Terrible attempts at humour aside, the team completed a weekend sweep of three games in three days, to improve their Ontario Hockey League record to 16-3-2-1 (wins, losses, overtime losses, shootout losses) which is good for first in the league.
Their final win of the weekend came in Sunday action against the Windsor Spitfires, who defeated rivals 3-2 in overtime.
The strength on the Spits is their defence, and it showed all game. Windsor (14-4-3) held the Knights to just 7 shots in the opening frame. They only had 4 in the first ten minutes. That’s a change of pace for the high flying Knights, who are tied with the Erie Otters for most goals for in the OHL with 104.
A quiet first period saw tight checking and defensive stops for both sides, but the stalemate was finally broken as Julius Nattinen got his third on the year and opened the scoring 14:45 into the first from Logan Stanley and Luka Boka. Nattinen was drafted in the second round of the 2015 NHL draft by the Anaheim Ducks.
That closed out the opening frame and the Knights headed into the locker room down 1-0.
The second period saw hits hacks and headbutts as the teams reignited their rivalry.
It all started after Knights goaltender Tyler Parsons shut the door on the Spitfires and a scuffle ensued in front of the net. Jalen Chatfield was assessed a five minute major and a game misconduct after headbutting newest Knight Adrian Carbonara during the scrum. A couple of penalties prior to that including a checking from behind minor from Spits Jeremiah Addison, which added gasoline to the fire and the explosion came courtesy of Chatfield.
The Knights couldn’t capitalize on what became a 3 minute powerplay as Carbonara sat two for roughing, and just over a minute later there was rough stuff behind the play in the Windsor zone as Alex Formenton was getting shoved into the boards with a couple extra of liberties. However it was a slash by Formenton at the tail end of the exchange that warranted a Spitfires powerplay.
Just 17 seconds into the man advantage Nattinen netted his second of the night to put Windsor up 2-0. They would hold that lead headed into the third, as Spits goalie Michael DiPietro held strong and kept the Knights potent offence at bay.
A much more disciplined third period saw one team trying to climb back into the game, and one trying to hold it.
The Knights would get one back 4:21 into the 3rd as Max Jones potted his 11th, courtesy of Cliff Pu and Janne Kuokkanen. The assist from Pu extended his point streak to 18 games, and cut the deficit in half.
Then with just over five minutes remaining Formenton and Pu found Olli Juolevi to tie the game, and sent the boisterous crowd into a roar. The goal came after a full minute inside the Windsor zone, and the crowd could feel it coming from the constant pressure until finally Formenton evened things up.
That was it for regulation, it was time for some free hockey.
Overtime saw 3 on 3 best on best. The Spitfires sent out their best defenseman at once opting to go with one forward, as Sean Day and freshly sent down Mikhail Sergachev hopped over the boards for the opening draw in the extra frame.
But just 1:53 into overtime, Brandon Crawley sealed the deal on a beautiful snipe that sent the ringing of the cross bar echoing throughout Budweiser Gardens. The Knights complete the comeback, the weekend sweep, and have now won six straight after two perfect weeks.
After the game, Adrian Carbonara talked about what it was like to come to team like London from the Barrie Colts, going from the bottom to the top and coming in and sweeping his first weekend wearing the green and gold.
“It feels great…. I have nothing bad to say about Barrie they’re a great bunch of guys….but it’s a different atmosphere.. it’s a winning mentality here.”
Carbonara won’t have to wait long to face his former team, as the Knights are set to host Barrie on Friday.
“It’s going to be fun. I obviously have a lot of friends on that team..I’m excited to see them.”
But before Friday the Knights are up against a gutsy Owen Sound Attack (12-11-1) team on Wednesday.
Next up for the Windsor Spitfires is a trip to Peterborough to face the Petes on Thursday.