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London Knights return to the ice with 5-1 win over Windsor Spitfires

A stellar performance on the penalty kill and 42 saves from Brett Brochu propelled the London Knights to a 5-1 win over the Windsor Spitfires on Friday night at Budweiser Gardens.

London killed off eight of nine Spitfires powerplays and held one of the most dangerous units in the Ontario Hockey League to just a single goal.

The Knights were set up to test an age-old sports discussion revolving around rust and rest. London had not played a game since Jan. 23 because of three COVID-19 postponements, but showed about as much rust as a shiny new Corvette as they jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead that was started by an early power play goal from captain Luke Evangelista.

The Nashville Predators prospect took a pass at the top of the right circle from Gerard Keane, pulled a toe-drag move to his left and snapped a shot through traffic to make it 1-0.

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Liam Gilmartin stripped a puck from a Windsor stick later in the period and got it back inside the Spitfires’ end and eventually to the net, where Cody Morgan poked in a rebound for his 13th goal of the season to match his uniform number and make it 2-0 for London.

Colton Smith picked up his 13th goal with 2:01 remaining in the opening period as he pushed a puck across the Windsor goal line and the Knights went to the dressing room ahead by three.

London penalty-killers shone through the first half of the game as they killed off a pair of 5-on-3 Spitfire man advantages and two other minor penalties before defenceman Louka Henault sent a blast to the back of the Knight net for the only goal of the second period.

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Connor Federkow was rewarded for a gutsy performance as he scored to make it 4-1 with a wrist shot from the left point of the Windsor zone at 4:42 of the third period. Federkow wasn’t expected to play at all, but after an apparent injury in warmup caused Logan Mailloux to miss the game, Federkow was drawn into the lineup.

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With the Spitfires’ net empty and just over two minutes remaining, Liam Gilmartin fired a puck into the Windsor end that went high off the glass and Landon Sim raced to the ricochet and completed the scoring as London earned their fourth win over Windsor in five tries.

Brochu hits of 20

London goaltender Brett Brochu continues to carve out phenomenal numbers in the OHL as he became the first goalie to 20 victories on the in 2021-22.

The Tilbury, Ont., native won 32 games in 42 appearances as a rookie in an abbreviated 2019-20 Ontario Hockey League season to set a record for most victories by a 16- or 17-year old playing in their first season.

That number also tied him for the league lead with Cedrick Andree of the Ottawa 67s . Andree is now playing in the ECHL with the South Carolina Stingrays. Brochu is on pace to appear in more than 50 games in 2021-22. He currently sits third in save percentage. Overall, through a shortened rookie year and 28 appearances this year, he has amassed a 52-13-1 record.

QMJHL back in action

On Dec. 18, 2021, every single team in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League wrapped up a game. Patrick Roy’s Quebec Remparts won their sixth game in a row. The defending Memorial Cup champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies lost for the eighth straight time.

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Following that day a great big pause button was pushed. The QMJHL had planned to return in January but pushed that date into February and resumed their schedule on Friday night.

Read more: Big third period gives London Knights the victory in Guelph

Two Day Knights 50/50

The Knights will be holding their latest 50/50 draw Friday night against Windsor through to the the start of the third period on Saturday against Kitchener. Tickets can be purchased at www.knights5050.com and proceeds go to local charities and organizations through the London Knights Alumni Foundation.

Up next

The Knights will play a second weekend home game on Saturday, Feb. 5, at Budweiser Gardens as they host the Kitchener Rangers.

London has won all four meetings against Kitchener this season by a combined 22-7. The Knights have not lost to the Rangers since Dec. 28, 2019, although there was a cancelled season between that date and now.

Kitchener has gone 3-5-0-1 in 2022 and currently sits in seventh place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the Sarnia Sting.

Coverage will begin at 3:30 on 980 CFPL, www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

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London will head for Owen Sound on Sunday afternoon to complete three games in under 48 hours.

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