Knights backup records first win

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

MISSISSAUGA -- Rob Schremp apologizes in his own way.

A week after blasting a hard slapper off the mask of backup goalie Steve Mason in pre-game warmup, London's star forward ensured the Knights rookie puckstopper picked up his first OHL victory with a two-goal, four-point performance in a 7-2 pasting of the Mississauga IceDogs before 2,678 yesterday afternoon at the Hershey Centre.

The 17-year-old Mason, who made his first start since London's season-opening game, surrendered two quick goals to Mississauga's Michael Swift in the first four minutes but was flawless the rest of the way in a 36-save performance. He even drew an assist on former IceDog Schremp's game-winning goal early in the second period.

"I couldn't think of a better way to get my first OHL win," the six-foot-three, 180-pound Oakville native said. "The guys gave me a ton of offensive support. I had family here and I didn't really feel that nervous at all. Adam (Dennis) gave me a few tips about the rink before the game. I knew I was playing this one for another start and I hope I get the chance."

There will be more opportunities for Mason, according to Knights head coach Dale Hunter.

"He'll get another chance to get in there," Hunter said. "I'm going to try to keep Adam away from the three (games) in three (days). He (Mason) played well. He went to junior B (Petrolia) and looked good there."

In his first start on Sept. 23, Mason only lasted 27 minutes in a 10-7 loss to the Saginaw Spirit. Dennis' streak of 45 straight starts didn't allow Mason much more crease time, but he did play a scoreless third period in the Knights' 5-4 loss in Windsor on Jan. 26.

"He did a nice job back there," said Schremp, who leads the OHL with 113 points in 41 games. "We even hung him out to dry a couple of times and he had to come up with some big saves. We were down early but we don't care about that. We know we can come back."

London captain Dylan Hunter, who passed Corey Perry as the Knights' career assist leader on Saturday night against Kingston, left yesterday's game in the second period with a tweaked knee. He will be re-evaluated today.

After breaking Perry's assists record, Hunter contacted his old linemate to tell him all about it and rub it in.

"I called him and he text-messaged me back because he was with Anaheim playing against San Jose," Hunter said. "I told him I broke his record and he wrote back, 'You SOB.' We were chirping each other back and forth pretty good."

If Hunter is healthy enough, he will play his 300th OHL game Thursday night against Kitchener at the JLC. Dennis will be back between the pipes but the Knights are now feeling more confident they can still win with backup Mason in net.

"It's a great opportunity for Steve," London goalie coach Dave Rook said. "He has practised a lot but hadn't started in a long time. It's frustrating because you can't replace game action. He's an '88 (birth date) and in his draft year and he looks around the league and guys his age are rated for the NHL draft and he isn't.

"But that stuff doesn't matter. Adam Dennis was passed by twice in the NHL draft before the Buffalo Sabres took him last year. If the Sabres didn't split their (American Hockey League) team (in Rochester) with Florida, then Adam would probably be there and the situation would be totally different."

GAME GLANCE

Knights 7, IceDogs 2

London goals: Rob Schremp (2), Sergei Kostitsyn (2), David Bolland (2), Robbie Drummond

Mississauga goals: Michael Swift (2)

Next: London faces rival Kitchener Thursday at 7 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre, then Plymouth Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the JLC.


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