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London Knights blank Owen Sound to open the playoffs

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In Major Junior hockey the play of your veterans will usually determine a great deal of your success.

The veterans of the London Knights added 60 minutes of proof to that belief.

Co-captains Sean McGurn and George Diaco and 19-year olds Max McCue and Ryan Humphrey combined for six goals and nine points as London took care of business in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarter-final series with a 7-0 victory over the Owen Sound Attack.

Overage goaltender Brett Brochu added 25 saves for his first OHL playoff shutout.

McGurn recorded his first OHL hat trick. McCue scored twice and Ryan Humphrey finished out the scoring late in the third period.

Diaco set up every goal that he could through two periods. The only one the London co-captain did not engineer was a penalty shot that Max McCue converted that actually made use of a Diaco move. McCue went right to the bench to celebrate with Diaco after poking to puck through the legs of Attack starter Corbin Votary. Diaco was nearly unstoppable on penalty shots during the regular season as he scored on six of his seven attempts.

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Diaco came as close as a player can come to picking up an assist on the penalty shot because it was his pass that sprung McCue who was eventually hooked on the play.

The penalty shot was McCue’s second of the game. He took Diaco’s feed and snapped a shot over the shoulder of Votary to make it 2-0.

Jacob Julien opened the scoring in the first period with as classic a playoff goal as you are going to find. London co-captain George Diaco got the puck deep into the Owen Sound zone and chipped it to the right post where Julien used his size and a whole lot of determination to jam at the puck until it cross the goal line.

Diaco’s third assist of the game came on a pass to fellow co-captain Sean McGurn that left McGurn able to just deflect the puck into the Attack net. McGurn then tipped in a Jackson Edward shot at 6:51 of the third period and completed what was a natural hat trick by deflecting home a Denver Barkey wrist shot on a London power play at the 9:46 mark of period three.

Denver Barkey had a pair of assists for the Knights and London forward Easton Cowan was noticeable all night. He bought fans out of their seats skating the puck back and forth from zone to zone on a third period penalty kill.

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The Knights outshot Owen Sound 42-25.

The teams will play Game 2 on Sunday, Apr. 2at 2 p.m. at Budweiser Gardens.

Read more: OHL Playoff Preview: London vs. Owen Sound

Zach Bowen wins F.W. “Dinty” Moore Trophy

Knights rookie goaltender Zach Bowen had himself quite the first season in the Ontario Hockey League. The 17-year old from Kanata, Ont., put together a 15-game winning streak that ranks second all-time among rookie goaltenders and Bowen also posted a save percentage of .899 and a goals against average of 3.10.

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That goals against was the lowest among other first year goalies and earned Bowen the F.W. “Dinty” Moore Trophy. Bowen’s goaltending partner Brett Brochu was the last London player to earn the award in 2019-20.

“Dinty” Moore was from Port Colborne, Ont.,  and was the president of the Ontario Hockey Association from 1942-45.

Read more: OHL Playoff Preview: Western Conference matchups

London Jr. Knights move on at OHL Cup

The U16 London Jr. Knights have advanced to the quarter-finals of the 2023 OHL Cup. Aidan Young scored in overtime to give London a 5-4 victory over the Whitby Wildcats. After a hard-fought victory over the Mississauga Senators earlier in the day the Jr. Knights knew that a win would be enough to put them through to the knockout round and they took a 4-3 lead into the final minute of the game and it held until the final second of the game.

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James Henderson of the Wildcats scored on a power play with one second remaining to tie the game. A loss would have eliminated London but Young came through with his fifth goal of the tournament to set up a quarter-final matchup with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Apr. 1.

Read more: Kingston, Ont.’s Memorial Cup bid fails to score

Up next

Game 2 between the Knights and the Attack will happen on Sunday, Apr. 2 at 2 p.m. at Budweiser Gardens.

After that the series will shift to Owen Sound for games three and four on Tuesday, Apr. 4 and Thursday, Apr. 6.

All games can be heard on 980 CFPL, at and on the Radioplayer Canada app.