Spitfires finally down Knights

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

WINDSOR -- If the Chicago White Sox can snap an 88-year drought and win a World Series, then it makes perfect sense that the Windsor Spitfires would finally knock off the London Knights.

Truly, anything is possible.

London saw its three-year, 23-game domination over Windsor end and an eight-game winning streak go kaput in a shocking 6-4 loss to the last-place Spitfires before 2,848 last night at Windsor Arena.

The Knights fired 35 shots at Windsor's newly acquired goaltender Anthony Guadagnolo but never recovered from a slow start and an early three-goal deficit.

"They were due, I guess," Knights forward Trevor Kell said. "We kind of humiliated them (11-2) the last time we played them but they were a totally different team out there."

One win isn't going to undo the much-publicized disaster that marked the first month of the Spitfires' season but getting a win against the Knights has, at least, given the players something to smile about.

"I've been here three years and, except for some exhibition games, we've never beaten them," Spits forward Brett Liscomb said. "It weighs on you. No one wants to go through their whole OHL career without beating them, especially with the number of times we play them each year. That would be embarrassing.

"It felt like a playoff game. I don't want to make excuses but the organization has been through a lot this year and to get this win, it feels like it's a fresh start."

Windsor is operating without GM and head coach Moe Mantha, who was suspended 40 games and stripped of his GM duties for the rest of the season by OHL commissioner David Branch for a pre-season hazing mess and failure to control a fight-fest between veteran Steve Downie and first-round rookie Akim Aliu during a team practice.

Downie left the team after the incident and is being shopped to the highest bidder by Windsor. Aliu served the first of a two-game suspension last night for a slashing penalty on Sunday against Erie.

"Given what this team has been through, this was a hugely satisfying win," said Spits captain Paul McFarland, who scored twice, including an empty-netter with 15 seconds left. "We kept working, even with a lead, because with the firepower London has, we've seen them come back from three- or four-goal deficits before."

The Knights, however, haven't had to fight back much this year and found themselves in an unfamiliar position when Windsor's Ryan Garlock opened the scoring with 15 seconds left in the first period.

It was the first time London had trailed in seven games since falling behind in the first period of its Oct. 7 tilt against Barrie.

Goalie Adam Dennis, who suffered his first loss in nine starts, kept London in it early, making three noteworthy saves as desperate Windsor broke from the gate with eight straight shots on goal.

The Knights didn't test Guadagnolo until the 10-minute mark and didn't take advantage of the goalie's nerves and rust. The 19-year-old hadn't played since he left the Ottawa 67's last month and demanded a trade.

"We wanted to get on him early and we didn't do it," said Kell, who scored twice. "You don't want to give a goalie or a team like that confidence but they got the early lead and it made it tough to come back."

Rob Schremp, in particular, had a rough night and ended up breaking two sticks on the same power play.

"I tape up three every game but those sticks were old and I'm still waiting for a new shipment," he said. "We missed the net way too many times. We got behind and it was our own fault."

GAME GLANCE

Spitfires 6, Knights 4

Windsor goals: Paul McFarland (2), Ryan Garlock, Jonathan Sciacca, David Lomas, Scott Todd

London goals: Trevor Kell (2), Kris Belan, Robbie Drummond

Next: London faces the Plymouth Whalers tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre.


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