Maybe it was the bear logo on their uniforms.
Or it may have been their grizzly-like performance with the man advantage.
The Owen Sound Attack scored three power play goals on five power play opportunities on Teddy Bear Toss night in London, defeating the Knights 6-3 on Friday.
London defenceman Alec Regula brought down 8,624 teddy bears and other stuffed toys that were collected by the Salvation Army for their Christmas hamper program with a big slap shot on a Knights power play at 2:31 of the second period.
At the time, that evened the score 1-1. Kaleb Pearson of St. Marys had put Owen Sound ahead 1-0 on an Attack man advantage in the first period.
The Knights went ahead 2-1 just under four minutes later as rookie defenceman Ben Roger wristed a shot off the post and in for his first goal in the Ontario Hockey League.
The Attack tied the game on a goal by Brady Lyle and then in a span of three minutes and 24 seconds, Owen Sound struck three more times. Lyle and Deni Goure connected on the man advantage and Igor Chibrikov sent a seeing-eye wrist shot through traffic and past Knights goaltender Brett Brochu.
That brought Dylan Myskiw off the bench for London to play the remainder of the second period and the third.
Matthew Struthers scored the final Attack goal on the night. Struthers started his OHL career in Owen Sound, was traded to North Bay and re-acquired by the Attack on Dec. 2. He now has two goals in two games for the Attack.
Nathan Dunkley finished the scoring with his fifth goal of the year for the Knights to make it 6-3 at 12:21 of the third period.
Owen Sound outshot London 32-29.
The Knights dropped back-to-back games for the first time since Oct. 18 and just the third time this season.
They will head back on the road for their next three games beginning on Sunday in Guelph.
The Knights next home game will be Friday, Dec. 13 against the Sarnia Sting.
Stranges getting offence from defence
Tonio Stranges went into the game against the Owen Sound Attack on a five-game goal scoring streak with seven goals in those five games. His streak stopped there, but his recent performance is still being recognized.
Knights assistant coach Dylan Hunter credited Stranges’ offensive success to his commitment to defence.
“He’s been playing very well. We wanted him to shoot more and he has been,” Hunter said. “We are hard on him. We want him to be a good player and he wants to be a good player and has been more complete the past six or seven games and it has been showing on the scoresheet.”
Hunter also pointed out an adjustment that can be a difficult one for young players to make.
“Players don’t like to do things that they feel they aren’t good at. It takes time, but once you address those things you can bring your game to a whole new level.”
That’s what Tonio Stranges seems to be doing right now.
Foudy and McMichael heading to Oakville
The next stop for any player hoping to represent Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship is Oakville, Ont., from Dec. 9 to 12. Team Canada has invited four goalies and 27 skaters to their final selection camp, to which Knights co-captain Liam Foudy and leading scorer Connor McMichael both received invitations.
Foudy attended last year’s camp as an 18-year-old but did not make the final roster. McMichael is 18 right now. Both showed well in the Canada-Russia series in November. Knights defenceman Ryan Merkley also played in that series, but did not receive an invite to the selection camp.
This year’s World Junior tournament is being held in Trinec and Ostrava in the Czech Republic, beginning on Dec. 26.
For the first time since their seven-game playoff series last spring, the London Knights will play the Guelph Storm. Nick Suzuki and Isaac Ratcliffe are gone, but the Storm have been one of the big surprises in the OHL this year. They put together a nine-game winning streak in November and have one of the league’s top goaltenders in Nico Daws who, if he gets the start, will be playing in his final game ahead of Team Canada’s final selection camp for the World Junior Hockey Championship.
The pre-game show will start at 1:30 on 980 CFPL, at www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.
London will visit Kitchener on Tuesday for the Rangers annual Teddy Bear Toss.
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