WINDSOR, Ont. - Jaroslav Pavelka made 29 saves as the Windsor Spitfires clinched a playoff spot with a 2-0 win over the London Knights in Ontario Hockey League action Thursday.
Stephen Alonge opened the scoring in the game in the first period when off a Jordan Maletta rebound for his fifth goal of the season. The goal ended up being the first career game-winner for the rookie forward from Lynbrook, N.Y.
Ben Johnson scored a short-handed goal into an empty net to round out the scoring as the Spitfires clinched at least eighth place in the Western Conference.
Michael Houser made 27 saves for the Knights, who were shut out for the second straight game this week.
Despite the wide disparity between the two teams in the standings, the game was a high stakes affair between the two long-time rivals.
The Spitfires (29-30-7) were battling just to make the playoffs while the Knights (47-18-1) are in a heated tussle with the Plymouth Whalers for top spot overall in the league.
"It was like playoff hockey out there tonight and no one took a shift off," Windsor head coach Bob Boughner said. "I thought it was a real blue collar performance by our guys.
"We thought coming into this season that 30 wins this season would be huge for our program and we're one win away now. But getting into the play-offs is even bigger for us as it will give our young guys a taste of what it takes to win going forward."
The game was delayed late in the third period when the clock froze at 2:30 remaining. Officials took 48 seconds off the and play was restarted with a face-off at centre.
Boughner wasn't initially aware that the game clock wasn't working.
"I didn't see it right away, but then some guys started screaming on our bench and that's when I found out," he said. "I thought the face-off should have been in their (Knights) zone because that's where the puck was when the play was whistled dead."
The remaining seconds of the game seemed like hours for Boughner.
"The seconds didn't tick off the clock as fast as I would have liked, but I'm more than happy with the outcome of the game," he said.