Cowan lifts Knights to Memorial Cup final with win over Spirit | CBC Sports


Easton Cowan scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period to help the London Knights book their ticket to Sunday’s Memorial Cup final with a 4-2 victory over the Saginaw Spirit on Wednesday night.

Cowan took a feed from Sam O’Reilly and beat Spirit goaltender Andrew Oke on the glove side with 1:25 left in regulation time. Cowan iced the win with an empty-netter with 22 seconds left.

The Spirit will play Western Hockey League champion Moose Jaw in Friday’s semifinal. The Warriors topped the Drummondville Voltigeurs 5-3 on Tuesday to eliminate the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League champions.

Kasper Halttunen and Denver Barkey each had a goal and an assist for London. Michael Simpson made 26 saves.

Alex Christopoulos and Joey Willis scored for host Saginaw. Oke stopped 31 shots.

Both teams entered the game at 2-0 in round-robin play and met each other for the first time since the Ontario Hockey League’s Western Conference final. The Knights won the best-of-seven series in six games before going on to win the OHL title earlier this month.

Christopoulos opened the scoring 8:50 into the first period after tipping a shot from Josh Bloom. However, a double-minor penalty on Zayne Parekh for high-sticking would cost Saginaw its early lead.

Halttunen knotted the contest on the power play 14:23 into the period. He took a drop pass from Cowan, beat a defender with a toe-drag move and fired in a wrist shot.

The Spirit tested Simpson, outshooting the Knights 8-3 through the first 6:40 of the second period, including a Christopoulos backhand in front on a hard drive to the net.

But it was Barkey who broke the tie at 10:40 of the middle frame. Halttunen made a hard drive with a defender on him and dished a centring pass from a tight angle to Barkey who tapped it in.

Max McCue almost made it 3-1 at 12:31 after a defensive mishap left him all alone for a breakaway, but he was stonewalled by Oke.

Willis, however, tied the game with 5:40 remaining. He whipped a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle that beat Simpson on the blocker side.

Just over a minute into the third period, McCue found himself on another breakaway but missed the net. Oke stopped a McCue wrist shot near the midway point of the frame after a feed from O’Reilly.

Bloom fired a shot on a partial break but Simpson made a pad save with just under six minutes left in the third.

The Spirit and Knights split their four meetings in the regular season.




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