The London Knights erased a 2-0 lead in the third period and got an overtime winner from Brandon Crawley to beat the Windsor Spitfires 3-2 on Sunday evening.
Even though the game was London’s third in three nights, the team seemed to find more and more jump as time wore on.
Max Jones took a pass from Cliff Pu just inside the Windsor blue line, a little over six minutes into the third period and snapped a shot past Windsor goalie, Michael Di Pietro to cut the Spitfires’ lead to 2-1.
London survived a Windsor power play (the Spifires have the number one ranked PP in the OHL) and then spent a shift buzzing around their opponent’s net. With Victor Mete and Olli Juolevi sitting at the top of the face-off circles in the Windsor end, the Knights kept moving the puck to open ice, until Olli Juolevi got enough time to pick a spot past DiPetro at 14:49.
Jones nearly ended the game in regulation for the Knights, firing a shot off the crossbar in the final minute, but the stage set itself for overtime. Not long after a massive blocker save from London goalie, Tyler Parsons on a Windsor 2-on-1, Crawley stole a puck at his own blue line and rushed down the ice on a 2-on-1 with fellow defenceman, Evan Bouchard. Crawley kept the puck and put it off the post and in to the stick side of DiPietro for the game winner.
The Knights and Spitfires came into the game as the two hottest teams in the OHL. They were also two of the most fatigued teams in the OHL. Not only was London was playing their third in three, Windsor was in action for the third time in four and the teams came out grinding early.
Almost 13 minutes into the first period, the shot count read 4-1 for the Knights.
It took a big bounce from a big guy to open the scoring as 6’8 Winnipeg Jets’ prospect, Logan Stanley sent a puck to the London net that hit a leg and flew right at Parsons. The Flames’ pick made the save, but Julius Nattinen was there to put home the rebound for a 1-0 lead.
Sometimes adjustments in between periods will change the flow and pace of a game. Nothing changed from the first to the second as the teams continued to take away time and space and limit chances. Both goaltenders were called on to make big stops and did. Parsons stoned both Nattinen and Gabe Vilardi on breakaways, both times stretching his right leg back against the post.
Nattinen scored his second of the game on a 4-on-3 power play and a one-timer blast to the top corner, creating what seemed like a solid 2-0 lead.
Parsons pointed to past experience as a big help.
“JUst like last year, we made some mircales happen. We just went out and gave it all. We knew we had (Monday) off, so we could make those legs hurt and we got an amazing overtime goal from Crawley and got the win.”
Cliff Pu recorded his 15th multi-point game of the year and extended his point streak to 18 games. Jones and Janne Kuokkanen kept their streaks alive, as both sit at 13 games. Jones has at least a point in every game his has played this year.
London now has six wins in a row, taking over first place in the overall OHL standings by a point over the Erie Otters.
The Knights hit the road on Wednesday for their first trip to Owen Sound since the first round of last year’s playoffs. AM 980’s coverage will begin at 6:30 on Wednesday night. London is home to Barrie on Friday at 7:30. For tickets, call 519-681-0800 x 1, visit the Knights’ Armouries or go online to www.londonknights.com