Storm hoping to punch Knights' number again

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

The Guelph Storm seem to have the London Knights' number.

The Storm, at the John Labatt Centre tomorrow night, are the only team to have beaten the Knights since Jan. 24 of last season, when London lost to the Plymouth Whalers.

The Storm have beaten the Knights six times -- twice late last regular season, then four times in the Western Conference final.

This season, the Knights are 1-0 against the Storm, beating them 4-2 in Guelph on Oct. 24.

The Knights bring a 15-game unbeaten streak (14 wins and one tie) into tomorrow's game. It's the longest an OHL team has gone undefeated at the start of the season. The record was 11 games and it was done four times.

"We know we can beat them because we've done it before," the Storm's Ryan Callahan said. "You get jacked up for games against them. We give them all the respect in the world, but on the ice they're just another team."

Callahan, from Rochester, N.Y., leads his team with 11 goals and six assists after leading all playoff scorers last season with 13 goals in 22 games. He was selected by the New York Rangers in the fourth round of the NHL draft.

Storm goalie Adam Dennis was the top playoff performer with a 1.99 goals-against average.

"We have to go in with the attitude we can beat them, but they're definitely the top dog this year and we can't look at last year because that's last year and we're a totally new team," Dennis said of the Knights.

In fact, in 2004, the Knights have played 62 regular-season and playoff games and are 52-8-2. For statistic buffs, going back to December of last season, the Knights are 61-9-3.

Knights GM Mark Hunter traded Russian centre Alexei Ivanov to the St. Michael's Majors yesterday.

The Knights, who play in Toronto on Sunday, got a fourth-round draft pick in 2005 and a seventh-round 2006 pick for the five-foot-nine forward.

Ivanov, selected in this year's Canadian Hockey League import draft, had two assists and six penalty minutes in 12 games.

Two weeks ago, the Knights unloaded their other import, Norwegian left-winger Mathis Olimb, to the Sarnia Sting for centre Drew Larman.

"They were both good players with good skills but look at our hockey club. We have lots of skilled players in our lineup and we had a hard time getting them playing time," Hunter said.

"The game of hockey today, and not just in the OHL but in the AHL and the NHL, is all down to special teams -- the power play and penalty killing. If you don't play on them, your ice time dwindles to next to nothing."

The Knights also dealt the rights to left-winger Daniel Torres to the Oshawa Generals for a 2005 eight-round pick. The brother of Edmonton Oilers' forward Raffi Torres was playing Tier 2 junior.

There could be action on other fronts in the near future. The Sarnia Sting are said to be in the market to move third-year goalie Ryan Munce and Jeff Carter's name is in the mix again as the Soo Greyhounds may be ready to trade the 19-year-old.

Carter, from London, has been mentioned as going to either the Knights or the Mississauga IceDogs.

IceDogs co-owner/GM Mario Forgione said yesterday he's talking with one team in the Eastern Conference and one in the West.

KNIGHTS' CAREER POINTS

Chris Taylor 378

Brian Bradley 373

Dennis Maruk 370

Dino Ciccarelli 346

Jason Allison 325

Scott Morrison 316

Jim McRae 294

Dave Gilmore 289

Scott McKay 288

Corey Perry 286

KNIGHTWATCH

Tomorrow: The London Knights play the Guelph Storm at the John Labatt Centre. Game time is 7 p.m.

Friday: The Barrie Colts are at the JLC at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday: The Knights play in Toronto against the St. Michael Majors. Game time at St. Mike's College School Arena is 2 p.m.

Tickets: Available in person at the JLC Gate 4 box office (Dundas Street) Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Sunday, except for home games when it opens at 10 a.m.; game nights/days, the box office remains open until the end of the first intermission; or phone 681-0800 during business hours; or online 24 hours a day at www.ticketmaster.ca, or phone Ticketmaster at 488-1012.


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