windsorspitfires.com staff reports
He's already exceeded expectations.
But Friday night in Kitchener, Alexander Khokhlachev took things to a new level.
KoKo scored four times and captain Ryan Ellis was dominant, with a goal and five assists, as the Spitfires beat the Rangers, 7-1, at the Aud in Kitchener.
The win moves the Spitfires (27-15-2-2) into a tie with the Rangers (27-14-3-1) for third in the Western Conference - with a key re-match set for Sunday afternoon in Windsor.
Stephen Johnston and Jeff Brown were out of action for the Spits; Johnston will miss at least the rest of the weekend with a bruised lung, while Brown served the final game of a suspension.
With the Spitfires down two of their top-9 forwards, the home side clearly wanted to bang the body in the first period.
But Windsor matched Kitchener's physical intensity, before exploding offensively.
Alexander Khokhlachev and Tom Kuhnhackl put the visitors up 2-0 in a 26-second span.
KoKo opened the scoring, showing great hands while taking a pass from Adrian Robertson and putting a big time move on Mike Morrison. Later on, he scored his second on the power play, giving the Spits a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The Spitfires put the game out of reach with four goals in the second.
After Ryan Ellis and Kerby Rychel - his first as a Spitfire on a quick wrister - put the Spits up 5-0, Khokhlachev went back to work. His 27th and 28th of the season gave him four on the night, and the Spitfires a 7-1 lead after two periods.
John Cullen made 30 saves in the win. He'll start again on Sunday as the Spits host the Rangers in a matinee.
Mike Morrison was chased from the Kitchener goal in the second period, replaced by Brandon Maxwell. Morrison returned in the third period.
FIRST PERIOD - WSR Khokhlachev, (25) (Robertson, Ellis), 7:07 (PP) - WSR Kuhnhackl, (23) (Duininck, Posa), 7:33 - WSR Khokhlachev, (26) (Ellis, Webermin), 15:38 (PP)
SECOND PERIOD - WSR Ellis, (16) (Ebert, Kassian), 5:46 (PP) - WSR Rychel, (3) (Ellis, Vail), 8:25 - WSR Khokhlachev, (27) (Ellis, Kassian), 14:19 - KIT Thomson, (5) (Rieder, Doornbosch), 17:11 (PP) - WSR Khokhlachev, (28) (Kuhnhackl, Ellis), 17:29
THIRD PERIOD - No Scoring
POWER PLAYS - WINDSOR 3-for-6 - KITCHENER 1-for-7
SHOTS ON GOAL - WINDSOR 34 - KITCHENER 31