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London Knights advance to Western Conference final after shutout win over Kitchener Rangers

Denver Barkey scored twice and Brett Brochu earned his second consecutive shutout as the London Knights advanced to the OHL’s Western Conference final with a 4-0 victory over the Kitchener Rangers at Budweiser Gardens on Thursday night.

For just the second time ever in their histories, the Knights will meet the Sarnia Sting in the post-season and it will be for the right to play for an Ontario Hockey League

The teams have only played in the playoffs one other time and it happened back in 1999.

The Knights won their series in five games over the Rangers. Sarnia swept next year’s Memorial Cup hosts, the Saginaw Spirit in four games.

Jim Van Horne / 980 CFPL

After a first period in which it took almost six minutes for either team to record a shot on goal and where the shots at the end of the period were just 4-3 London, the Knights found a way to break things open at the 4:19 mark of the second.

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Max McCue ripped a high shot over the glove of Kitchener goaltender Marco Costantini for his third goal of the post-season and London had the first goal for the fourth time in the series.

Barkey finished a gorgeous three-way passing play to make it 2-0 and then put on a show short-handed with some wizardry on a deke.

Barkey now has seven goals and 13 points in nine playoff games.

London kept the Rangers a long way from their net throughout the third period and then Logan Mailloux capped off the series with an empty-netter from his own zone.

Ryan Winterton ended with two assists on the night.

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Brochu stretched his shutout streak to 120 minutes with his second consecutive shutout and his fourth in nine post-season games. Brochu made 16 saves in Game 5.

London outshot the Rangers 26-16.

Record breaking Brett Brochu

Brett Brochu earned his fourth shutout of the 2023 OHL playoffs in Game 5 of the London Knights – Kitchener Rangers series. Those 16 saves by the the Belle River, Ont., added to another Knights record.

Brochu holds the mark for most playoff shutouts in franchise history. Brochu passed Jordan Kooy, Adam Dennis and Pat Riggin who each recorded two. The overage goaltender entered Game 5 tied with Max Donoso for the best goals against average in the 2023 post-season and fourth in save percentage.

Corey Perry closing in on 200

Former London Knight Corey Perry is closing in on 200 career playoff games. To hit it, Perry would have to crush the dreams of the Toronto Maple Leafs and their fans because after Game 2 against Toronto Perry was sitting at 192 games played in the NHL post-season. To get nine more the Lightning would at least have to reach the second round and that would mean Toronto would not get there.

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Perry is one game behind London, Ont., native Craig McTavish for a spot in the top-25 all time. Chris Chelios is the NHL career leader at 266 playoff games played.

Up next

The 2023 OHL Priority Selection will take place on Friday, Apr. 21 beginning at 7 p.m.

You can hear coverage that will follow the London Knights and area players beginning at 6:30 p.m. with Mike Stubbs, Jim Van Horne and Kyle Grimard at www.980cfpl.ca.

 

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