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Knights Sweep the Spits!

March 30, 2012

Top of the charts, best news of the day – the London Knights sweep the Windsor Spitfires in their OHL Western Conference opening playoff series to join the Brampton Battalion in the second round.  The Knights entered the evening leading the series 3-0 over the Spitfires, but aside from the opener; the Spits were in every game.  Windsor wasn’t about to be swept easily.

Given the magnitude of the game, however, the end result was rather surprising.  The Knights would pepper star netminder Jaroslav Pavelka, en route to an 8-3 London win.  Star of the game was Ryan Rupert who was his agitating self while scoring a hat-trick – sorry Ryan, only boos from the Windsor crowd, not the normal London sombrero!

Down 5-1, Windsor tried to spark the game with Sam Studnicka fighting Brett Welychka when they stepped out of the box after being handed roughing minors in the middle of the second period. The Knights’ skill stood out however, with their special teams contributing a pair of power play goals and and two short-handed goals to put away the game. In the end, London came away with a series sweep and the offence suddenly firing on all cylinders.

Question marks before the series were related directly to the sudden dearth of goals that the Knights had experienced going into the playoffs.  With Rupert, Chris Tierney, Andreas Athanasiou and Greg McKegg hitting the scoresheet, it appears that not only are the special teams back; the secondary scoring is back as well. All good news for London.  Its not all happiness in the Knights’ room, though. Olli Maatta appeared to injure his leg on a collision with Hunter Smith, adding to the list of Knights who will appreciate the time off between series to recover.

The game ended with both backup goalies in the nets, with overager John Cullen receiving time in his last OHL game. Kudos and good luck to Windsor’s overagers Cullen, Derek Holden and Zack McQueen, who finished their OHL careers with this game.

Next up – Guelph Storm or the Plymouth Whalers who are tied at 2 games apiece in their series. Who would the Knights like to face – the rival Storm or the powerhouse Whalers?  I suspect that neither will be an easy go, but given their record over the season, perhaps the Storm would be a more favourable opponent should they manage to upset the Whalers.

UPDATE: I misread the OHL playoff brackets and with the Whalers defeating the Storm, the Kitchener Rangers beating the Owen Sound Attack and the Sarnia Sting losing to the Saginaw Spirit; this leaves the next round finalized.  London will face Saginaw, and Plymouth will meet the Rangers.

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