Mason stymies Generals

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 10:34 AM ET

OSHAWA -- The London Knights didn't do a lot of wheeling and dealing at this week's OHL trade deadline.

It won't matter if forward Sergei Kostitsyn and goalie Steve Mason keep playing the way they did last night.

Kostitsyn racked up four points and scored on his shootout attempt while Mason made several unbelievable saves -- including a couple of door-slammers on Oshawa's 39-goal man John Tavares -- as London reeled off a 5-4 shootout victory over the Generals before 3,641 at the new General Motors Centre.

London forward David Meckler, who's struggled around the net lately, scored the breakaway contest winner with a shot initially stopped by goalie Loic Lacasse that popped into the air over him and rolled in.

Knight Sam Gagner, the 17-year-old world junior gold medallist for Canada, scored twice and sent it to the extra session with 1:53 left in the third period with his 20th goal of the season.

"It was a good win," said Kostitsyn, the Belarus native who skated in his first game for London since returning from the world junior championship in Sweden. "It feels different (than the world juniors) because the rink is smaller. Mace (Mason) was good -- every game."

Two months ago, the Generals beat the Knights in overtime at the John Labatt Centre and pesky Cal Clutterbuck knocked out Knights defenceman Scott Aarssen for a month-and-a-half with a shoulder injury. The Oshawa forward had a productive night -- a short-handed goal and power-play marker -- but was in the penalty box when Gagner tied it.

"It all comes around," said Knights head coach Dale Hunter. "He (Clutterbuck) takes a penalty and we score with him in there."

Meckler, a 22-goal scorer so far this season, is hoping his shootout tally sparks him to a couple more regulation goals, perhaps tonight against last-place Erie.

"Any goal's a good goal and it can get you going," the 19-year-old Illinois native said. "We got the win but we gave up too many chances. We have to start winning as a team. We can't keep relying on Mason. He's amazing, though."

Mason, the big Columbus Blue Jackets prospect, who robbed Dale Mitchell with a brilliant toe save on a breakaway in overtime to force the shootout, is a big reason why the Knights have won 16 of 19 road games and are still talked about among the league's elite.

Gagner and Pat Kane, two more reasons London likes its current roster, reunited on the ice with the Knights for the first time in nearly a month and the deadly duo combined on their team's first two goals.

Despite the lengthy absence of Kane, Gagner and Kostitsyn, London still boasts the OHL's top power play and it operated at full capacity (three-for-five) against an Oshawa team ranked last in the league in penalty killing.

Clutterbuck didn't have to drop the gloves, but Jordan Foreman tangled with Oshawa toughie Kody Musselman -- a rematch from the days when the General wore Sarnia Sting colours -- three seconds in.

Newest Knight Trevor Solomon, a second cousin of New York Islanders head coach Ted Nolan, made his debut on the London blue-line after arriving from Guelph in a trade that sent Corey Syvret to the Storm.

Czech defenceman Jakub Korinek, who the Knights picked up from Sudbury because the Wolves had a surplus of imports after acquiring goalie Sebastian Dahm from Sarnia, met his new teammates but didn't suit up.

"It's always tough to go to a new team but this seems like a good group of guys," said the 19-year-old Solomon, with his fourth club. "I was always in a rivalry with London from my days in Sarnia, then the Soo and Guelph, and I'm happy to be with this organization."

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GAME GLANCE

Knights 5, Generals 4

London wins shootout 2-1

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

Oshawa goals: Cal Clutterbuck (2), Igor Gongalsky, Peter Aston

Next: The Knights return home to face the Erie Otters tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre.


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