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Rivalry has lost nothing as Spitfires score spirited win over Knights


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You can take it from goalie Matt Onuska that the rivalry has lost nothing.

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The 19-year-old Onuska has seen the rivalry from both sides after spending parts of two seasons with the London Knights before a trade just prior to the deadline sent him down Highway 401 to join the Spitfires in Windsor.

On Sunday, Onuska’s 39-save performance helped the Spitfires to a 6-4 victory over the Midwest Division-leading Knights before a crowd of 3,917 at the WFCU Centre.

“Both teams, on each side, know the other,” said Onuska, who was also in goal for Windsor for Friday’s 5-4 overtime loss in London. “Both here (in Windsor on Sunday) and Friday in London, both games were very intense and physical and there was lots of emotion in each game. It feels like a playoff game and it’s fun to play in that environment.”

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It was a key win for the Spitfires, who played three games in less than 48 hours. Coupled with a 7-3 win at home over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Saturday, the Spitfires moved into sole possession of second place in the West Division.

“That was intense,” Spitfires’ head coach Marc Savard said of Sunday’s win.” That was a lot of fun. It just shows you the team we’ve got.

“We want to move up in the standings. We want to get home ice. We’d love to get it throughout the playoffs. That’s another step in the right direction.”

The Spitfires showed they could take it and give it on Sunday in the eighth and final regular-season meeting with the Knights.

London defenceman Bryce Montgomery was whistled for boarding Spitfire rookie forward Christopher O’Flaherty in front of the Windsor bench. After referees Chris Ferreira and Riley Page reviewed the play on video, Montgomery was handed a boarding major and game misconduct.

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It was the first of two major penalties handed out to the Knights. Overage forward Camaryn Baber was handed a head check penalty on a hit to Spitfire forward Matthew Maggio, again in front of the Windsor bench. It was also reviewed by video and resulted in a major penalty and game misconduct in the second period. Both hits will be reviewed by league officials.

The Knights also lost defenceman and Belle River native Logan Mailloux, who did not return to the bench after a fight with Windsor’s Pasquale Zito late in the second period.

“I love beating London,” said Spitfires’ overage forward Daniel D’Amico, whose team went 3-3-1-1 in the eight games. “There’s some guys on their team and our team that have a history and that’s what makes it interesting when guys want to battle.”

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London opened the scoring on a Denver Barkey power-play goal, but it would be the Knights’ only lead of the game.

D’Amico, Nicholas DeAngelis and former Knight Andrew Perrott, on a Windsor power play, putting the Spitfires up 3-1 after 20 minutes.

“London was going to make a push and I was just trying to do my job to stop any puck thrown at me,” said Onuska, who improved to 7-2-1-1 with the Spitfires. “Whatever it takes to win.”

A nice individual play by captain Luke Evangelista pulled the Knights to within a goal after 40 minutes and Antonio Stranges scored London’s second power-play goal to tie the game at 3-3 less than nine minutes into the third period.

That lead lasted just 54 seconds with Zito putting Windsor on top for good and Maggio extending the lead to 5-3.

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With the goalie pulled, Cody Morgan made it a one-goal game with just over two minutes left in regulation, but D’Amico added an empty-net goal to complete the scoring for the Spitfires, who moved 15 games over .500 for the first time this season.

jpparker@postmedia.com

twitter.com/winstarparker

Game Summary

Sunday Result

Spitfires 6 Knights 4

London 1 1 2 – 4

Windsor 3 0 3 – 6

First period: 1. London, Barkey 5 (McGurn, Stranges) 9:00 (pp), 2. Windsor, D’Amico 14 (Maggio, Abraham) 12:36, 3. Windsor, DeAngelis 3 (Abraham, D’Amico) 16:49, 4. Windsor, Perrott 5 (Johnston, Maggio) 18:53 (pp). Penalties: Montgomery L (boarding major, game misconduct) 3:37, Henault W (hooking) 7:36, Gilmartin L (double minor cross checking), Sim L (misconduct), Henault W (cross checking), O’Flaherty W (misconduct) 17:33, Baber L (hooking) 17:59.

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Second period: 5. London, Evangelista 43 (Keane, Morgan) 1:17. Penalties: Evangelista L (unsportsmanlike conduct) 1:17, Maggio W (cross checking), Abraham W (misconduct)  7:14, Baber L (head check major, game misconduct) 10:29, Mailloux L (fighting), Zito W (fighting) 17:32.

Third period: 6. London, Stranges 20 (unassisted 8:39 (pp), 7. Windsor, Zito 20 (Johnston, Cuylle) 9:33, 8. Windsor, Maggio 25 (unassisted) 15:32, 9. London, Morgan 19 (McGurn) 17:53, 10. Windsor, D’Amico 15 (Abraham) 18:21 (en). Penalty: D’Amico W (high sticking) 7:50.

Game stats – SOG – London 11 13 19 – 43 Windsor 10 10 10 – 30 Goal (shots-saves) – London: Brochu (L,29-11-2-0) (29-24). Windsor: Onuska (W,7-4-1-1) (43-39). Power play (goals-chances) – London 2-3. Windsor 1-5. Referees: Chris Ferreira (14) and Riley Page (12). Linesmen: Adam Harris (49) and Kurtis Pare (70). Att.: 3,917 at the WFCU Centre.

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