Spits leave Knights hanging

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

They called in goalie Daryl Borden for a surprise start.

They shocked Windsor with a wild three-goal, third-period rally.

But the London Knights are staring at elimination because of a guy with a banged-up knee the Spitfires weren't positive would be able to play until at least Game 5 tomorrow.

Los Angeles Kings fifth-rounder Andrei Loktionov went from limping to the hospital Sunday night after a Dominic DeSando open-ice hit to overtime hero No. 4 in this crazy OHL Western Conference final. The Russian beat Borden 59 seconds into the extra session to put the Spitfires up 3-1 in the series with a 5-4 win before 9,090 at the John Labatt Centre.

That goal is tough for London to swallow. In a recurring script of amazing rallies, the Knights crawled out from the deepest pit thanks to the late scoring exploits of defencemen John Carlson and Michael Del Zotto.

"Obviously, it's a hard loss," said Carlson, who scored twice in the third, including forcing overtime with 4:05 left. "But you have to look at it as just a game. When you go down 3-1, are you done?

"I don't think so."

No one counts anyone out anymore in these games, least of all Loktionov.

"It was a little better at breakfast so I say I can play," he said. "I did not see it (the shot go in). I'm just shooting."

Windsor head coach Bob Boughner saw his shifty forward on crutches after Game 3, argued the league ought to have suspended DeSando, then admitted it was "a little ironic" he came back to score the winner.

London GM Mark Hunter said: "Someone over there (on Windsor) must have magic hands (to fix up Loktionov). I talked to the league and they said it was a clean hit."

Borden said Loktionov just turned around and fired the shot, it deflected off a shin pad and went through his legs.

"I wanted a little more from myself there," the 19-year-old from Brantford said. "It's too bad. This series could be over already. The way things have gone, four straight in overtime, we could've won it (in a four-game sweep)."

Borden got the phone call from London goalie coach Dave Rook shortly after Game 3. The Knights spent much of the night debating what to do about their crease and wanted the big, right-handed catching puckstopper to give them something Trevor Cann hadn't in the series.

Instead, it ended up in yet another overtime loss.

Borden only played three regular-season games with London this year. None of those were at home and the most recent was March 6 when he beat Kitchener at the Aud.

He has been playing junior B for his hometown Brantford Golden Eagles, who start the Sutherland Cup championship series Thursday against London's defensive consultant Ric Nattress's Stoney Creek Warriors.

Borden was part of the big trade with Oshawa in January.

"I have no idea what's going to happen (tomorrow)," said Borden, who is signed to an affiliate card and can play six more games in London as long as they don't conflict with Brantford's schedule. "We start in Dundas against Stoney Creek on Thursday and it's kind of hard because both teams play back-to-back."

Cann, a Colorado Avalanche prospect, surrendered 14 goals in the first three games of the series. Borden gave up the game's first goal to old Oshawa teammate Dale Mitchell before the game was five minutes old.

"Dale always seems to score on me," Borden said with a wry grin.

Spits 5, Knights 4 (OT)

(Windsor leads best-of-seven series 3-1)

Windsor goals: Dale Mitchell, Lane MacDermid, Greg Nemisz, Eric Wellwood and Andrei Loktionov with the winner 59 seconds into overtime.

London goals: Justin Taylor, John Carlson (2), Michael Del Zotto

Next: Game 5 is tomorrow in Windsor at 7:30 p.m.


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