Knights get holiday treat

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

London avoids a lost weekend by beating Sarnia 3-2 prior to the Christmas break.

It's the present you really wanted but didn't think you'd get.

It just makes your Christmas all that more jolly.

The London Knights came out of Sarnia with two points last night, beating the Sting 3-2 in a shootout in an Ontario Hockey League game.

It was the last game before Christmas for the two teams.

The Knights went into the game having lost four of five, showing little to indicate they could come out with a win.

But they got solid goaltending from Steve Mason, shut down the Sting in the third period and waited for their shootout magic to take over.

The Knights somehow held things together in a gritty, not-pretty but entertaining game to pull out the win.

Knights captain Rob Drummond scored on the fourth shootout attempt to put the Knights up. Then Mason stopped former Knight Harrison Reed to make Christmas just a little happier for the Knights.

"Give them credit, they played a good road game. It was typical London fashion. They find a way to win," Sting coach Dave MacQueen said. "They get some big saves from Steve Mason and then go from there."

Winning tough games is something MacQueen hopes his club eventually learns.

"Until you start believing you can win every night . . ." he said. "Some teams have it. Some teams don't and some teams are trying to get it."

The Knights found a way to win to end a less than picturesque weekend. With so many players injured or missing because of world junior commitments, this break couldn't come soon enough for them.

The Knights don't play again until Dec. 29 and won't have an official practice until after Christmas.

"We needed to bounce back and we needed this break," Drummond said. "We need to rest and relax. This was a good win because we needed to bounce back."

The Knights lost two home games, to the Guelph Storm and Windsor Spitfires, to start the weekend.

Drummond beat Sting netminder Parker Van Buskirk with a shot between the legs.

Dave Meckler had scored on the first shot in the shootout, which was answered immediately by Justin DiBenedetto for the Sting.

"I actually was going to deke, but when I went in I saw it was open so I shot it there," said Drummond, who was sporting an upper lip with a couple of stitches in it thanks to a thundering check by the Sting's Ryan Wilson.

There aren't many Knights players who don't have some sort of battle scars in what's been a tough couple of weeks.

But with so many players out of the Knights lineup, it's given youngsters like Glen McCarron a chance for some icetime. The London Junior Knight graduate who is playing Junior B for the London Nationals has seized that opportunity to do some good work.

He scored the Knights' opening goal, his second of the season despite limited play. Whatever McCarron has, he gives you every shift on the ice.

"This has been a great experience for me," McCarron said. "Everything I've learned is going to help me when I go back (to junior B.)"

McCarron understands he has to make the most of the ice time he gets.

"As a young player you know that your role gets smaller and smaller the more you move up in hockey until you earn more ice time," he said. "All I'm trying to do is prove that I can play at this level and earn more ice time.

"I just hope that (coach Dale Hunter) notices me and thinks I can play in this league."

It was another tough loss for the Sting. The last time these two teams met, the Sting lost in the last minute of overtime when Sergei Kostitsyn scored while killing a two-man short situation for the Knights.

The Sting haven't played poorly against the Knights, they just can't seem to win.

GAME GLANCE

Knights 3, Sting 2 (SO)

London goals: Glen McCarron, David Meckler

Sarnia goals: Steven Reese, Justin DiBenedetto

Next: After the Christmas break, the Barrie Colts come to the John Labatt on Dec. 29. The Sting are in Sault Ste. Marie against the Greyhounds the same night.


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