Knights goalie broke in new equipment with a win

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 1:00 PM ET

After another dominating performance, Adam Dennis wore a a wide grin -- almost as large as his big, white leg protectors.

The London Knights goalie thought his new pads weren't too bad for their first game action.

After breaking in the new set of Bauer-issued gear all week, Dennis kicked aside 34 shots, many of the spectacular variety, in a 5-2 victory over the Windsor Spitfires before 9,090 spectators last night at the John Labatt Centre.

"It gives you some extra kick when you know you're breaking in a new set," the veteran said. "It's exciting. But if we lost, I wasn't going back to the old ones. I like the new ones."

The 20-year-old Dennis, who is 11-1 since returning from pro camp with the Buffalo Sabres' American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester, took just four days to break in the new pads and used everything -- legs, blocker, glove, body and even his mask on one shot -- to frustrate the Spits.

"A save's a save, no matter how it's made," he said. "I know with our team this year, my stats aren't going to be overwhelming but I pride myself on being able to make the big saves when the games are on the line.

"We know with our firepower, we're going to get five or six goals every game so it allows me to focus on keeping us in it."

The Knights went against grain by allowing the first goal -- a first-period score by Mitch Maunu -- and still recording the win. Going in, London was 10-0 when hitting the scoresheet first and 0-5 when surrendering the opening goal.

Jordan Foreman is making himself a candidate as a possible shootout participant for the Knights by busting out of the penalty box and scoring on a breakaway for the second straight game.

The Knights have yet to play an overtime game this season so they haven't had to worry about which players to pick in a shootout.

"When I was younger, I used to get breakaways all the time," Foreman said. "But last year, I don't think I got one. Now, I get two in two games and I'm two-for-three."

Foreman beat buddy Kyle Knechtel, with whom he plays shinny in Cambridge in the summer, through the legs. The Windsor goalie, who played well in his first game after the Spits played newly acquired Anthony Guadagnolo in four straight games, got a piece of the puck but it dribbled into the net.

"I know him well -- that might've helped," Foreman said.

On that goal, Windsor defenceman Mike Weber crushed London's Ryan Martinelli into the net and picked up a roughing penalty. Sergei Kostitsyn made him pay by burying his 12th of the year -- and first of two on the night -- on the ensuing power play.

London, which boasts the most potent power play in the OHL, scored three times in seven chances last night but also negated four opportunities by taking penalties that erased the man advantage.

The Spitfires, who played without injured regulars David Lomas, Iain McPhee and Cory McGillis, who's suffering from pneumonia, felt they gave the Knights all they could handle in their first meeting since snapping London's 23-game unbeaten streak against them.

"The score wasn't indicative of how we thought the game went," Windsor assistant coach Billy Bowler said. "They scored . . . power-play goals at the end to put it away but we came out hard and played well. We're not intimidated to play them and I thought we did pretty well for an undermanned squad."

The Knights solved their over-age glut by dealing 20-year-old forward Kelly Thomson yesterday to the Oshawa Generals for a 13th-round pick in the 2007 draft. Thomson cracked the roster last year as a walk-on free agent.

GAME GLANCE

Knights 5, Spitfires 2

London goals: Jordan Foreman, Sergei Kostitsyn (2), A.J. Perry, Dylan Hunter

Windsor goals: Mitch Maunu, Mike Bushby

Next: London tangles with the Sarnia Sting for the first time this season tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre.


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