Jonathan Gruden scored the game’s only goal and Brett Brochu made 29 saves for his second career shutout as the London Knights blanked the Wolves 1-0 in Sudbury on Friday night.
With the game still scoreless more than halfway through the third period, Gruden, Luke Evangelista and Josh Nelson of the Knights stormed into the Sudbury zone on a 3-on-2. Evangelista made a move on the right side as Nelson and Gruden went to the net. Evangelista whipped a pass to Nelson beside the left post and he slid the puck across the crease to Gruden for a tap-in and his second goal in as many games.
The rest of the work was done defensively and by the 17-year old in the London net.
Brochu made a third of his saves in the first 10 minutes of the game but as busy as he was, the Tilbury, Ont., native believes it worked into his favour.
“That was a good way to start the games,” said Brochu. “It gets you into it right away especially if you are tracking the puck well.”
Brochu made his best save with the Wolves net empty and Sudbury pressing. Captain and overage forward MacAuley Carson carried the puck across the London blue line with speed, cut around an outstretched stick and fed it to Ilderton’s Shane Bulitka and he fired point blank and Brochu stopped him.
“I knew he was going to be passing it out front,” Brochu explained after the game. “I also knew the shooter was left-handed so a played the odds and tried to make myself as big as possible and the puck hit my glove.”
Brochu’s first OHL shutout came in just his third start in a game against the Ottawa 67s.
After a loss in North Bay on Thursday, the Knights wanted to be better on the penalty kill and in their own zone and they were.
London killed off three Sudbury power plays in the first period alone. One was a two-man advantage and they went a perfect six-for-six overall.
Brochu made more than half of his saves
London had five opportunities on the man advantage through the first 40 minutes, including a pair of five-on-three chances but Wolves goalie Christian Purboo kept the puck out. He was named the game’s first star. Brochu was named the second star.
The victory ended a four-game losing streak for the Knights and kept them from joining the long list of ten OHL teams who have lost five straight this season.
Twelve of the twenty teams in the Ontario Hockey League have won at least five games in a row. London is in that group.
Their next game will be at Budweiser Gardens on Dec. 28 against the Kitchener Rangers who have saw their 10-game winning streak end on Friday night when Sault Ste. Marie scored five times in the third period and defeated the Rangers 6-3.