The London Knights have a powerhouse team in the Ontario Hockey League once again this season, and proved to be far too much for the Windsor Spitfires to handle in the OHL’s opening round of the postseason.
Michael McCarron, the Montreal Canadiens first round pick last June, plays for the Knights, and he went head to head with Habs fourth round pick from the 2012 draft, Brady Vail who was a key member of the Spitfires this season.
McCarron, known more for his size, since he is 6’6” and 238 pounds than his scoring, would score the first goal of the series. The Knights took off from there in game one and blasted the Spitfires with a 6-1 victory. Vail set up Ben Johnson for the lone Windsor goal.
Both Canadiens prospects would find the scoresheet once again in game two. Vail would score his first goal of the series, but a late rally by the Spitfires fell short of closing a 5-0 deficit. The Knights would add an insurance marker to make the final 6-3. McCarron chipped in his first assists of the series, and it was a spectacular pass that led to the fifth goal.
Game three would turn out to be a weird one for both goaltenders, but ultimately the Knights dominated from start to finish. McCarron for the second time in the series would score the first goal of the game, and London piled it on from there, crushing Windsor with a 10-2 victory.
Dalen Kuchmey would start the game in Windsor’s goal, with regular starter Alex Fotinos sitting due to the flu. After allowing eight goals, Kuchmey had had enough and stormed out of crease, took his gear off and left the building.
Anthony Stolarz, the Knights starting netminder, would not leave the game early, but it would also the last game he dresses for, possibly until the Knights host the Memorial Cup in late May. Stolarz was handed a two minute minor for high sticking Windsor sniper Josh Ho-Sang, but OHL Commisioner David Branch saw the stick swinging into the back of Ho-Sang’s head as a much more egregious foul and suspended Stolarz for eight games.
Neither Canadiens prospect would find the scoresheet in game four, the most closely contested between the two teams. London sniper Bo Horvat would put the Knights ahead 4-2 with just seven minutes remaining, and the Spitfires could not close the gap.
The Knights are an extremely deep, powerhouse team in the OHL, and handled the Spitfires with easy, but will now move on to take on the Guelph Storm in the second round. The Storm are the top ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League, and finished first in the OHL standings with 108 points.
McCarron was able to score some timely goals in the opening round against Windsor, and his size and toughness could cause some problems for the Storm in this series. It will take a big series from the big forward to put London over the top in this Midwest Division matchup.