Dennis passes praises to mates

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

Adam Dennis took a draw off a cigar last night and it gave him a head rush.

But that was nothing compared to the rush he was getting from his shutout in the Memorial Cup championship game.

The London Knights goalie is only the second to register a shutout in the final since the tournament format was adopted in 1972. He also won the Hap Emms Trophy as the tournament's top goalie.

The other was Frederic Deschenes of the Granby Predateurs, who blanked the Peterborough Petes 4-0 in the 1996 Cup final in Peterborough.

Deschenes beat around the minors for a few years and spent this season with the Thedford Mines Prolab of the North American league.

"A shutout is a team goal," Dennis said after stopping 27 shots. "You just can't credit me, you've got to credit the whole team. And watching this team is like poetry on ice. It pretty fun to watch."

Dennis not only registered a shutout in the final game, he stoned Sidney Crosby.

"He's a great player, but just winning the Memorial Cup is something you can tell the grandkids," he said. "We could have won 10-9 and I would have been happy."

The first person over the boards last night to congratulate Dennis on his accomplishment was Gerald Coleman, his partner in the Knights crease.

Coleman was in net when the Knights clinched the OHL championship against Ottawa, and played Thursday when the Knights beat the 67's to wrap up the round-robin with a perfect 3-0 record to get the bye to the final.

"We've been best friends all year and nothing changes," Dennis said of their strange playing arrangement that was dictated by coach Dale Hunter. "We're going to be friends for a long time."

Dennis went to the Memorial Cup with the Guelph Storm last year after they knocked off the Knights in the OHL Western Conference final.

But after sweeping Mississauga in the final, the Storm lost three straight in Kelowna and were on a plane home early.

"That stuck with me all summer and I was just waiting for this chance," Dennis said after personally going 0-3 in last year's Cup.

He got his chance when the Knights traded for him on the Jan. 10 deadline.

"With the trade, I felt like I won the lottery. I can't even describe it."

Dennis said it never mattered who played, he and Coleman always supported each other.

"I think with the situation like we have, it's quality over quantity," he said. "You can't worry about when you're playing, just when you get in there you got to make the best of it."

Coleman said he's satisfied with his season, which saw him set an OHL goals-against average of 1.70.

"I thought I played well against Ottawa and that's a good feeling, and I played one game in the Memorial Cup and got one win to get to the final. I'm really ecstatic," he said, adding he was making every save with Dennis from the bench.


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