London Pulls Away in Third Period, Beats Plymouth in Game Four, 6-4
Photo - Plymouth's Garrett Meurs (lower left, blue jersey, 16) scores in the second period on the Whalers' 6-4 loss to London on Wednesday at Compuware Arena. Photo by Rena Laverty.
PLYMOUTH – Alex Broadhurst’s second goal of the game at 5:20 of the third period snapped a 4-4 tie and the London Knights went on to defeat the Plymouth Whalers, 6-4, in an Ontario Hockey League Rogers Western Conference Championship Game played Wednesday before 3,132 at Compuware Arena.
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London leads the best four-of-seven series, three-games-to-one, with Game Five set for London on Friday at 7 pm (6:45 pm, 88.1FM WSDP).
But make no mistake, this series could be just as easily be tied at two-games-each, or Plymouth could have a three-games-to-one lead.
"I thought we played really well," said Plymouth head coach Mike Vellucci. "We outchanced them and had 46 shots. Their goalie (Anthony Stolarz) played really well. He's made some big saves. Even last night - when we went ahead, 4-3, he made a great save on (Tom) Wilson. So you have to give him credit - he's played really well."
Besides Broadhurst’s pair (6-7), third star Seth Griffith scored twice (4-5) and Bo Horvat (8) and Ryan Rupert (6) scored one each for the Knights. Goaltender Anthony Stolarz stopped 42-of-46 Plymouth shots in the victory for London.
Plymouth received single goals from Sebastian Uvira (3), Vince Trocheck (10), Garrett Meurs (6) and Tom Wilson (9) and three assists from defenseman Connor Carrick.
Tied 2-2 after one period, London took a 4-2 lead in the second period on goals by Horvat at 5:41 (defelction) and Rupert (puck caromed off a Plymouth defenseman) at 9:38. At that point, Whalers starting goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic was lifted in favor of Matt Mahalak.
And Plymouth mounted a comeback after the goaltending change, re-tying the game at 4-4 on goals by Meurs at 11:39 (shot from the left circle) and Wilson at 17:16 (deflection of Carrick's shot from the right point).
That set the stage for Broadhurst’s game-winner., breaking Mahalak's personal shutout streak of 170:37 - the second best streak in Whalers franchise history, behind Rob Zepp's best of 182:13, set in 1999-00.
Plymouth outshot London, 46-28.
The road team has won three of the four games in the series so far. Plymouth isn't quitting going into London for Game Five.
"I looked into our players' eyes before they game and they still believe," Vellucci said. "And the thing I told them before the game is, I looked around and I saw that these guys want to play (and) they want to win. They want to be here. They don't want to be in the American Hockey League or the NHL, they want to be here. They want to win a championship. That speaks volumes for this team.
"You saw tonight, we never gave up. It's heart-and-soul every game and the players deserve a lot credit. They compete every night."