CHL record next on list

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

SUDBURY -- The London Knights can now set their sights on the 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings and their Canadian Hockey League unbeaten record.

The Wheat Kings went 29 games -- 24 wins and five ties -- to begin that Western Hockey League season before suffering their first loss.

The Knights are within striking distance, having achieved the OHL record last night.

At 26 games and counting, the Knights will put their streak to the test Friday at home against the Windsor Spitfires, then on Saturday in Erie, Pa., against the Otters.

Provided they come away from those two weekend games without a loss, the Knights can equal Brandon's record on Dec. 8 in Kitchener against the Rangers, then break it two nights later at the John Labatt Centre against the Guelph Storm.

The Storm, ironically, are the last team to beat the Knights -- Game 7 of the Western Conference final on April 26 at the JLC.

In fact, the Storm are the only team to have beaten the Knights since a loss to Plymouth on Jan. 24. Guelph has had London's number six times in the interim, although the Knights have won both meetings this season.

Knights captain Danny Syvret said they have to take it one game at a time, just as they have the first 26.

"We've just got to come into every game and play like the other team is going to beat us," he said. "But I don't think we're looking at Game 30 right now. We've still got 27, 28 and 29 in front of it."

Forward Rob Schremp said going after the CHL record is more of a reality now.

"It's a little more realistic," he said. "But we're still not too worried about it. We just want to come out with two Ws (wins) next weekend, then worry about it.

"But it would be really nice to have it. It would be a real accomplishment. That would be a lot of games to go unbeaten."

The Wheat Kings' run was remarkable when you consider they were unbeaten in 49 straight games, which included the last two months of the 1977-78 season.

They played the touring Moscow Selects in an exhibition game in Brandon on Dec. 12, 1978 and were trounced 9-3.

The Wheat Kings then had to make the long bus trip for a game in Edmonton the next night, where their streak ended with a 9-4 loss.

Edmonton scored nine power-play goals as things got a little crazy. The Wheat Kings' Kelly McCrimmon drew an eight-game suspension and his brother Brad got two games.

Kelly McCrimmon, who was a rookie on that record-setting team, is now the Wheat Kings' governor, general manager and head coach.


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