as the Knights downed the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 5-2 before 7,181 fans and punched their ticket to Sunday’s Memorial Cup final.
“It’s very exciting. We’re playing good hockey right now. One more game left . . . it’s going to be exciting,” said Knights forward and captain Christian Dvorak, whose team finished round-robin play with a 3-0 slate.
London, the OHL champions, were three-for-seven on the power play and held the Huskies, who fell to 1-2, to two extra-man tallies on 10 opportunities.
Down 2-0, the Quebec Major League champion Huskies blew a wonderful opportunity to get back into the game when London forward Chandler Yakimowicz was assessed a checking-from-behind major — and game misconduct — in the second period.
But the Knights, who had already killed a bench penalty (too many men) called in the opening minute of the frame, erased the five-minute infraction without much difficulty.
“We’re not going to dominate every period out there,” said Dvorak, whose team was outshot 12-8 in the second period and 32-25 overall.
“Every team here is good. It was good to face a little adversity out there. We dealt with it and found a way to win.”
JJ Piccinich, with a power-play marker, staked the Knights to a lead they would not relinquish, beating Huskies netminder Chase Marchand through the five-hole from the edge of the crease 6:06 into the game.
Marchand came through with a great glove save on Cliff Pu on a short-handed breakaway roughly four minutes later to keep the deficit to one. However, Matthew Tkachuk doubled London’s lead with another extra-man tally late in the opening period, deflecting a shot by defenceman Olli Juolevi from the right faceoff circle.
The opening frame was marred by a glut of penalties, more than a few of which seemed unnecessary. The clubs combined for 11 minor infractions through the first 20 minutes, including six to the Huskies.
“It kind of felt like we didn’t play too much five-on-five out there but we dealt with it. We did a solid job on the penalty kill and got some power-play goals,” said Dvorak.
“It’s tough to play (and maintain a flow) with that many penalties,” said Dvorak’s linemate Mitch Marner, who picked up three assists to give him 13 points in the tournament, three short of the record.
“But you have to play through it. It’s adversity and it really brings us together.”
A third consecutive call on the Knights finally led to Rouyn-Noranda’s first goal at 10:04 of the middle frame, Timo Meier beating Parsons to the glove side while tumbling to the ice.
London restored its two-goal lead at 17:28 as Max Jones notched a short-handed marker, one-timing a pass from Marner while stationed at the edge of the right circle.
Dvorak all but sealed the deal when he connected at 6:20 of the third period with Huskies defenceman Phillipe Myers off for hooking.
Meier notched his second of the game at 8:12 to pull the Huskies back to within two. His shot from the right circle passed through the corner of the net and was confirmed as a goal following a video review.
London’s Matthew Tkachuk closed out the scoring with an empty-net marker at 18:29.
“Obviously it’s a big point to stay disciplined,” said Meier. “On both sides there were a lot of penalties and against a team like that which has a great power play, you can’t take as many penalties. It cost us the game tonight and we definitely have to learn from that now.
“There always a challenge with that many penalties but five-on-five we did a good job. They scored a few goals on the power play and we definitely have to be better on the penalty kill. But against a team like that with so much skill it’s hard to defend.” Here you will find a lot of beautiful girls who will show a live sex show or even as it is now customary to say sex broadcast. On our portal free adult webcam – your chance to anonymously meet and chat online with girls without complexes. From Russia and CIS countries around the clock ready to devote time to you and your sexual fantasies privately.
Both Marner and Dvorak praised their netminder.
“He’s been amazing,” said Marner. “He’s been a big part of this team. Without him I don’t know where we’d be right now.”
“He’s been huge for us,” added Dvorak. “He was huge for us today and has been all season.
“He did a fantastic job today and made some great saves when we weren’t at our best.”
The 1-1 tournament host Red Deer Rebels face the 0-2 Brandon Wheat Kings in the final round-robin game today at 6 p.m. Red Deer will clinch a berth in Friday’s semifinal with a win, while the WHL champion Wheat Kings have to prevail by more than two goals to avoid a tie-breaker Thursday with the Huskies.