Bizarre bounce burns Knights

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

GUELPH -- The way things are going, the London Knights should adopt a song from the popular band Green Day as their team anthem.

It's called Wake Me Up When September Ends.

London lost its third straight to start the season thanks to a fluke goal by 16-year-old Guelph rookie forward Jamie Arniel -- his first OHL marker -- in a 4-2 Storm win before 2,712 last night at the Guelph Sports and Entertainment Centre.

With just over six minutes left in the third period and the game tied, Arniel circled the net, banked the puck off London star David Bolland's shin pad and through goalie Matthew Spezza's legs to give Guelph the lead. Forward Mike McLean added an empty netter with 40 seconds to play.

"It's an unlucky break but the guys played unbelievable in front of me," said Spezza, who kicked aside 21 shots, many of the difficult variety. "That was a winnable game, but we're going to get breaks like that. Those are going to even out and we know some of those are going to go our way. The important thing was we played hard."

Now, the still-winless defending Memorial Cup champs close out this miserable month with a rematch against Owen Sound tonight in London. The Attack beat the Knights 8-1 and outshot them 49-10 last Saturday night.

Though there was some satisfaction in playing better than the Owen Sound debacle, the Knights know they let a chance for a win slip away.

"We outchanced them 18-9, but that's hockey. Sometimes, it goes the other way," London head coach Dale Hunter said. "There's not much you can do about it when you outwork a team and they still get the win."

London scored twice on the power play and has scored all 10 of their goals with the man advantage this year.

Former St. Thomas Stars goaltender Jason Guy, a hot London prospect who landed in Guelph as part of last year's deal that sent Adam Dennis to the Knights' net, kicked aside 23 shots for his first OHL victory.

"It was a little shaky at the start but I felt better in the second and third periods," the 17-year-old Whitby native said. "It was a good win. There weren't a whole lot of shots, but they did have some quality chances so I had to make some good saves."

Arniel admitted both teams didn't bring their best games to the rink."I thought we played poorly, but we were able to hang around because they weren't at their best either. That wouldn't have been the case last year against them. It was a real rush to score (the winner). It was a little shocking to see it go in but we'll take it."

Big London native Leigh Salters, a Storm rookie and London Junior Knights graduate, poured salt on the visitor's wounds by drawing an assist on Arniel's pivotal marker. Montreal draft pick Matt D'Agostini, whose brother Mike briefly attended Knights camp this year, had the other assists.

After surrendering eight goals on 49 shots in Owen Sound, Spezza felt more comfortable in the Knights' cage.

"We had a week of practice together and I got a chance to meet the guys," the 18-year-old from Mississauga said. "It's a great team. We're going to get better."

Guelph's five-foot-six forward Rafael Rotter, an 18-year-old from Vienna who played in the Austrian Elite League last year, picked up a goal and an assist and has nine points in his first four OHL games.

The Guelph bench was run by acting head coach Jason Brooks, a fill-in for Dave Barr, who is serving a 15-game suspension.

GAME GLANCE

Storm 4, Knights 2

Guelph goals: Rafael Rotter, Matt Lyall, Jamie Arniel and Mike McLean into the empty net

London goals: David Bolland and Sergei Kostitsyn

Next: London returns to the John Labatt Centre tonight to face the Owen Sound Attack at 7:30 p.m.


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