While Niagara IceDogs fans filed towards the exits at the Meridian Centre on Wednesday following a 1-0 loss in Game 4 to the London Knights, the traveling fans of the London franchise remained in their seats for the most part as their club was awarded the OHL’s J. Ross Robertson Cup as the league’s championship team.
The Knights completed a four-game sweep of the IceDogs in the OHL’s Championship series to secure the franchise’s fourth Robertson Cup and their fifth trip to the Mastercard Memorial Cup – this year being held in Red Deer, Alberta.
The London Knights’ Historic Run
With their Game 4 win over the IceDogs, London topped the 1988 Windsor Spitfires’ record of 12 straight playoff wins – notching their 13th after losing Game 5 in the first round against Owen Sound.
Now, the 1988 Spits actually won their final 20 games of the regular season. They followed that up by sweeping all three playoff series – for another 12 wins – before tacking on three wins in the preliminary round of the Memorial Cup tournament. In all, the Spitfires recorded 35 straight wins between the end of the regular season, the OHL playoffs and the Memorial Cup before losing 7-6 in the tournament final.
While the 1988 Spitfires’ run was extremely impressive, they technically don’t hold the record for the longest OHL win streak – anymore.
In fact, since the league expanded to 20 teams in 1998 – adding the Brampton Battalion and Mississauga IceDogs – this marks just the second time an OHL team has gone through the playoffs with only two losses.
Not The First Time
The first, came in 2004-05 when the London Knights managed a 30-point cushion over the second place Owen Sound Attack during the regular season. Led by Perry, Bolland, and Schremp, the London Knights lost just two games on their way to their first Robertson Cup in franchise history.
This year’s Knights became the second franchise in OHL history to win the championship and only lose two games. They did so on the backs of Mitch Marner, Christian Dvorak and Matthew Tkachuk – their top line.
The three combined for 119 points in 18 playoff games. They ranked first to third in postseason scoring and, while there’s an argument to be had for each winning the OHL’s playoff MVP, Marner was awarded the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award.
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ prospect recorded a playoff high 44 points (16g-28a) for the Knights. As co-captain of the London team, he was able to demonstrate serious puck possession skills and helped quarterback the Knights’ powerplay to a 27.9 percent success rate.
Not only did he show his leadership on the ice, but after being handed the Robertson Cup, the first person Marner carried the trophy to Knights’ prospect Jacob Buch who was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma – a rare form of bone cancer that affects mainly children and adolescents.
— Kathryn Jean (@msconduct) May 12, 2016
Buch was in attendance for the Knights win and was given the chance to hoist the championship trophy. It took one goal (by Dvorak) to win a fourth Robertson Cup for the Knights. It took one goal to show just how dominant London was this season – for Buch to have the chance to raise the Cup. That one goal helped the Knights make postseason history. Now, the Knights are looking to take on the rest of the CHL as they head to Red Deer for this year’s Mastercard Memorial Cup tournament.
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.