The high-flying London Knights strolled into Ottawa to play the fading 67’s in what many figured would be a blowout but the game was very much in doubt right up until the final minute as the Knights came out a little sleepy. The defencemen were misfiring on breakout passes and committing uncharacteristic turnovers until the second period rolled round and the club began to play up to expectations. Here is a recap of how London’s top draft-eligible prospects performed.
Robert Thomas – For 50 minutes the swift-skating center struggled to find his game, uncharacteristically coughing up the puck on several occasions and generating little in the way of offensive chances. When the game was on the line in the second-half of the third period, however, Thomas picked up his game and showed the scouts in attendance why he would be a solid first-round pick for the upcoming draft.
Thomas picked up an assist on Cliff Pu’s game-winning goal, and then added the empty-net goal that sealed Ottawa’s fate. Perhaps the most impressive part of Thomas’ goal was that a former NHL center who was one of the best-ever defensively trusted the 17-year-old pivot to be on the ice protecting the lead in the last minute.
That’s really no surprise though, as Thomas has shown all season that he is a top-notch two-way center because of his great sense and skating ability. You aren’t going to get a much safer pick in this draft – he’s almost a sure bet to be a second or third-line center.
Alex Formenton – He was quite possibly the best player in this game, scoring London’s first goal 7:03 into the second period on a quick, hard snapshot from the high slot that found the corner, a marker which sprked his team from its slumber and paved the way for yet another victory.
Formenton used his tremendous speed and tenacity effectively throughout the game, proving to be a thorn in the side of Ottawa’s young defence group with his relentless forecheck, while also providing London’s back end with strong defensive support, skating back hard and picking up his check.
A scout at the game told Recrutes he interviewed Formenton recently and he’s now a solid 185-pounds, up significantly from the 162 Central Scouting had him listed at in the fall preliminary watch list. If he keeps impressing like he did in this game…he’ll also be up the rankings in a hurry…he looked like he could push for a top-40 selection.