Four games is all it took for the London Knights to defeat their rival Windsor Spitfires in the first round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs. While the Spitfires had a hard time finding their scoring touch with Jordan Kooy manning the Knights net, it was another trio of Knights’ players that led the way on the offensive end – two defensemen in particular.
With the help of Ottawa Senators’ prospect Alex Formenton – who leads the OHL playoffs with 11 points (2g-9a) in just four games, Evan Bouchard and Adam Boqvist also put together solid first rounds for the Knights helping their team to a four-game sweep of the Spits.
Bouchard: The Fearless Leader
The first half of the dynamic duo, Edmonton Oilers’ prospect Bouchard tallied two goals and 10 points in the Knights’ first round. As always, the Oakville native led the charge on the team’s power play with his booming shot from the point and tallied six power play assists in the process.
His total has him sitting second in the OHL in playoff scoring – tied with Sault Ste. Marie’s Barrett Hayton and Guelph’s Nate Schnarr who Bouchard and the Knights will see in the second round.
He scored his two goals on just 11 shots for a shooting percentage of 18.2 percent, averaging 2.5 points per game through the first four games of the playoffs.
Bouchard’s numbers aren’t everything though. As the leader of the squad, Bouchard returned to London following a short stint with the Oilers to start the year and a break for the World Junior Championship – a disappointing tournament for Bouchard and the Canadian squad.
Still, the 19-year-old maintained more than a point-per-game average with 53 points in 45 games during the regular season and was able to bring together a young squad that was put together over the last couple of seasons.
A fourth-year Knight, Bouchard’s put up 201 points in 223 regular season games in green and gold and 24 in 32 postseason games, so far. He’s 45th on the team’s all-time list in regular season scoring and third amongst defensemen on the franchise’s all-time list behind Rick Corriveau and Chris McCauley (who also played on the wing).
After the first couple of games against Windsor, Bouchard was awarded the CHL’s Player of the Week award which was followed up by Boqvist winning the same award following their third and fourth games against the Spitfires.
Boqvist: The Backend Sniper
As for Boqvist, he’s shown his scoring prowess for the Knights all season long. He finished his first year with the Knights scoring 20 goals and 60 points in 54 regular season games and it didn’t stop there.
Through the first round, Boqvist leads the OHL in goal scoring with six – including a four-goal performance in Game 3 in Windsor. His six goals and seven points, so far, has him sitting 11th in OHL playoff scoring and third on the Knights in that department.
Four of his goals came on the power play as did his assist and he scored his six goals on just 14 shots – a shooting percentage of 42.9 percent through the first four games.
A Chicago Blackhawks prospect, Boqvist excelled in his first year in the OHL and was a standout on the Knights blue line. And after high-praise for the Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting, Boqvist should help the Knights on a deep playoff run – with hopes of leading to a shot at the Memorial Cup.
“The trajectory is very positive, very encouraging,” said Mark Kelley, VP of amateur scouting for the Blackhawks in a recent article in the Chicago Tribune. “He’s got a lot of hockey left in him this year. He’s playing in London, we expect them to play in the conference final and have a good chance to go to the Memorial Cup. If that’s the case, he’s going to play right through to the end of May. So that gives him four more months of hockey, which can be huge in his development.” (from ‘’I have to be stronger’: Blackhawks prospect Adam Boqvist has the talent, but is he ready for the NHL’, Chicago Tribune – 1/29/19)
Regardless of how things turn out for Boqvist and the Blackhawks, one thing is for sure. With the Knights having both Bouchard and Boqvist on the back end for their playoff run, it’s looking like it could be a lengthy stay in the OHL playoffs for the London Knights and their dynamic duo on defence.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.