Brochu’s play helps Knights continue dominance over Spitfires this season

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The London Knights continue to be a puzzle the Windsor Spitfires have struggled to solve this season.


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For the fourth time in five meetings this season, the Spitfires came up on the wrong end of the scoreboard on Friday with the Knights jumping to an early three-goal lead on the way to a 5-1 victory at Budweiser Gardens.

“I wouldn’t say they’ve dominated by any means,” Spitfires’ head coach Marc Savard said. “I think we match up well.”

For the most part, the Spitfires have risen to the occasion against the best clubs in the Western Conference.

Windsor is 4-1 against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, who have the best record in the Western Conference. The club is 4-0 against the Flint Firebirds, who sit second behind the Greyhounds in the West Division and just ahead of Windsor.

The Guelph Storm, who sit second in the Midwest Division behind London, have dropped all three games to the Spitfires this season, but the club has beaten London four times in five meetings this season.


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“It’s proving it to the whole league and proving it to ourselves that we can beat them,” Spitfires center Wyatt Johnston said ahead of Friday’s game with the Knights.

While the Spitfires won the majority of the puck battles at home on Thursday in a 5-2 win over the Storm, it was London emerging victorious in those battles in the opening 20 minutes on Friday and jumping to a 3-0 lead.

Knights’ captain Luke Evangelista converted on a London power play less than five minutes into the game to open the scoring. Former Spitfire Cody Morgan pushed the lead to 2-0 and rookie Colton Smith, who is the son of former Spitfire coach and captain DJ Smith, made it 3-0 London with a goal late in the period.

The Spitfires had scoring chances in the game, but another factor that has tipped this regular-season play in London’s favor is the play of goalie Brett Brochu.


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The Tilbury native earned his 20th win of the season on Friday with a 41-save performance as the Knights were outshot 42-34 overall and 30-20 over the final two periods.

Brochu is now a perfect 4-0 on the season against the Spitfires, whose only win came this season with Brochu away with Canada’s world junior team.

“He’s one guy we’ve had a little bit of a trouble,” Savard of Brochu, who was a sixth-round pick by the Knights in the 2018 OHL Draft. “He’s definitely been a big reason they’ve been able to beat us.”

After Evangelista’s early power-play gaol, the Spitfires fired the game’s next seven shots, but could not beat Brochu despite a two-man power play for nearly a minute.

In fact, the Knights gave the Spitfires seven-straight, power-play chances in the first and second period, but Brochu foiled several key attempts.


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It wasn’t until the waning seconds of Windsor’s seventh power play that defenseman Louka Henault was able to blast a shot past Brochu, on the Spitfires’ 27th shot attempt of the game, to cut the London lead to 3-1 after 40 minutes.

The Spitfires would get no closer as defenseman Connor Federkow scored less than five minutes into the third period to restore London’s three-goal lead and Landon Sim sealed it with an empty-net goal.

Brochu earned the game’s first star with the 41-save performance and now boasts a 1.71 goals-against average with a .953 save percentage against the Spitfires this season.

The Spitfire return home on Sunday to face the Sarnia Sting at the WFCU Centre, which have just 500 fans on hand. Game time is 7pm


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Game Summary

Friday Result

Knights 5 Spitfires 1

Windsor 0 1 0 – 1

London 3 0 2 – 5

Firstperiod: 1. London, Evangelista 27 (Keane, Gilmartin) 4:11, 2. London, Morgan 13 (Edward, Baber) 12:55, 3. London, Smith 13 (Sim, McSorley) 17:59. Penalties: Abraham W (cross checking) 2:27, Montgomery L (delay of game) 6:14, George L (holding) 7:16.

Secondperiod: 4. Windsor, Henault 6 (Johnston, Cuylle) 13:17 (pp). Penalties: Baber L (slashing) :50, Keane L (high sticking) 6:35, Evangelista L (double minor high sticking) 10:39, Baber L (cross checking) 10:53, Peer W (cross checking) 14:19, Abraham W (hooking) 19:00.

Third period: 5. London, Federkow 2 (Steklov, McGurn) 4:42, 6. London, Sim 6 (Gilmartin) 17:41 (en). Penalties: Edwards L (holding) 7:46, Johnston W (slashing) 8:49, George L (roughing) 12:52, Ride W (slashing) 18:27,

Game stats – SOG – Windsor 12 16 14 – 42 London 14 7 13 – 34 Goal (shots-saves) – Windsor: Medina (L,12-6-0-2) (33-29). London: Brochu (W,20-7-1-0) (42-41). Power play (goals-chances) – Windsor 1-9. London 1-5. Referees: Chris Chapman (30) and Joe Monette (25). Linesmen: Kyle Rodgers (59) and Justin Tang (94). Att.: 498 at Budweiser Gardens.


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