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Drive, consistency fuel Easton Cowan's record point streak

By Ryan Pyette, London Free Press

(London, ON) -- There are several traditions Chris Maton has carried on from his time spent with the late, legendary London Knights trainer Don Brankley.

One of the best is mounting a game puck from a milestone achievement – first goal, hat trick, shutout, etc. – on a commemorative plaque for that player to keep.

The puck collecting for Easton Cowan’s franchise-record 34-game point streak has been extensive and remains ongoing. The Maple Leafs first-rounder passed Dave Gilmore’s 30-year-old team mark Sunday in Windsor and has a chance to add to it Friday at home against the same Spitfires.

“Once you hear people talking about Easton and the streak was getting longer, it catches on with everybody – players, staff, fans,” Maton, the Knights’ longtime equipment manager, said. “You didn’t know when it’s going to stop, so we’ve been getting a puck every game. It’s been a fun ride. Even if he didn’t beat it, at least we had a puck then for, say, the 30th game.

“It’s still quite an accomplishment. You look at all the players we’ve seen come through here – like Patrick Kane, Bo Horvat, Mitch Marner – and they couldn’t do what he’s doing.”

The streak, which started. Nov. 25 in Barrie, adds up to half of an Ontario Hockey League team’s full 68-game schedule. The 18-year-old Cowan, a potential league MVP, has played in 52 contests and has only been shut out in five of them.

This roll has survived through Canadian world junior camp and the tournament, head coach Dale Hunter’s line juggling, a split lip and a full faceshield for a spell, plus a one-game absence due to an upper-body injury.

“He exemplifies consistency and preparation,” London GM Mark Hunter said. “It just doesn’t happen that he is good every game. He works hard in practice, focuses before every practice and game and is prepared for it. He understands what he needs to do to be better.

“When he came back (from the Leafs in October), he settled in to where he’s being humble and making sure he is enjoying the experience he is having here.”

The streak is remarkable because of the ups and downs along the way. Everybody has days when they don’t feel like getting out of bed, but still try to produce.

Cowan has developed a couple of superstitions in his daily routine. But he barely talks about this individual run because, in his mind, it’s all about winning and securing first place.

“He loves the game and it’s all about the game,” Maton said. “For Easton, it’s about performing the best he can and doing his job. He is very driven and you can tell he has been brought up great, because his parents are super people.

“Toronto has a helluva pick here.”

When Gilmore had his run, he had players like Jason Allison and Nick Stajduhar to help offensively. But the Knights back then were a middling team.

Cowan has a lot of weapons at his disposal. London is one of the best teams in major junior hockey and leads the OHL in both power play and penalty killing.

“It takes a team for people to be good,” Mark Hunter said, “and we have a good team. There is a lot of focus on Easton because he plays with a desire to do well and puts up goals and points. We have a good bunch of players who like to be with each other and push each other.

“They’re unselfish to the point where they can shoot more sometimes, but everybody passes the puck well and good things happen for everyone when you move it.”

There have been a lot of great offensive records and performances in Knights history. Will this one stand up the way Gilmore’s did for three decades?

“When you’re younger, maybe you don’t think of these things,” Maton said, “but as you get older, you start to think maybe I won’t see anything like this again in my lifetime.

“It means a lot to me to see Easton accomplish this and I know it means a lot to the club.”

Fun facts about London Knights star Easton Cowan’s franchise record 34-game point streak and season to date:

  • He has racked up 23 goals and 64 points during the streak.

  • It started in Barrie Nov. 25, a day after a pointless and minus-3 outing in a 9-2 loss at Sudbury.

  • The Knights’ record is 26-5-1-2 during the Cowan streak.

  • He hasn’t scored in the past four games, but has collected seven assists during that time. His current goal “drought” is the longest of the streak.

  • There have been no hat tricks or four-point games during the streak, but eight three-pointers.

  • He has only been held pointless five times this season, four of those by American teams (twice by Erie, once each by Flint, Saginaw and Sudbury).

--Article by Ryan Pyette - London Free Press --


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