The London Knights came out like Muhammad Ali in game one of their first round playoff match up against the Owen Sound Attack.
Floating like a butterfly in a slow first period, the Knights stung like a bee in the second, scoring a pair of key goals on route to a 4-1 win to take a one-nothing series lead.
In a slow start, likely triggered by playoff jitters – London managed only three shots in the first period before coming alive.
Max Jones opened the scoring for London as he made a diving stab at a rebound that trickled past Attack netminder Michael McNiven for Jones’s first career playoff goal.
Jones, who added an assist in his first ever OHL playoff game was excited about notching his first.
“Felt really good,” said Jones.
“I felt like I had that exact goal earlier in the season in Saginaw so it kind of felt like deja vu kind of moment so it was weird but I guess I knew what I was doing just because I had scored that kind of goal already.”
Jones said he wasn’t sure exactly how he managed it, but was happy to see the puck cross the net and happier to help get the win.
“Feels really good,” he said. “Obviously I had a lot of energy and I think we started off slow but second period came around, we all just started pumping and we just kind of fed off the positive energy.”
Tyler Parsons was a big part of that positivity. The Knights netminder and OHL’s top goaltender made 25 saves for his first win of the postseason.
In a game where Owen Sound lead the shot count 26-18 and did well to inhibit their opponents scoring chances, the Knights still managed to capitalize on what little opportunities they had.
Parsons felt the difference maker was leadership in the dressing room between periods.
“Captains and assistants,” Parsons said. “They said we gotta wake up and we all knew that we had jitters so come out in the second period and get those you goals and just came out and battled.”
Owen Sound, not known for their offense, don’t have a single player in the league’s top 50 scorers.
Therein lies the distinct separation of these squads – as the Knights have three in the top five in Christian Dvorak, Mitchell Marner, and Matthew Tkachuk.
Though the Attack’s attack (no pun intended) is lacking, Jones knows that there are a few things London will need to be weary of.
“They just work really hard, and when you do that the other things pick up behind it and that’s what they do,” Jones stated.
“They’re really strong defensively minded so we just need to chip pucks and play an old fashioned style of game and I think that’s what we did in the second and third there.”
With that in mind, London has the one game edge and with the ball in their court they’ll have a chance to make it two on Saturday.
Starting time for game two is 7PM.