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RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 11:58 AM ET

Unlike the magical 2004-05 campaign, the London Knights won't start this season on a 31-game unbeaten streak.

The Saginaw Spirit made sure of it by rolling to a 10-7 victory to ruin the Knights' season-opener before a sellout of 9,090 last night at the John Labatt Centre.

The evening began with attention focused on London's 2005 Memorial Cup banner being raised to the rafters. Then all eyes were on the scoreboard as the teams staged an offensive onslaught in a new-look OHL.

"That's the way the game is right now," said London forward David Bolland, who had three goals and six points. Linemate Sergei Kostitsyn also had six points.

"When I was in Chicago (at Blackhawks camp), we played Calgary and the first eight minutes were either power play or penalty kill. We've got a young team, we have to adjust to this. It's frustrating. We lose to Saginaw and now we have to go to Owen Sound (tonight) for another tough one."

London scored all seven of its goals on 17 power-play chances. Saginaw finished three-of-10 with the advantage.

"They're not good yet. There's a lot they have to learn," Knights head coach Dale Hunter said. "We have to play team defence with guys backchecking and skating. They got a lot of goals on the rebound."

Former Knights goalie Gerald Coleman returned to take part in the pregame festivities. He must have been relieved he didn't have to stand in the crease in this highly offensive OHL.

Oakville native Steve Mason, a 17-year-old who played for the Grimsby Peach Kings in junior C last year, got the nod in net for the Knights but his debut lasted less than a period-and-a-half, surrendering five goals on 18 Saginaw shots.

Chris Wall, a 19-year-old Halifax native who played junior B for the London Nationals last year, came in and the Spirit pumped two more quick goals by him for a five-goal second period, then added two more to start the third and build an insurmountable lead.

The Spirit set a franchise record with 10 goals. Their previous high was seven.

The Knights have given up more than 10 goals before but with Coleman and Adam Dennis in net and a stout defence in front of them last year, it wasn't uncommon to go a month's worth of games without allowing 10 goals.

"It's the new directive and you don't celebrate too much after scoring 10 goals because you can go out tomorrow and get 10 scored against you," Saginaw head coach Bob Mancini said. "That's the way it is -- you're never really out it. It's 9-5 and you take some penalties, give up a couple of five-on-three advantages and it's a brand new game."

Saginaw forward Patrick Asselin scored three times for the Spirit, which dropped its season-opener 7-2 to the Plymouth Whalers on Wednesday.

Star defenceman Patrick McNeill, a Strathroy native, picked up two goals and Spirit rookie first-rounder Zach Torquato, who was a big scorer with the Stratford Cullitons last season, recorded his first OHL goal and assist.

One oddity never seen at the JLC before: Down 9-6 with four minutes left in the game and on the power play, Knights head coach Dale Hunter pulled Wall for a two-man advantage. The Knights scored their seventh goal.

But he tried it again with two minutes left and the Spirit's Tom Pyatt salted it away with an empty netter.

"That's the game now. You can do those things because it's wide open," Hunter said.


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