Knights add another mark

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

WINDSOR -- Move over Ottawa 67's. Move over Guelph Storm.

Make way for the London Knights.

The Knights beat the Windsor Spitfires 7-3 last night to register their OHL record-breaking 25th road victory.

The Knights also clinched first overall, winning the Hamilton Spectator Trophy for the second straight season.

The Knights, 51-5-2-0 and the first team in league history with back-to-back 50-win and back-to-back 100-point seasons, moved one road win ahead of the 1998-99 67's and last season's Storm.

The Knights, with five road games left, can equal the Canadian Hockey League record of 30 road wins set by the 1978-79 Trois-Rivieres Draveurs.

The Knights have lost four times on the road. The OHL record is seven by the '98-99 67's and the '90-91 Oshawa Generals. The CHL mark is two by the '78-79 Draveurs.

"For the most part, we're not really looking at the records and saying, 'Oh, we got to win this and we got to win that,' we're just trying to motivate ourselves for every game," said Knights captain Danny Syvret, who scored twice.

"We don't want to get up to break a record, and if we don't get it to be disappointed, because we've had a good year. I think we're going in and trying to improve every game and trying to stay positive and if records fall, they fall. But if not, it's not a big deal."

With the Knights already in the Memorial Cup as host team, it would be easy for them to coast into the playoffs.

"You've got to prepare for the playoffs and come out and play hard every night," coach Dale Hunter said. "It's not a switch. You can't say, 'It's the playoffs and we've got to pick it up now.' "

But Hunter said it's not the coaches who are doing the motivating. "It always comes down to the leaders getting everybody ready and it's the old saying, hard work will always beat skill if that skill doesn't work hard."

The Spitfires, who have lost 16 in a row to the Knights going back to the 2003 playoffs, scored just 56 seconds into the game as John-Scott Dickson's shot from just outside the blue line handcuffed Gerald Coleman.

David Bolland tied it for the Knights at 6:33, but the Spits regained the lead 22 seconds later when Iain McPhee's point shot was tipped at the crease by Ryan Garlock. Cal O'Reilly's power-play goal at 6:55 of the second period gave Windsor a 3-1 lead.

Syvret scored his first on a power play at 9:45, then Drew Larman tied it for the Knights with a breakaway goal at 14:56 of the second period.

Syvret then roofed a shot with 32 seconds left in the period to give the Knights their first lead.

"They've got a lot to play for," Syvret said of the Spitfires.

"I don't think it was as much as we were down for the game as it was they were up for the game and we had to match it."

Kyle Knechtel replaced Brad Topping in the Windsor net to start the third and Bryan Rodney scored on the Knights' first shot 58 seconds in, making it 5-3.

Dan Fritsche scored an empty-netter with a minute left, then Larman got his second with 26 seconds left and Knechtel back in net.

Knights right-winger Corey Perry picked up three assists, giving him a league-leading 105 points, including 39 goals.

Knights over-age left-winger Brandon Prust sat out his 12th game with a hairline fracture of the jaw sustained Jan. 21. He had considered playing last night.

"We're not in a playoff race, so we want to make sure it's healed up, just to be on the safe side."

Prust, who expects to return Thursday when the Knights play Erie at the John Labatt Centre, said watching hasn't been fun.

"I had to do it earlier in the year (a rib injury) and it doesn't get any better or any easier."

GAME GLANCE

Knights 7, Spitfires 3

London goals: Danny Syvret (2), Drew Larman (2), David Bolland, Bryan Rodney, Dan Fritsche

Windsor goals: John-Scott Dickson, Ryan Garlock, Cal O'Reilly

Next: The Knights play in Plymouth tomorrow, then in Sarnia on Monday. Both games begin at 7:30 p.m.


Videos

Photos