This is part of an ongoing series in which we look back on amazing moments in London Knights history. Each day, we’ll bring you a new memory leading up to the anniversaries of the team’s Memorial Cup championships in 2005 and 2016.
In baseball, going 1-for-3 is a pretty solid day.
If you hit .333 over your career you’ll make a good case for Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame.
May 20 in London Knights history represents a 1-for-3 day at the Memorial Cup tournament.
But even the two games that London did not win featured very unique moments.
London Knights: Back in time — May 15 and 16
May 20, 2012 – The Penalty Kill
The Knights played their second game of the Memorial Cup tournament as they met the host Shawinigan Cataractes. London was coming off a 5-3 victory over the defending champions from Saint John, N.B.,as they played for the second time in two days.
Shawinigan had fallen a goal short against Edmonton in the tournament opener where they lost 4-3 to the Oil Kings.
The game against the Cataractes was filled with frustration for the Knights in what ended up being a 6-2 defeat.
In it, though, was a moment that will stand out forever. It was subtle in the way spotting a hawk in a tree is subtle. You had to see it to know it was there.
With the score tied 1-1 in the first period London was whistled for two minor penalties on the same play. Brett Cook was called for roughing and Kevin Raine for checking from behind. That meant the Knights were down 5-on-3 for a full two minutes.
London head coach Mark Hunter sent forward Austin Watson along with captain Jarred Tinordi and future captain Scott Harrington over the boards.
The three Knights battled against the likes of Michal Bournival, Michael Chaput and Brandon Gormley for about a minute and a half and managed to get the puck down the ice for what could have been a line change.
As Tinordi, Harrington and Watson lined up in neutral ice a call came from the bench to get them to come off. Tinordi, sweat pouring down his face, looked at his teammates and waved off the change and then the trio took on the Cataractes and killed the final seconds of the full two minutes.
London Knights: Back in time — May 17
May 20, 2013 – Max Domi to Bo Horvat
Max Domi and Bo Horvat arrived in Saskatoon, Sask., not long after their 18th birthdays all set to play in their second Memorial Cup tournament.
Both had established themselves as top players in Major Junior hockey and high-end prospects for the National Hockey League Entry Draft. (Horvat went 9th overall to Vancouver; Domi was selected 12th overall by the Coyotes)
Domi was the kind of player who was willing to try most anything on the ice and had the skill to back it up.
Horvat was a phenomenal finisher as he had shown days earlier when the Rodney, Ont., native scored the OHL championship winning goal in Game 7 against the Barrie Colts with 0.1 seconds remaining in regulation time.
Those two traits came together like peanut butter and chocolate inside a 1980s movie theatre against Portland in London’s round-robin matchup with the Winterhawks.
Portland was ahead 3-1 with 7:30 to go in the second period when Horvat, Domi and Knights forward Seth Griffith came into the Winterhawks zone.
Domi tried to twist the puck around a defender but it hit a skate and bounced away from him. With the play still moving at high speed Griffith darted to his right and snagged the puck. He immediately swung it back to Domi who was now just above the hash mark on the right face-off circle in the Portland end.
Domi was also 2-on-1 with Horvat who was heading to the left side of the net. Domi could have tried to backhand the puck to Horvat but he was in pretty tight to the net at that point, so, instead, the future Montreal Canadien dragged the puck back through his own skates and made a between-the-legs pass to Horvat who whacked the puck right out of the air and into the Winterhawks net.
Portland would go on to win the game 6-3 but that play has outlasted any other highlight that happened that night.
London Knights: Back in time — May 18
May 20, 2016 – The big lead
The Memorial Cup tournament brings together the best of the best in the Canadian Hockey League.
Dominating is rarely an option.
However in a span of just under 25 minutes between the middle of the first period and the end of the second period the Knights took a party atmosphere at the Enmax Centrium on the opening night of the 2016 event and rained all over the cake.
Two goals by Mitch Marner, two from Christian Dvorak and singles by Aaron Berisha and Victor Mete put London ahead by a half dozen through 40 minutes.
It was the biggest lead the Knights had built to that point in their Memorial Cup history.
Marner assisted on three of the other Knights goals that night and that kick-started what would be a tournament high 14 points in four games for the Maple Leafs 2015 first rounder.
The eventual 6-2 win also accounted for London’s 15th consecutive playoff victory and was the first of four straight wins in Red Deer.
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