Mason jars Peterborough

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

Steve Mason waited five months for a chance to redeem himself in front of London Knights fans.

He didn't waste any of it.

Starting at home for the first time since the opening night of the season, the 17-year-old rookie goalie kicked aside 52 shots by the OHL's top-ranked team to lead short-handed London to an improbable 4-1 win over the Peterborough Petes before 9,090 last night at the John Labatt Centre.

Mason earned first-star honours and was given a rousing ovation. The Oakville native, who played junior C hockey in Grimsby last year, was yanked early after starting London's season-opening 10-7 loss to the Saginaw Spirit Sept. 23.

"That was a forgettable night and I wanted another chance to show everyone what I could do," he said. "To beat the Petes is a nice feeling. A guy like (Petes forward) Jordan Staal is my age and he's going to be a high draft pick in the NHL, so it was nice to be able to stone him."

Mason, who made just his fourth career start, had to wait patiently for redemption as veteran Adam Dennis played 45 straight games. But the youngster was pressed into duty after Dennis was suspended two games last week for leaving the crease to fight Plymouth's Justin Peters.

Mason helped London beat the Rangers 6-3 last Sunday in Kitchener to stay atop the Western Conference and his efforts last night leave the Knights just four points behind the Petes for first overall.

"It's not like last year -- any team can jump up there with a few wins and be right back in it," said David Bolland, who scored an empty-netter to secure the victory. "Steve did a great job. He showed us in Kitchener what he could do and we have confidence in him. When you get a new goalie in there, they could either wet the bed or stand on their head and he stood on his head for us."

Taking a page from Dennis, Mason carried a shutout bid into the third, but the Petes, who outshot London 25-5 in the period, scored on a power play with slightly less than eight minutes left.

"I would've liked to have that one back," Mason said with a grin. "It was tipped, but it doesn't matter. The guys got me some goals and it's a lot easier to work with the lead. I didn't do anything special before the game -- just got home from school (at Saunders secondary), had a nap and came to the rink to get ready."

The Petes actually scored five minutes into the third as the puck slipped over the goal line before Mason pulled it out, but goal judge John McInerney failed to turn on the red light and referee Sean Reid agreed with him. Peterborough defenceman Lubomir Stach took a 10-minute misconduct for complaining.

The Knights played without Dennis, head coach Dale Hunter and defencemen Frank Rediker and Ryan Martinelli, who served the second of their two-game suspensions, while forward Robbie Drummond sat out as a precautionary measure stemming back to his injuries last Friday. Blue-liner Matt Pelech, a Calgary Flames first-rounder, played with a special face shield to protect his face after taking a puck in the face while blocking a shot Sunday in Kitchener.

Former London Knight and current Anaheim Mighty Duck Corey Perry, a Peterborough native and last year's OHL scoring champ, was given a standing ovation before participating in the ceremonial opening faceoff.

GAME GLANCE

Knights 4, Petes 1

London goals: Rob Schremp (2), Jordan Foreman, David Bolland

Peterborough goal: Greg Stewart

Next: London heads to Sault Ste. Marie to face the Greyhounds tonight at 7:30 and then plays in Saginaw tomorrow at 2 p.m.


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