In a battle of the cream of the Ontario Hockey League’s western crop, the London Knights pulled out a 5-2 victory over the Owen Sound Attack.
Before a sold-out crowd of 9,046 at Budweiser Gardens on Friday, London managed to solve one of the best goaltenders in the league, Jordan Binnington.
The Knights are now top dogs in the entire OHL, sporting a fine 15-5-0-2 record. They’ve won seven consecutive contests.
To boot, their power play units are on fire. Collectively, they’ve scored on nine of its last 23 man-advantage opportunities, including going 1-for-3 versus the Attack.
The Knights definitive No. 1 line — Max Domi, Alex Broadhurst, and Seth Griffith — have been a massive part of the team’s recent success.
“We played a little bit together earlier in the year, and something wasn’t clicking,” Broadhurst said. “But, we’re getting used to each other’s styles now.”
Midway through the second period, following a disallowed Owen Sound goal, the 19-year-old OHL rookie beat Binnington blocker-side on an odd-man rush. It tied things up at two goals a piece, and proved to be the game’s turning point.
Over the win streak, Broadhurst has blossomed into a two-way threat down the middle. It’s allowing Knights fans to gradually forget about the absence of Griffith’s right-hand man last year, current Syracuse Crunch forward Vlad Namestnikov.
Broadhurst, a Chicago Blackhawks draft pick, has been thrown out as a defenceman on the power play. Against the Oshawa Generals on Thursday, he was forced to make a save with London’s net empty. On Friday, he made a couple of smart defensive plays once again.
Knights forward coach Dylan Hunter is impressed with his versatility.
“We liked him on the point for his passing ability, his headiness,” he said. “Then, during the week, we were doing 1-on-1 drills and that’s when we started seeing his ability to read opponents. That’s why he’s still getting put out there.”
Meanwhile, rough-and-tumble forward Paxton Leroux was called up from the London Nationals Jr. B squad a couple of days ago. In a fourth line role against the Attack, the Peterborough native banged bodies and worked the cycle well.
“He’s a tough guy, an energy guy, but he’s been putting points up for the Nationals,” Hunter said. “The guys like him in the room.”
For the second time this month, London got a timely goal from blueliner Miles Liberati. The freshman from Cheswick, Pa., launched a one-timer to the top shelf during an early third period power play. It was the eventual game-winner.
Knights netminder Jake Patterson was reliable when called upon in the Midwest Division clash, making 28 saves for his eighth win in 10 starts this year.
Griffith boosted his point streak to nine games. With a goal and two assists added to his season totals, the Boston Bruins prospect is now second in league scoring with 38 points.
On Sunday, London heads to Kitchener to face the Rangers.