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Spitfires down Knights in Sunday afternoon rematch

Daniel D’Amico scored twice and added an assist as the Windsor Spitfires defeated the London Knights 6-4 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ont., on Sunday.

The teams played for the second time in three days. London won 5-4 in overtime on Mar. 4 at Budweiser Gardens.

The game could easily have been played in the middle of a flea market. It had more than a few squabbles and lots of stuff you can’t find anywhere else.

There were bursts of goals, big saves, a hit crossbar and two hits posts. Every iron strike came from a Knights’ stick.

Then there was the ever-shrinking London bench.

Bryce Montgomery and Camaryn Baber of the Knights were assessed two separate five-minute major penalties and game misconducts in the first period and second period respectively.

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That produced ample time for a deadly Windsor power play unit, which ranked second in the OHL coming into the game, but London penalty killers kept the Spitfires sharp-shooters off the board both times.

Logan Mailloux of London was involved in a fight with Pasquale Zito of Windsor late in the second period. He left the game and did not return.

That left London down three players for the third period and despite tying the game once and closing a two goal gap another time, the Spitfires were able to hang on.

The Knights scored the first goal of the game in the first period on a power play as Denver Barkey played marksman in the slot and fired a shot past Matt Onuska and into the Windsor net.

The Spitfires then scored three straight, courtesy of defencemen Nicholas DeAngelis and Andrew Perrott and overage forward Daniel D’Amico. Perrott’s goal came on a 5-on-3 man advantage late.

London captain Luke Evangelista drove through the slot off a faceoff early in the second period. He got the Knights to within a goal as he out-waited Onuska and lifted the puck over the goal line for his league-leading 43rd goal of the season.

That was the only goal of the middle period and it sent the game to the final 20 minutes with Windsor leading 3-2.

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Tonio Stranges took advantage of a dropped goalie stick to knot things up at 8:39 of the third period, during a London power play. The Spitfires got the puck outside their blue line and Onuska went to pick his stick up but didn’t quite have a grip on it when Stranges came zooming back across the blue line. Stranges took a shot that Onuska stopped but the Spitfires goalie lost the handle on his stick again and Stranges pounced and backhanded the rebound past him to make it 3-3.

Zito scored 54 seconds later to put Windsor back in front as he found a puck that pinballed into the slot and buried it. Then Matt Maggio sent a shot at the London net from the right side of the ice that deflected past Brett Brochu to stretch the Spitfires lead to 5-3.

Cody Morgan scored on a backhand to get the Knights to within a goal again with just over two minutes remaining but D’Amico’s second of the game sealed the win for Windsor.

London outshot the Spitfires 43-30.

The Knights ended up winning five of the eight meetings the teams played in 2021-22.

They have managed to meet eight times in the playoffs since 2000. London ha won seven of those series.

Read more: Gerard Keane wins a wild one for the London Knights in overtime against Spitfires

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Rick Nash in the rafters again

On Friday, Jan. 20, 2012 the London Knights retired Rick Nash’s number 61 in a ceremony at Budweiser Gardens. Almost a decade later to the day the Columbus Blue Jackets honoured Nash in the exact same way, making 61 the first retired number in the franchise’s history. It took place in a ceremony on Mar. 5, 2022 at Nationwide Arena.

Nash is now the Director of Player Development for Columbus but he will always be known for highlight reel goals for the Knights, the Jackets and even Team Canada. Nash played 1060 games in the NHL, scored 437 goals and totalled 805 points.

Read more: London Knights: Back in time — The speech that turned the 2016 final around

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Juolevi joins Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings have claimed former Knight Olli Juolevi off waivers from the Florida Panthers. Juolevi won a Memorial Cup with London in 2016 and was the 5th overall selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Vancouver Canucks. After having a tough time cracking the Vancouver roster Juolevi was traded to the Panthers in October of 2021 for former Kingston Frontenac Juho Lammikko and defenceman Noah Juulsen.

Juolevi has battled injuries throughout his career and has been limited to 36 games. The move gives the Red Wings nine defenceman and could allow them to be active in moving one or more of them at the NHL trade deadline which arrives on Monday, Mar. 21.

Read more: London Knights return home from the road and beat Guelph 4-3

Up next

Mid-week games in the OHL are fairly rare. Unless you are Peterborough or Windsor and elect to have home dates on a Thursday, your schedule tens to pile up on the weekend and you get all kinds of time to practice throughout the week.

The Knights will play two mid-week games coming up as they venture to Kitchener on Tuesday, Mar. 8 and then head down the 402 to Sarnia on Wednesday, Mar. 9 to meet the Sting.

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In both cases London will be looking to get back on track against two of their biggest rivals.

After not losing to the Rangers for more than two calendar years (there was a pandemic stoppage in that time) Kitchener managed two victories over the Knights in February including a 5-4 overtime win in their last meeting on Family Day.

London won the first two meetings with Sarnia this year but the Sting have reeled off four straight victories since.

Coverage of both games will get going at 6:30 pm on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

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