Majors goalie wants revenge

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

Wayne Savage is looking for a little more luck against the London Knights.

The last time the Toronto St. Michael's Majors goalie played against the Knights on Oct. 16, he surrendered 14 goals in the longest, most forgettable 60 minutes of his OHL career.

The 18-year-old St. Thomas native wants to rebound when the Majors make their lone visit to London tonight.

"Those kind of games hurt the confidence a little bit," Savage said from Toronto. "London scored eight goals on the power play (and another on a delayed penalty call) and it was a tough loss for us. Their power play is strong and we can't afford to take many penalties.

"We've been playing well lately and, like any other game, we want to go in there and take the two points."

Because of perceived bad blood stemming from that savage beating, this is unlikely to be a passionless contest. Majors coach Bud Stefanski accused the Knights of running up the score, so the visitors will surely be playing with chips on their shoulders.

Nobody would like to turn in a stellar performance more than Savage, whose last visit to the JLC also went poorly.

"Last year, I made the start in London and got pulled in the first period (of a 5-1 loss)," the former Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs goalie said.

The Majors backup for the last year and a half, Savage has played well enough lately to earn Stefanski's confidence and a promotion to the No. 1 job. Toronto traded away two solid netminders -- Blyth native Justin Peters and current Sarnia Sting goalie Ryan Nie -- to give Savage his chance.

"I've wanted this opportunity for a long time," said Savage, who spent the 2003-04 season with the junior A Wellington Dukes. "I talked to my agent in the summer and we discussed that this should be the year that I stood up and grabbed the starting role on the team."

His agent is John Thornton, the brother of St. Thomas native Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks.

"When I was a kid, I knew (former Sudbury Wolves and Guelph Storm goalie) Dave MacDonald and I had a friend at the old arena (St. Thomas-Elgin Memorial Arena)," Savage said. "I went on the ice one day there and Joe was shooting pucks at me. That's how I met Joe."

Toronto, which Sudbury last night, is in mid-pack of the Eastern Conference playoff race.

The Knights, who failed to score a power-play goal for the first time in nine games Wednesday, could face a second straight game without second-leading scorer David Bolland.

The 19-year-old Mimico native, who is nursing a bruised hand, skated briefly yesterday, but is a game-time decision.

KNIGHTWATCH

Tonight: vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre

Tomorrow: at Erie, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday: at Guelph, 7 p.m. The documentary Green & Gold: 40 Seasons of the London Knights will be shown at 2 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. at Museum London. Admission is free.


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