Knights break on high note

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

There's nothing like a win to send the boys home happy at Christmas.

The London Knights unwrapped an early gift Saturday night with a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Guelph Storm before 9,057 fans at the John Labatt Centre.

The Knights trailed 3-1 in the second period and the win snapped a one-game losing streak.

One game doesn't sound like much but when you hadn't lost all season until Friday, ending a record-setting 31-game undefeated run, that loss could have proved devastating.

Brandon Prust scored two goals, including the winner with 2:28 remaining in the third period on Saturday.

Less than 24 hours earlier, the Knights were beaten 5-2 by the Sudbury Wolves, ending London's Canadian Hockey League record run.

The loss really stung and Prust, who admitted the effort on Friday left much to be desired, stepped it up a notch on Saturday.

"We knew how important this game was and we showed good character in coming back," Prust said as the Knights are now 30-1-2-0.

They don't play again until Dec. 29 in Owen Sound. They then have the traditional New Year's doubleheader with the Sarnia Sting, Dec. 31 in Sarnia and Jan. 1 at the JLC.

The Knights will again play those games without forwards Corey Perry and Rob Schremp and defenceman Danny Syvret.

Perry and Syvret are with the Canadian juniors and Schremp is with the U.S. The world junior championship begins Saturday in Grand Forks, N.D., and ends Jan. 4.

The Knights are in Windsor on Jan. 6.

Prust liked that they had the opportunity for the quick turnaround on Saturday.

"It was better getting right back out there, rather than sitting on a loss and it's good going into the Christmas break with a win," he said.

"We didn't want to go into the break with two losses. We would have been down a little bit.

"We lost one, now we have to step up. We have some tough games with Owen Sound and Sarnia," Prust said as the Knights have won an OHL-record 14 straight games on the road.

He said they'll be able to enjoy this Christmas break.

"We'll relax a little bit and look back on what we accomplished, then get ready for the new year and try and do the same thing."

The Knights power play has missed Perry, Schremp and Syvret. It's meant new faces are getting time with the unit and prior to a pair of power-play goals against Guelph, they were 0-for-19 with the man advantage.

"We had to move (the puck) around a little more," Prust said. "We've got guys on the power play who are just kind of getting used to it. We're just coming into our own, though we did a better job (Saturday)."

Forward Drew Larman said the win makes for a nice Christmas.

"We're going into the break definitely on a good note," he said. "It's something to look positive back to. It was a big comeback win for us. It was huge, especially after the loss to Sudbury."

Coach Dale Hunter was proud how his players rallied as it would have been easy to toss in the towel with the Storm up 3-1 and goalie Adam Dennis stoning them, as he's done the past two seasons.

"You always want to leave with a win," Hunter said.

"Now the guys can enjoy their families and Christmas. They can re-energize again mentally, physically too, but mentally also so they're ready to go again.

"Mentally there was a lot of pressure on the kids (during the streak). Would they win again? When was it going to end? It keeps building. It was like a playoff run, right?"

Now the Knights can't wait to get back on the ice after Christmas for the chance to add to this streak.

"Who knows," Larman said when asked if Saturday's win may be the start of another run. "We'll take it game by game and see what happens -- just like the first time."


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