Saginaw goalie Francois Thuot was red hot, but Rob Schremp was just a little more super.
The London Knights star scored twice -- his OHL-leading 29th and 30th goals -- and added two assists to lead the Knights to a nail-biting 4-2 victory over the Spirit in the annual Teddy Bear Toss tilt before 9,100 last night at the John Labatt Centre.
"It was on our minds that we wanted to come out and get a win after losing in Kitchener," Schremp said.
"That was important. I felt pretty good out there. There were a couple of long shifts but sometimes you stay out to help create some offence."
Schremp and Co. fired a season-high 62 shots at the 20-year-old Thuot, but needed a late third-period tip-in by Adam Perry to clinch a hard-fought win.
After Knights fans showered 5,972 teddy bears onto the John Labatt Centre ice, their favourite team rained shot after shot on Thuot, a six-foot, 160-pound Longueuil, Que., native who has had the Knights' number in recent years.
"I've never faced 62 shots in a game before -- I'm tired but I feel pretty good," Thuot said. "Last year when I was with Barrie, London was going for the OHL unbeaten streak and we were up 2-1 with eight minutes left before they came back to beat us. I had 48 shots in that one. They had a super team last year and they have a super team this year. Their power play is the best in the league."
Saginaw managed just 21 shots on Knights goalie Adam Dennis, who admitted it isn't easy to watch the guy in the other crease putting on a show.
"I know what that's like when you're getting a ton of shots and making the saves -- you feel invincible," Dennis said. "I was telling (London goalie coach Dave Rook) that it's kind of scary. You're standing at the other end with not much action and you know there's going to be an odd-man rush going the other way that you're going to have to save."
Early on, Schremp didn't waste time starting the stuffed toy tossing joy by blasting a slapper past Thuot 6:39 into the first period.
The final teddy bear tally was more than Kitchener's total of 5,472 on Wednesday night, but short of London's league record of 6,966 last year when the Knights and Guelph Storm skated to a scoreless tie during the promotional event.
Schremp also scored both of his team's markers in Kitchener on Wednesday, which gave him a streak of four straight goals.
Saginaw rookie forward Anthony Soboczynski, a London native and former member of the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs, scored his first OHL goal in the first period to give the Spirit a brief 2-1 lead.
The London Knights finished four-for-12 on the power play, which is about to experience an extreme makeover.
Sergei Kostitsyn already has gone home to Belarus for the junior world B tournament and David Bolland leaves tomorrow for the Canadian world junior training camp in Vancouver. They have 30 power-play goals between them.
Schremp, who wasn't suspended for a stick incident at the end of the Kitchener game on Wednesday, will play three more games before joining the U.S. world junior squad.
London defenceman Frank Rediker missed his fifth straight with a sore knee.
With Robbie Drummond also hurt, the Knights added 16-year-old winger Kyle Moore, who has been playing with the Strathroy Rockets of the Western Junior B Hockey League, and defenceman Andrew Wilkins.
Knights 4, Spirit 2
London goals: Rob Schremp (2), A.J. Perry, Jordan Foreman
Saginaw goals: Tom Pyatt, Anthony Soboczynski
Next: London takes on the Guelph Storm tomorrow night at the John Labatt Centre. The 7 p.m. start, which replaces the original 2 p.m. opening faceoff, was made to accommodate Rogers Sportsnet's TV coverage of the game.