Knights teaching Petes goalie patience

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

PETERBOROUGH -- The London Knights have tried both their goalies in the OHL final but neither has managed to beat David Shantz yet.

The Peterborough puckstopper, who lost a game each to both Adam Dennis and Steve Mason in the regular season, has rebounded to beat them both when it counts most -- and has his Petes two games from a Memorial Cup berth following yesterday's 4-3 overtime win over the Knights at the Peterborough Memorial Centre.

"There haven't been very many nights where we've had to worry about our goaltending," Peterborough head coach Dick Todd said. "We've been very happy with him (since an off-season trade that sent Shantz to the Petes from Mississauga). He's the only one (on the Petes) who has played in May."

Shantz might have gone to Peterborough last year but a rumoured deal fell through at the last minute. He finished the season with the IceDogs.

"I heard there was a trade in the works at the deadline but it didn't end up happening," Shantz said. "I was excited to come here and it's been a good season."

However, no one has tested his patience like the Knights.

"It's almost like a waiting game against them," said Shantz, who kicked aside 33 shots for his 14th post-season win. "You have to be patient because they'll hold the puck to the last possible second (before shooting)."

Before the OHL final started, the biggest question mark for Peterborough was whether or not the six-foot-one, 190-pound Shantz could match Dennis, the league's top netminder, in the series' closely-fought contests.

That wasn't an issue yesterday with Mason starting in net for London. However, Shantz remembers -- as an 18-year-old rookie with the IceDogs -- being swept in four games by Dennis and the Guelph Storm in the 2004 final.

That's why the Petes' 6-5 victory in double overtime on Friday night at the John Labatt Centre was a huge confidence boost to Shantz. Not only was it his 20th birthday, but he won the marathon contest over his nemesis.

"It meant a lot because I finally won a game in an OHL final," the Florida Panthers prospect said. "I had played in it before and lost four straight."

Both Dennis and Shantz let in questionable goals in regulation but both goalies shone in overtime before Patrick Kaleta won it for the Petes.

"Usually, a goalie loses a lot of water during those longer games but I felt pretty good the whole time," the Hamilton native said. "You don't worry about what's happening at the other end too much."

So yesterday's mere 3:17 of overtime wouldn't have caused him to break a sweat. He has the Knights thinking, though, that they might have to change tactics against him.

"Maybe we have to change up a bit and shoot from anywhere," London forward Kris Belan said. "That's what they do and they charge the net hard to see if they can get a rebound or bank one in off a shin pad."


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