Drummond saves best for OT

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

WINDSOR -- Robbie Drummond missed three glorious scoring chances in a head-scratching first period, leaving many to wonder if he had reverted to his old, snake-bitten ways on offence.

But the London captain simply saved his firepower for the most dramatic moment of the hockey game.

Drummond bagged the overtime winner with a minute to go as the Knights ascended from a three-goal hole to beat the Windsor Spitfires 5-4 before 2,730 last night at Windsor Arena.

"I went far corner on him (Windsor goalie Anthony Guadagnolo) and got a good shot away," the 20-year-old said of his fifth goal in six games this season. "They gave me some room down the side and I took advantage of it.

"It was a good win. We had a slow start, which is to be expected because it was our third game in four nights and we hadn't gone through that yet this year. They jumped on us pretty good, but we picked it up when we had to. There's no panic in here."

That composure is a big reason why the Knights remain the only team in the OHL without a regulation loss.

Passing another early season test, London's newcomer-laden cast encountered its first real intimidating environment and didn't fade away from the atmosphere.

How hostile was it? One of the PA announcers continually encouraged fans to "Welcome back the Waterboy" -- Windsor's unofficial nickname for Knights trainer Don Brankley.

"That's the first time they've ever done that" over the loudspeaker, Brankley said. "It's kind of funny, the welcome back stuff, because I never went away. I've always been here."

Knights newcomer David Meckler scored twice in the second period for his third two-goal game in his last four outings. Then highly touted NHL prospect Pat Kane popped two more in the third period for the 4-3 lead before Windsor's Keaton Turkiewicz replied with 3:25 on the clock -- and five seconds remaining in an elbowing penalty to London tough guy Jordan Shine -- to send the game to overtime.

"Dale (head coach Dale Hunter) just told us there were a lot of penalties in the first period and not to worry about that," said Kane, 17.

"We weren't worried about the crowd or the arena. It was loud in Erie, too. They got a couple of goals there and a flukey one (that London defenceman Scott Aarssen accidentally directed past goalie Steve Mason on the rebound of a Craig Voakes blast). We just had to get past that and our leaders lead by example, not by saying much.

"Even when they tied it late, we still felt we were going to win the game."

That attitude, plus the constant influx of talented and timely scorers, is what has separated London from the rest of the league's Western conference the past few years and the opposition notices.

"London is London -- ever since I've been in the league, they've played the same way," Turkiewicz said. "They have a bunch of finesse guys who can hurt you if you don't play the whole game. You have to be patient, but you want to play the body on them. You can't sit back.

"We would've liked the two points and we came out hard, but the bounces even out. We got a few in the first period and Pat Kane had a lucky one on one of his in the third period."

In the battle of what some feel might be the league's top two netminders, Mason made 34 stops in the London net while Guadagnolo kicked aside 37 London shots. Give Round 1 to 18-year-old Mason.

Meanwhile, Jordan Foreman sat out the second game of his two-game suspension for engaging the Sudbury bench on Friday night. He's eligible to return for the Spits rematch Friday and, judging from the first period yesterday, the Knights could use his enthusiasm and Clarke's work ethic.

London defenceman Corey Syvret and Windsor's Jordan Nolan both face discipline for taking part in the second fight in the same stoppage of play in the second period.

The two tussled after London defenceman Todd Perry scrapped with Spits forward Cory McGillis, who was handed a fight instigator penalty for jumping in and engaging Perry after the Knight cross-checked a Windsor player.

"I don't think there was anything left over (from a spirited exhibition tilt in London)," Turkiewicz said. "Windsor-London always has some heat to it and there were a couple of fights. I thought our guys showed well."

GAME GLANCE

Knights 5, Spitfires 4 (OT)

London goals: David Meckler (2), Pat Kane (2) and Robbie Drummond with the winner with a minute left in overtime.

Windsor goals: Cory McGillis, Craig Voakes, Thomas Battani, Keaton Turkiewicz

Next: London faces Windsor again Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre.


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