Nov 18

Knights battle their way to Game 6

Wins have not come easy in the first round of the OHL playoffs for either the London Knights or the Windsor Spitfires. When the fourth- and fifth-best teams meet, it’s hard to expect anything different.

The Knights nonetheless managed to eke out a 2-1 win over Windsor on Friday to force a Game 6 on Sunday.

London picked up in the first period where they left off in the third period in Game 4. They didn’t record 20 shots, but they did get a goal, and any team will make that kind of a trade any day.


London forward Dante Salituro fed the puck across the ice to a spot on the right side of the Windsor end where Evan Bouchard was the only player able to reach it. Bouchard not only got to the puck, he unloaded a slapshot that produced a rebound to the left of the Windsor net and Robert Thomas knocked it in for a 1-0 lead at the 7:05 mark.

The Knights held the play throughout the opening period, energized by a sellout crowd of 9036 at Budweiser Gardens, but the Spitfires held their ground.

Tyler Parsons: From a spark to a flame

London completed a penalty kill to open the second period, only before they could get set, Logan Brown came across the blue line. A blocked shot and a split save by Tyler Parsons later, the puck passed to Jeremy Bracco on the right side and he fired a low shot under Parsons to tie the game just 21 seconds after the opening faceoff.

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Parsons was acrobatic all night, following up a series of first-period saves and blocks on bank shots with a lunging leg stop in the second and a reach-behind-and-pull-the-puck-off-the-goal-line save in the third.

London’s penalty kill also served them well, as the Knights went 6-for-6 against a Windsor power-play unit that had been scoring at a 31.3 per cent clip coming into Game 5.

Mitchell Stephens continued to showcase his ability to score big goals at key times. He added to his collection of a game-tying and game-winning goal in the series with a go-ahead goal at the 12:09 mark of the second period on a play that was very similar to London’s first scoring play.

Mitch Vande Sompel sent a puck through traffic that Michael DiPietro found and stopped, but he failed to find the rebound as Stephens pulled it away and buried it in the back of the net to put the Knights up 2-1.

And that’s the way the score stayed, even through a final Windsor man advantage, a Windsor push in the last minute and a final Windsor shot by Mikhail Sergachev that flew high over the net.

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Parsons was named the game’s first star, with 25 saves. DiPietro stopped 27 shots for the Spitfires.

Windsor now leads the series three games to two.

Game 6 will take place at the WFCU Centre in Windsor on Sunday at 2 p.m. AM980’s coverage will begin at 1:30.

If necessary, Game 7 will take place in London at Budweiser Gardens on Apr. 4 at 7 p.m.

The Knights and Spitfires are the final series going in the Western Conference. Sault Ste. Marie and Owen Sound are through to the second round, wrapping up their first round in just five games. The Greyhounds knocked off the Flint Firebirds 6-1, and the Attack defeated Kitchener 6-2.

Erie will now watch London and Windsor closely as they will meet the winner in a Western Conference semi-final.

Knights tickets are available by calling 519-681-0800 x 1, in person at the Knights’ Armouries or online at londonknights杭州桑拿.