Knights set another mark

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

SARNIA -- If this sounds like a broken record, that's because it is.

The London Knights made another entry in the OHL record book last night with a 4-0 win over the Sarnia Sting before a crowd of 4,446.

It was the 11th shutout of the season for the Knights, who are in the process of rewriting almost every team record known to the league.

The 1997-98 Ottawa 67's had 10 shutouts before the Knights came along. With 30 saves last night, Gerald Coleman now has more shutouts than any goalie who has worn a mask in the OHL.

It was Coleman's eighth of the season, tying him for second on the all-time list with Len Broderick of the 1956-57 Toronto Marlboros. Don Lockhart of the 1949-50 Marlies holds the record at nine.

"Shutouts are based on the team," said Coleman. "(Tonight) I made maybe three good saves. The rest of the shots were from far out. Some days I don't have to do a lot."

But there have been nights along the way to Coleman's 30 wins where he has earned his keep. He has a sparkling 1.67 goals-against average and .941 save percentage.

"We've done everything as a team this year and it's nice to be a part of it," he said.

"Sometimes you get overshadowed a bit, but obviously every guy here is happy to be on this team."

The Knights are 53-5-2-0 for 108 points, matching their 53 wins of last season, which is one short of the OHL record set by the 1984-85 Soo Greyhounds.

The Knights have eight games left. They set the record for points last season with 110.

Coleman said it's been hard to keep track of all the records.

"As long as you keep winning, the records are going to come. When the regular season is done (March 20 in Sault Ste. Marie), we can look back at it, but then we'll have to get ready for the playoffs."

The playoffs are one place the Sting won't be.

"Sarnia was completely out of control," Knights coach Dale Hunter said. London scored all four goals on eight power plays.

Sarnia's Steve Savor was given an elbowing major plus an automatic game misconduct for a hit to the head of Knights defenceman Dan Girardi in the second period.

"They were trying to hurt our team," Hunter said. "It was a goon show out there."

Hunter blamed Sting coach Shawn Camp, who coached Guelph Storm to the Western Conference championship over London last season.

"Last year he preached discipline," Hunter said. "They weren't even worried about hockey. They were going after Dan Fritsche (acquired from the Sting by the Knights on Jan.10) and our other star players. At the end, I wouldn't dare put my best players out."

Camp declined to enter into a war of words, only to say "we were undisciplined but other than that, the game was straight up five-on-five.

"Our effort was honest. We get frustrated. We take penalties and their power play showed why they're the best team in the country."

Corey Perry scored twice, giving him a career-best 42 goals and the league lead, one up on Geoff Platt of the Erie Otters, who are at the John Labatt Centre on Thursday.

Perry also collected an assist to give him a league-leading 110 points. He trails Knights' career points leader Chris Taylor by 18. Taylor had 378 points.

Knights assistant coach Jacques Beaulieu wasn't on the bench. He is in a London hospital for emergency back surgery.

GAME GLANCE

Knights 4, Sting 0

London goals: Corey Perry (2), Danny Syvret, Dylan Hunter

Shutout: Gerald Coleman, making 30 saves

Next: The Knights play Erie on Thursday at the John Labatt Centre starting at 7 p.m., then Saginaw on Friday at 7:30 p.m.


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