Knights Beat IceDogs 4-1, Take 1-0 Series Lead

From the Knights:

With eight days between the end of the OHL’s Conference Championship and the start of the Finals between the London Knights and the Niagara IceDogs, there was more than enough time to prepare and anticipate.

As the puck dropped on the best-of-seven series, you could almost see the game plan information and the adrenaline coursing through the players as they raced back and forth.

MitchMarnerBoth teams had chances, but even through a Josh Ho-Sang opportunity and a Mitch Marner breakaway, the game stayed scoreless through 20 minutes.

The second period began with a bit of a different feel and it produced goals.

The IceDogs notched the first one just seconds after Matthew Tkachuk was sent in on a breakaway.  Tkachuk was stopped on an initial shot and then stopped on his own rebound.  The puck was carried down the ice and put to the Knight net amidst a collision of bodies and it slid across the goal line for a 1-0 Niagara lead.  Pavel Jenys was credited with the goal.

A giveaway got that back for London as a puck popped free in the IceDogs’ zone and went right to Owen MacDonald and he spun and hammered a slap shot past Nedeljkovic to tie the game.

The Knights grabbed the lead while killing a penalty as Victor Mete blocked a shot at the side of the London net and managed to get the puck out to his blue line where Cliff Pu pushed it to centre and raced down ice on a 2-on-1 with C.J. Yakimowicz.  Pu held the puck and held the puck and then fed Yakimowicz and he tapped the puck into the Niagara net for a 2-1 lead.

Before the period was over, the Knights struck again, showing off the awareness of Marner, Tkachuk, and Christian Dvorak.  Tkachuk controlled a puck on the left side and just fed it across the ice.  To anyone watching, it might have looked as though he was just playing it away from anyone in a Niagara sweater, but he was playing it to where Marner was about to be.  Marner caught up to the puck and paused.  To anyone in attendance, it might have seemed as though he was picking a spot to shoot at.  He was actually waiting for Dvorak to get a little closer to the Niagara net.  Marner slapped the puck in perfect time as Dvorak reached the edge of the crease and he deflected it in with 26 seconds to go in the second period to make it 3-1 London.

Marner put a cherry on top or, maybe, a candle on his cake (it was his 19th birthday) as he picked a spot high and inside the post on a 4-on-3 power play to put his team ahead 4-1.

Marner ended the game with a goal and an assist.  Tkachuk added two assists.

Tyler Parsons demonstrated supreme concentration all game long, stopping 27 of 28 shots and earning first star honours.

The victory stretched the London Knights’ playoff winning streak to ten games and ended the IceDogs’ ten-game win streak.

Game Two of the Rogers OHL Championship Series takes place on Saturday at 7:00 at Budweiser Gardens.  For ticket information, call 519-681-0800 x 1, visit the Aluminum Associates London Knights’ Armouries of go to

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