Two games, a total of 105 shots and two spectacular goaltending performances against the London Knights.
Ivan Prosvetov of the Saginaw Spirit kicked aside 47 shots and rookie Cole Perfetti scored all four Spirit goals as Saginaw defeated London 4-1 in the Knights final regular season home game in 2018-19.
Prosvetov’s effort came 24 hours after Emmanuel Vella stopped 54 London shots in a 3-2 overtime win by the Knights against the Flint Firebirds.
London trailed 1-0 after Perfetti’s first at 3:41 of the opening period. A pass hit a skate deep in the London zone and bounced to Perfetti and he banged it past Knights goalie Joseph Raaymakers.
That goal stood up as the Knights pressured the Spirit end of the ice. The Knights limited Saginaw to 10 shots through nearly two periods of play. Shots on goal read 33-13 for London after 40 minutes,
Perfetti put the Spirit up 2-0 at the 5:32 mark of the third as he cashed in after a strong move to the net from Florida Panthers prospect Owen Tippett.
Cole Tymkin became the first player to put a puck past Prosvetov with just over five and a half minutes remaining, but a quick strike back on a Spirit power play by Perfetti restored the Saginaw lead and then with the Spirit net empty, Perfetti pivoted in his own zone and smashed a puck down the ice and into the empty net for his 35th goal of the year.
The Knights now lead the Spirit by four points for first place in the Western Conference. Saginaw has one game in hand and the teams will meet each other again in Saginaw on March 16.
Before the game London honoured overage players Will Lochead, Kevin Hancock and Joseph Raaymakers. All three received their jerseys in glass cases and a standing ovation from the Budweiser Gardens fans.
HE”S DONE IT! Max Jones gets his first NHL Goal! 8-2! pic.twitter.com/lPXCt3iEbg
— Forever Mighty (@ForeverMightyFM) March 9, 2019
Max Jones gets goal number one
Former London Knight Max Jones will always be able to say that he scored his first National Hockey League goal against a guy ticketed for the Hockey Hall of Fame. Jones cut to his left and snapped a shot past Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens to finish off an 8-2 pounding on March 8 in Anaheim. Jones has played 17 games with the Ducks since being recalled from the San Diego Gulls in mid-January. He spent two and a half seasons in London and was part of the Knights Memorial Cup championship team in 2016.
Home sweet home
The London Knights completed their 2018-19 home ice schedule with a record of 27-5-2-0. It marked the eighth time in the past eleven seasons that the Knights recorded 25 or more wins at Budweiser Gardens. Their best year still takes them back to 2004-05 when London went 31-1-2. Since moving downtown in 2002, the Knights have failed to record at least 20 wins at home just twice.
Mark Hunter back with Hockey Canada
Mark Hunter has been named one of the managers of Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence for the 2019-20 season. Hunter will run Hockey Canada’s under-20 program and World Junior team. He was part of a similar management group in 2013-14. Hunter told 980 CFPL, “I’m excited about it. I’ve seen a lot of players over the last four years (while with the Knights and the Toronto Maple Leafs) across Canada so I can lean on that and hopefully make good decisions so that we can bring back gold.”
The role involves providing input during training camps and assisting coaching staffs as well as Shawn Bullock, the director of the men’s national teams, and head scout Brad McEwen.
Exceptional status for Shane Wright
Most rookies who enter the Ontario Hockey League in 2018-19 will have been born in 2003. Some might be a year, even two years older. One will be 15 years old and born in 2004. On March 8, Shane Wright was granted exceptional status by the OHL, making him eligible for the Priority Selection a year early. Wright scored 66 goals and put up 150 points in 72 games with the Don Mills Flyers this year leading up to the OHL Cup, where they are the favourites to win.
With the Junos taking over London and Budweiser Gardens, the London Knights will spend the final week of their regular season schedule on the road against the three teams closest to them in the Western Conference standings. London goes to Guelph on Wednesday. Since the trade deadline where the Storm were the busiest team in the OHL Guelph has gone 16-5-3. The Knights and the Storm have met three times since then and every game has featured all kinds of scoring. London won 6-1 and Guelph has beaten the Knights 7-5 and 7-3.
After that, London will complete their regular season schedule with road games in Sault Ste. Marie and in Saginaw on March 15 and 16.
Coverage of all three games with begin at 6:30 p.m. on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada.
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