Kane bests Buffalo buddy

RYAN PYETTE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:33 AM ET

GUELPH -- Growing up in Buffalo, Pat Kane shot a lot of pucks at Thomas McCollum.

All those old memories are starting to pay off in a big way for the London Knights.

With Buffalo's local CBS TV affiliate in town to follow the action, London's 18-year-old star rookie forward scored two clutch goals -- the first to force overtime and the second to win the game a minute into the extra session -- to cap a spectacular four-point game as the Knights shocked rookie goalie McCollum and the Storm with 4-3 win last night.

"A guy would organize some ice back home and he would come out and I would shoot at him," Kane said. "I remember he was really small and wasn't very good back then. But he's really grown and it's good to see him doing well. He got me on a couple early in the game but I was patient.

"(On the goals) I had all kinds of time so it was pretty easy. I just waited for him to give me some room. He went down on both of them, so I went high."

The tallies turned the tide in a thrilling personal battle between the Buffalo natives, both OHL all-stars this season. Kane got his revenge after being robbed by an acrobatic toe save in the second period and a glove save on a power play in the third.

"You give a guy like that time and space and he's going to score nine out of 10 times," McCollum said. "He just waited and waited. On the (tying) goal, he created space for himself. He's older than me and I remember playing with him a few times in the Empire Hockey League when I would go up or he would drop down."

Kane, who is positioning himself to be a favourite for the first pick in this summer's NHL draft, has 47 goals in 46 OHL games and has scored in each of his last 10 outings (19 goals over that span).

Guelph head coach Dave Barr, who signed McCollum as a free agent on direction from his New York scout, didn't mince words when asked if Kane was capable of playing in the big leagues right now.

"Yes," he said. "They're different players but if (Pittsburgh's Jordan) Staal can play, then so can he. He could be part of a power play (in the NHL) right now."

Both Barr and London head coach Dale Hunter remarked on Kane's ability to show patience with the puck and stick-handle without looking at it -- a trait not found in many 18-year-old junior hockey players.

"You don't see many 19-year-olds who can do what he can do, either," Barr said.

Hunter said Kane was able to pick the small shooting holes McCollum left because of that heads-up play.

"He doesn't have to look down to know where the puck is on his stick," Hunter said. "When you do that, you can pick your target like he did on those goals."

As an OHL scoring star and a potential first pick, Kane is starting to get a lot of media attention from his hometown outlets.

"I guess people were saying there was this kid in London they hadn't done a story on but they should start paying attention to," he said. "The Buffalo newspaper and now a few TV stations are starting to show some interest and it's a lot of fun."

London again put all its offensive eggs in one basket by piecing together a first line featuring its top three scorers -- Kane, Sam Gagner and Sergei Kostitsyn.

Down 2-0 through 20 minutes, London captain Robbie Drummond scored his 20th goal of the season to get the Knights rolling at the start of the second period. London tied it less than five minutes later on a goal-mouth scrum that went was awarded to Sam Gagner, then upheld by video review.

Guelph defenceman Corey Syvret, who has scored twice since being traded from London last month, assisted on Londoner Drew Doughty's opening power-play goal 3:19 into the first period.

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GAME GLANCE

Knights 4, Storm 3 (OT)

London goals: Pat Kane (2), Robbie Drummond, Sam Gagner

Guelph goals: Drew Doughty, Mike McLean (2)

Next: London faces the Brampton Battalion tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre.


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