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OHL: Leafs prospect Cowan helps Knights win Western Conference final

Easton Cowan London Knights Easton Cowan - Tim Cornett/OHL Images

SAGINAW, Mich. — Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Easton Cowan has led the London Knights to the Ontario Hockey League final.

Cowan scored twice and added an assist as London beat the Saginaw Spirit 4-2 on Sunday to win the Wayne Gretzky Trophy as the OHL's Western Conference champions.

London won the best-of-seven series 4-2.

The Knights become the first team to win back-to-back Wayne Gretzky Trophies since the franchise last did so in 2012 and 2013.

“We had a total team game going,” said Knights head coach Dale Hunter. “Our big guns came out and played really well and the young guys who came in and filled spots played really well too.”

Sam O'Reilly and Jackson Edward scored the other goals for the Knights, while Michael Simpson made 33 saves for the win.

Joey Willis and Jorian Donovan replied for Saginaw as Nolan Lalonde stopped 22-of-35 shots in net.

Saginaw's OHL playoff run came to an end, but the Spirit are the host team of the Memorial Cup starting May 24.

Neither team scored on the power play Sunday. London went 0 for 1 with the man advantage and the Spirit were 0 for 3.

Also Sunday, Owen Van Steensel had two goals and two assists as the North Bay Battalion forced a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference final with an 8-1 win over the Oshawa Generals.

Sandis Vilmanis scored and had two assists for North Bay. Dalyn Wakely, Brice Cooke, Liam Arnsby, Justin Ertel and Jacob Therrien rounded out the attack.

Ben Danford was the lone scorer for the Generals.

Oshawa hosts the Battalion on Monday in the deciding game of the series with the winner meeting London for the OHL title.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2024.