John Tavares, right, celebrates his record-breaking goal with Knights teammate Leigh Salters in the third period in Windsor. ((Sarah Fraleigh/Canadian Press))

John Tavares potted a hat trick Sunday to become the OHL's all-time leading goal scorer.

Tavares, who's expected to be the top pick in this year's NHL draft, capped his big day by netting the go-ahead goal with less than two minutes left to give the visiting London Knights a 4-3 win over the league-leading Windsor Spitfires.

The hat trick brings Tavares's career OHL total to 215 goals — two more than Peter Lee scored in five seasons with the Ottawa 67's in the 1970s.

Tavares, 18, is in his fourth OHL campaign. He played his first three seasons and the beginning of this one with the Oshawa Generals before being traded to London.

Since moving into second place on the all-time list with a two-goal performance in Kitchener, Ont., on Feb. 15, Tavares has been on a tear, scoring 15 goals in 10 games.

The native of Oakville, Ont., leads the OHL in both goals (58) and points (104) in 55 games this season, despite missing a handful of games to play for Canada at the world junior championship in Ottawa, where he was named tournament MVP after leading Canada to the gold medal.

His OHL career highs are 72 goals and 134 points, both set in 2006-07 with Oshawa.

London (47-16-1-2) beat Windsor (56-8-0-1) for the first time in six meetings this season, and now trails the Spitfires by 16 points for top spot in the OHL's Western Conference.

Tavares opened the scoring 4:51 into the first, tying Lee's record.

"When I scored so early in the game, I figured there would be more opportunities to help my team out," Tavares said. "But the boys really came in here focused today — we wanted to win this game before heading into the playoffs and moving forward."

He broke the record with seven minutes left in the game and received a prolonged standing ovation from the sold-out Windsor crowd.

"I really appreciated the reaction of the fans," he said. "They have great fans here and it was a classy thing to do."

With less than two minutes remaining to play, Tavares completed the hat trick to snap a 3-3 tie and propel London to the win.

With files from the Canadian Press