Connor McMichael of the London Knights. Photo courtesy of Connor McMichael/Twitter.

McMichael’s hat trick propels Knights to a 7-6 overtime win

Connor McMichael picked up a hat trick and scored the overtime winner, as the London Knights beat the Erie Otters 7-6 Friday night at Budweiser Gardens.

The Knights are still in the OHL Midwest Division cellar, tied for fourth place with the Kitchener Rangers at 16 points.

London took charge early, starting at the 12-minute mark of the first period. Nathan Dunkley picked up his third goal of the season. Jonathan Gruden doubled the Knights lead just over three-and-a-half minutes later, and Alec Regula padded the lead to 3-0 before the end of the frame. The Knights outshot the Otters 16-5.

Erie clawed back into the game with two unanswered goals to start the middle period. Hayden Fowler’s goal at 4:17 put the Otters on the board, and Mathew MacDougall followed suit 16 seconds later. Gruden picked up his second goal of the game soon after, giving the Knights a 4-2 lead, but Kurtis Henry and Emmett Sproule tied the game for Erie with another pair of goals. London, however, was able to maintain a lead at the second intermission on McMichael’s first goal of the game.

The Otters got yet another pair of goals to begin the third period, this time taking the lead. Henry struck again at 1:24 of the frame, and then Daniel D’Amato picked up the go-ahead goal. The Knights got a crucial power play late in regulation, and McMichael took advantage, forcing overtime with his second goal of the game.

The overtime winner completed McMichael’s hat trick and came at 3:04 of the extra stanza.

Brett Brochu and Dylan Myskiw shared time in the London net, combining for 20 saves out of 26 tries. Aidan Campbell took the loss for Erie, stopping 38 out of 45 pucks.

London heads to Oshawa Sunday night to take on the Generals.