Attack pummel sputtering Knights

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 11:45 AM ET

OWEN SOUND -- Like a broken-down, out-of-gas Chevy that collected dust in the garage all summer, the London Knights are having trouble getting started this season.

A nervous-looking Knights squad was outshot 21-4 in the first period and never rebounded from an early 4-1 deficit in an 8-1 loss to the dominant Owen Sound Attack before 2,969 last night at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.

Owen Sound outshot London 49-10 and blistered puck after puck at the Knights' new goaltender Matthew Spezza, who was acquired from Ottawa yesterday.

The 18-year-old brother of Ottawa Senators forward Jason Spezza allowed all eight goals but also made 41 saves in his season debut.

"It's unacceptable the way we're playing right now," said London forward Jordan Foreman, who scored his team's lone goal. "We got 10 shots. We had four after the first and we talked about getting more pucks at the net, but it never happened. We don't have the skill we had before so we're going to have to start off better and outwork teams."

After beginning last year's Memorial Cup title run on a 31-game unbeaten streak, London has dropped its first two games of the 2005-06 season. They've allowed 18 goals in those two contests.

"They had a couple of early power plays and they capitalized on them," London head coach Dale Hunter said. "You can't get down. The score's 7-1 so you play some of the young guys. You give them some ice time so they learn. It's the only way."

Through two periods, the Knights had the same number of shots -- six -- as the Attack had goals.

"You can't judge that London team on these first two games," Owen Sound head coach Mike Stothers said. "I'm sure the team we saw (last night) won't be the team that's there at the end of the season. What they did last year, we may never see a season like that again and I still take my hat off to them. We did a nice job, but we have to go back to London on Friday and it's going to be a tough game."

Hunter thought Spezza had a nice debut and got stronger as the game progressed. He said the rough start might have been attributed to the goalie being unfamiliar with his defencemen.

"I hadn't played a full game in a while," Spezza said. "They had some shots but we worked hard and the guys never gave up. It'll be better next time."

Owen Sound scored on its first three power-play opportunities and was given a gift goal when overage defenceman Frank Rediker tripped and turned the puck over in front of Spezza.

Rediker, who is playing his first healthy hockey in a couple of years after battling knee trouble, is being counted on by Hunter to play heavy minutes while the Knights' young defence gets used to the speed of the OHL game.

Owen Sound captain Bobby Ryan was a dramatic late addition to the Attack lineup after catching a flight and heading across the continent from Anaheim Mighty Ducks training camp yesterday. The second pick in the 2005 NHL draft arrived at the rink a half-hour before warmup and still posted two goals and four points.

"That's plenty of time to get ready. You just put your skates on and go," Stothers said. "Bobby hates stretching anyway."

The Robbie Drummond experiment on defence didn't last long for the Knights. After patrolling the blue-line against Saginaw, the 19-year-old Londoner was switched back to forward and started on a line with David Bolland and Sergei Kostitsyn.

Foreman's goal was a first-period power-play marker. London has scored all eight of its goals so far this year with the man advantage.

GAME GLANCE Attack 8, Knights 1

Owen Sound goals: Mike Angelidis (two), Bobby Ryan (two), Jeff Kyrzakos, Joshua Bailey, Andrej Sekera, Matt Carter

London goal: Jordan Foreman

Next: London plays in Guelph Thursday night and returns to the John Labatt Centre Friday to face the Attack again.


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