Mason cements Knights victory

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 11:34 AM ET

KITCHENER -- The Kitchener Rangers ran over Steve Mason.

They sprayed snow in his face.

They peppered him and blasted away, including a 21-shot barrage during a seemingly endless third period, and still couldn't find a way to break the exhausted London Knights goalie.

Playing in his 15th consecutive game, Mason made 47 saves in his finest outing of the season and, just for good measure, turned aside a second-period penalty shot by Kitchener's Kevin Henderson to preserve a 4-2 London victory that snapped the Rangers' five-game win streak before 6,339 last night at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.

"I've said it before that goalies love to face a lot of shots -- it makes the game fun," said an elated Mason. "I faced that a couple times before. The timeout (in the final minute) helped because you're always tired when you're facing that many shots and it gives you a breather.

"Kitchener played hard, they went to the net hard and I just tried to hang in there and give our guys a chance to win."

The 18-year-old Oakville native and Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick was shaken up in the third after being run over by Rangers forward Nick Spaling. Mason stayed in to slam the door during a furious flurry in the final five minutes.

"I'm not hurt. I wanted this win and every once in a while it feels great to see a lot of shots," he said. "We were disappointed with losing here (4-1 on Oct. 24), so it was big for us to come up with a win here, especially with facing Guelph the next two days."

He'll likely see more rubber with trusty over-age defenceman Todd Perry facing suspension after a match penalty for kneeing Henderson in the second period.

The Knights are without fireplug forward Jordan Foreman, but were relieved to see Sam Gagner, the OHL's leading scorer, back weaving his offensive magic after sitting out last weekend with a sore groin.

Gagner scored the opener just over six minutes in, while Pat Kane struck 20 seconds later on his way to a four-point night. Kane has figured in London's last seven goals (four goals, three assists) and feels he's finally producing the way he expected when he joined the Knights this year.

"When you play with great players like Sergei Kostitsyn and the rest of these guys, you expect to get chances like that," said the 17-year-old Buffalo native. "Going five games without a goal was tough, but you go through that once in a while and you have to fight through it. It's obviously great to have Sam back. We scored early and then (Steve) Mason held us in there at the end.

"When you give up 50 shots and your goalie only allows two goals, that's something."

Kitchener's shooters need to start consulting forward Matt Halischuk more. The Rangers forward scored again and has six goals in three games against London, but his teammates haven't been able to solve the Mason mystery.

"The two differences in the game were the 20 seconds in the first period when Kane and Gagner scored and the fact Steve Mason had an answer for us," said Rangers head coach Peter DeBoer.

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GAME GLANCE

Knights 4, Rangers 2

London goals: Pat Kane (2), Sam Gagner, Sergei Kostitsyn

Kitchener goals: Matt Halischuk, Robert Bortuzzo

Next: The Knights play a home- and-home with the Guelph Storm, tonight at 7 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre and tomorrow in Guelph at 3 p.m.


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