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Match notes: Knights face Drummondville in the duel of champions

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Match notes: Knights face Drummondville in the duel of champions

The host Saginaw Spirit opened the festivities with a win on Friday and now the London Knights look to do the same when they face the QMJHL champion Drummondville Voltigeurs at 4 p.m. ET.

Assessing the opponent
The Drummondville Voltigeurs emerged as QMJHL champions for the second time in their history by defeating the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in four consecutive games. Drummondville finished first in the Western Conference during the regular season with a record of 48-14-5-1. They boast a quartet of 30-plus goal scorers, including Ethan Gauthier, the Tampa Bay Lightning's rookie and son of former NHL defenseman Denis Gauthier. Veteran winger Sam Oliver scored 35 goals during the regular season, while 5'6″ speedster Justin Cote scored 32 goals. Slovakian center Peter Repcik scored 30 goals during the season. Drummondville made it through the playoffs without the services of Maveric Lamoureux, who was selected in the first round of the Utah draft. Vsevolod Komarov, drafted by the Buffalo Sabres and a 2023 Memorial Cup champion, was named QMJHL playoff MVP with 15 points (5-10-15) in 19 games from defense. The QMJHL participant has won the Memorial Cup four times in a row and Drummondville is looking to join the Quebec Remparts (2023), Saint John Sea Dogs (2022), Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (2019) and Acadie-Bathurst Titan (2018).

Knights chasing third Memorial Cup title
The London Knights just won their fifth Robertson Cup title as OHL champions (2024, 2016, 2013, 2012, 2005) and have their sights set on the Memorial Cup after tournament victories in Red Deer (2016) and at home in London (2005). The Knights enter the Memorial Cup on a four-game winning streak after going 4-0 in 2016.

Simpson wants to join exclusive club
Knights goaltender Michael Simpson is the only OHL goaltender to win a J. Ross Robertson Cup, the Wayne Gretzky Trophy as a Western Conference champion and a Bobby Orr Trophy as an Eastern Conference champion. He hopes to add the Memorial Cup to his trophy case this week in Saginaw as the Knights try to become the OHL's first champion since the host Windsor Spitfires in 2017.

Halttunen with eight goals in the last three games
San Jose Sharks rookie Kasper Halttunen led the OHL playoffs with 17 goals, eight of which came in his final three games. The Finnish winger set a new OHL record for goals by an import player in the postseason and helped the Knights to a four-game sweep of the Oshawa Generals in the Championship Series.

Cowan with multiple points in seven consecutive
Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Easton Cowan is putting up points and enters tonight's contest with multiple points in seven consecutive games. Cowan is the sixth player in OHL history to win both the Red Tilson Trophy as the league's most outstanding player and the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award as playoff MVP. He posted a 36-game point streak during the regular season, which is a franchise record for the London Knights.

Lawrence and Sim return to the Knights lineup
Veteran forwards Kaleb Lawrence and Landon Sim are eagerly awaited returns to the lineup. Lawrence, who signed an entry-level contract with the NHL's LA Kings this week, is serving a five-game suspension along with Sim, a St. Louis Blues rookie. Both players bring a physical element to the London forward lineup.

Watch today's game
Tune in this afternoon at 4 p.m. ET on TSN 1/3/4/5 and the NHL Network in the USA.