Connect with us

Flyers Farm

Barkey, Bonk, Knights Steamroll Through OHL Playoffs; Qualify for Memorial Cup

(Cole Wilton/London Knights)

The London Knights steamrolled their way through the OHL playoffs as they captured the J. Ross Robertson Cup after sweeping the Oshawa Generals in the championship round.

The Knights won their fourth championship trophy in the last 10 seasons – it’s been a stretch of 12 years but the playoffs were cancelled in 2019-20 and the entire season as a whole was cancelled in 2020-21 due to COVID-19. Backed by Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Easton Cowan as well as a pair of Philadelphia Flyers’ prospects in Denver Barkey and Oliver Bonk, the Knights not only were crowned OHL Champions but qualified for the illustrious Memorial Cup tournament.

Beginning on the 24th of May and stretching out to the 2nd of June, the Memorial Cup encompasses the winners of each of the Canadian junior leagues – OHL, WHL, and QMJHL – as well as the team of the host city, which this year is Saginaw. This year represents the 104th Memorial Cup, and London will be looking to capture their third title and first since 2016.

As things currently stand, the Knights will be joined by Flyers prospect Alexis Gendron and his Drummondville Voltigeurs as they were crowned QMJHL champions, the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors as they swept Flyers prospect Carter Sortheran’s Portland Winterhawks in the championship round, and the tournament hosts in the Saginaw Spirit.

During the regular season, the Knights earned the best record in the OHL after finishing 50-14-1-3 in 68 games for 104 points. They edged out Saginaw by two points in the Western Conference standings and scored the second-most goals with 322 – trailing just Sudbury’s 328.

Barkey led the way for the Knights and finished fifth in the entire league with 102 points in 64 games. Cowan missed 14 games on the season but finished with 96 points, and Bonk tallied 67 points in 60 games.

In the postseason, the Knights swept the Flint Firebirds in the first round and swept the Kitchener Rangers in the second round before taking down Saginaw in six games. Oshawa, who was the best team in the Eastern Conference, defeated Barrie in six games in the first round, Ottawa in four games in the second round, and then took down the North Bay Battalion in seven.

The final showdown between the Knights and the Generals was not as close as many had hoped for or anticipated. The Knights won both games on home ice by a combined score of 17-2 before mounting a furious third period comeback in Game 3 to force the extra session and eventually take the game in double overtime.

It was more of the same on Wednesday as London handedly won by a score of 7-1. Cowan recorded a goal and three assists and captured the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award as playoff MVP, while Barkey added a goal and two assists of his own, including the fourth goal of the game.

Cowan led the way with 34 points in 18 games, followed by Barkey’s 27 points in 18 games, while Bonk was sixth on the team with 16 points. San Jose Sharks prospect Kasper Halltunen led the team in goals with 17, Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Max McCue was fourth on the team with 22 points, while Winnipeg Jets prospect Jacob Julien rounded out the top five with 18 points.

Barkey and Bonk had spectacular showings in the championship round, with the former tallying 3 goals and 8 assists in the four-game sweep while the latter chipped in with 3 goals and 5 assists.

The Flyers should be more than thrilled with how their 2023 draft choices performed in totality from start to finish. Barkey improved from 22 goals and 59 points in 61 games last year to 35 goals and 102 points in three more games this year, while Bonk went from 10 goals and 40 points in 67 games last year to 24 goals and 67 points in seven less games this year.

Flyers fan born in the heart of Leafs nation

More in Flyers Farm