Yates Cup puts West­ern Mus­tangs’ of­fen­sive line front and cen­tre.

Liam Foudy has a busy week­end with two Knights games and two with Team OHL

The London Free Press - - FRONT PAGE - RYAN PYETTE rpyette@post­media.com Twit­ter.com/RyanatLFPress

Last sea­son, Liam Foudy was added to the Cana­dian Hockey League’s top prospects game as an in­jury re­place­ment.

He re­turned to Lon­don among the most dan­ger­ous of­fen­sive play­ers in the OHL and had an eye­open­ing sec­ond half that led to a first-round NHL se­lec­tion.

The hope is his ex­pe­ri­ence with the Canada-Rus­sia Se­ries this week will have a sim­i­lar im­pact.

“Usu­ally it’s a big hon­our to play in those games,” said the Knights for­ward, who suited up in Team OHL’s 3-1 vic­tory Thurs­day in Sar­nia. “It shows your skill and hard work has paid off to make an all-star team, you’d al­most say.”

Foudy is in the midst of four games in five days. He played Fri­day against Sud­bury and has a Sun­day af­ter­noon date with Kitch­ener on deck be­fore re­join­ing Team OHL for Mon­day’s tilt in Os­hawa.

Be­ing in­vited to both games usu­ally means Hockey Canada’s scouts want to take an ex­tra look at him be­fore their world ju­nior se­lec­tion camp next month.

“They watch you all year but th­ese two games are big for them,” Foudy said. “Get­ting in­vited to the camp would be pretty cool. It would be a big con­fi­dence booster and it’s ev­ery kid’s dream to play for Team Canada.”

Foudy pos­sesses the same sort of speed that made line­mate Alex For­men­ton, who will also play in Mon­day’s con­test, a valu­able mem­ber of the reign­ing world ju­nior gold medal team at age 18.

“Ev­ery time Liam has played in­ter­na­tional hockey, he’s al­ways done re­ally well,” Lon­don as­so­ciate GM Rob Simp­son said. “He seems to score. He brings speed. He can also play top line, sec­ond, third. You can do mul­ti­ple things. When the speed is there, they’re an as­set. Most times in small tour­na­ments, it’s nice to have play­ers like that. In­juries hap­pen and if a player like him gets hot, you can bump them up (in the lineup). I’d like to see them get a chance to show­case what he can do.”

Since For­men­ton’s re­turn, Knights coach Dale Hunter has matched him on a line with Foudy, along with penalty killing duty to­gether.

There is a lot of of­fen­sive po­ten­tial with the twin tur­bos.

“It’s tough for teams to de­fend hav­ing two pretty fast guys on the same line,” Foudy said. “It brings a lot of room to ev­ery­one else there. I’m try­ing to find my groove. I missed a few games with in­jury early and it set me back. But we’re win­ning games and that’s all that mat­ters.”

Bo­qvist back

With Adam Bo­qvist’s re­turn from in­jury af­ter miss­ing four games, Hunter paired the 18-yearold Swede with over-ager Wil­liam Loc­head while keep­ing Evan Bouchard with Alec Reg­ula, his

part­ner from last year.

“It’s nice to have ev­ery­one back and see what it looks like and what we need to do,” Simp­son said. “Alec and Evan had such a good chem­istry and Alec showed he could play on his left side. For now that’s

some­thing we’re go­ing to keep.”

The Knights are en­cour­ag­ing Bo­qvist to con­tinue jump­ing into the play, but are try­ing to limit to those op­por­tu­ni­ties where it cre­ates an odd-man rush.

“There has to be a level of free­dom to his game,” Simp­son said. “At the same point, you have to teach him when those reads are and they’re not on ev­ery shift. You don’t want to cre­ate a 3-on-3 and sac­ri­fice the de­fen­sive side.”

Spe­cial boost

The Knights sput­ter­ing power play re­ceived an early boost on a fine in­di­vid­ual ef­fort from lead­ing gun­ner Con­nor McMichael.

The sec­ond-year for­ward ripped a shot far side past Sud­bury goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukko­nen with two sec­onds left in Lon­don’s sec­ond power-play at­tempt late in the first pe­riod.

That­wa­son­lytheKnights­sev­enth goal with the man ad­van­tage.

“Early on (in the sea­son), our en­tries needed to be bet­ter,” Simp­son said. “We weren’t win­ning face­offs, then you’re go­ing down the ice to re­trieve and that kills 30 sec­onds. We’ve been bet­ter lately at face­offs and re­cov­er­ies. The other facet is we have quite a few new guys who aren’t fa­mil­iar with what we’re do­ing yet. We want to take what the penalty kill gives you and ma­nip­u­late and have some de­cep­tion.

“We teach them how to read the play and play within it. That’s some­thing that can im­prove with more time for the coaches to work with them.”

DEREK RUTTAN/THE LON­DON FREE PRESS

Sud­bury Wolves winger Nolan Hutch­e­son leaps to screen Lon­don Knights goalie Joseph Raay­mak­ers but ends up mak­ing the save by get­ting hit in the leg by a point shot dur­ing the first pe­riod of their OHL game at Bud­weiser Gar­dens on Fri­day night. At left, Knights for­ward Liam Foudy and Sud­bury Wolves twins Drake (28) and Dar­ian Pilon fol­low the bounc­ing puck.

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