London Knights take series lead with big game from Brett Brochu

The London Knights held on to defeat the Kitchener Rangers 4-3 in Game 3 of their Western Conference quarter-final series on Sunday afternoon in Kitchener, Ont.

Brett Brochu faced his biggest barrage of shots since returning to the Knights crease to begin the playoffs. The Tilbury. Ont. native made 38 saves to help London to their second consecutive victory and a 2-1 series lead.

The Knights jumped out quickly got three goals and a 3-1 advantage on the scoreboard before the game was eight minutes old.

Tonio Stranges assisted on all three of the London goals.

“We got fortunate with a couple of quick power plays,” said Stranges. “Luke (Evangelista) got a couple of good shots away and we got some good bounces to start us off.”

Evangelista scored one and took the shot that led to another after being held off the scoresheet through the first two games at Budweiser Gardens.

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“In Game One, I kind of cost us when I couldn’t convert,” admitted the Knights captain. “It was nice to get a couple under my belt.”

Kitchener, Ont. – Tye McSorley watches a Luke Evangelista shot go into the Kitchener net in the first period of Game 3. Jim Van Horne / 980 CFPL

Tye McSorley deflected home Evangelista’s shot from the left side to open the scoring and then got the eventual game winner. Easton Cowan snagged a puck in the Kitchener end, made a behind-the-back pass to McSorley in front and wasted no time firing it past Jackson Parsons into the Ranger net. Parsons replaced Kitchener starter Pavel Cajan after London scored three goals on their first six shots.

Two came on power plays and the other was scored by Kirill Steklov after he pulled a puck free in tight to the Ranger goal. That gave the Knights a 4-2 lead but Mike Petizian’s second of the day brought the Rangers to within one for the second time.

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Joseph Serpa scored the other goal for Kitchener.

Cody Morgan added two assists for the Knights and now has four points in the first three games of the playoffs.

Stranges leads all scorers in the post-season with seven points in three games.

The Rangers outshot London 20-9 in the opening period but the Knights limited Kitchener to 10 and 11 shots per period after that.

Kitchener ended up outshooting the Knights for the first time in seven games between the teams, dating back to the regular season.

The Rangers got the puck close to the goal line on a rebound chance in the final few minutes that caused the red light to flash and the goal horn to start, but both were the result of quick trigger fingers. London’s Camaryn Baber swept the puck away from harm and the officials did not even review the play.

London played the game without Isaiah George and Denver Barkey, who were both out with non-COVID related illnesses.

Logan Mailloux and Abakar Kazbekov remained out with upper-body injuries.

The clubs meet on Tuesday, Apr. 26 in Game 4 back at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.

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Read more: London Knights bounce back to even series with Kitchener Rangers

Schremp still on top

Rob Schremp holds the all-time London Knights record for most points in a single playoff year. Schremp scored 10 goals and added 37 assists for 47 points in just 19 games in 2005-06 as he helped London reach the OHL Championship series.

Schremp’s point total was the fourth all-time behind Justin Papineau of the Belleville Bulls and Jason Dawe of the Peterborough Petes who each had 51 in the 1990s and Connor McDavid who had 49 points for the Erie Otters in 2014-15. Schremp’s 2.47 points per game puts him at number one overall in that category.

Read more: Ontario Hockey League Western Conference first round playoff preview

Regula wrists in his first

Defenceman Alec Regula scored 27 goals for the Knights in the 2019-20 season to lead all OHL defencemen in that category. Regula still had six games to go before the season was halted by the start of the pandemic.

The Michigan native made his National Hockey League debut last year when he played in three games for the Chicago Blackhawks. On Apr. 18, Regula took a wrist shot from the left point that beat Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom just past the halfway mark of the second period for his first NHL goal and first NHL point.

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Read more: London Knights have officially clinched a playoff spot for the 21st straight year

Up next

Game 4 will take place at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday, Apr. 26 at 7 pm. After that the series takes a five-day hiatus until Sunday, May 1 when the teams will meet back in London, Ont., for Game 5. The break is partly due to building availability and partly due to the fact that the OHL Priority Selection will take place from Apr. 29-30.

Coverage of Game 4 will begin at 6:30 on 980 CFPL, at and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

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