Knights repel Attack in shootout

RYAN PYETTE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:07 AM ET

OWEN SOUND -- The current London Knights won't ever be mistaken for the powerhouse club that captured the Memorial Cup two years ago.

But they do share one quality with their predecessors: road dominance.

London picked up its 28th road victory to tie an OHL regular-season record set by the 2004-05 Knights squad -- the team some refer to as the best in Canadian Hockey League history -- with a 7-6 shootout victory before 2,922 yesterday afternoon at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.

The Knights also reached 100 points for the fourth straight season, an OHL record.

"Twenty-eight road wins -- you can't ask for much more than that," said London forward Adam Perry, whose first period marker made him the second member of his family to score 40 goals in one season. "It's a nice achievement. We just try to play a simple game on the road. We try to get the bus legs out early and work as hard as we can. That's been successful for us."

Seven of the road victories this year came via the shootout and Corey Perry and the Cup champs never had the opportunity to compete in the breakaway contests. Nevertheless, the 2006-07 Knights can claim the record for themselves with a road win in their final game of the season Saturday at Erie.

London goalie Steve Mason made 59 saves in regulation and overtime to cement some history of his own with his 44th victory to tie ex-teammate and former top OHL netminder Adam Dennis' single-season record from a year ago.

"Adam set the standard with 44 wins and I'm glad I was able to equal him because he's a guy I looked up to last year," Mason said. "I'd like to have a chance to play (one or both of the next two games) and pass him but whatever the coaches decide, I'm fine with."

Mason may get that shot because London has two games left and remains tied with Plymouth in the race for the OHL regular-season title and first seed in the Western conference for the playoffs. Plymouth finishes ahead of London if they finish with the same record, because the Whalers beat the Knights 3-1 in their season series.

Mason stoned three Owen Sound forwards in the shootout, which he forced by stopping Wayne Simmonds on a short-handed breakaway at the end of overtime.

"You always like to shut down shooters and you hope you rattle a few of them when you do," Mason said.

London forward David Meckler, who sat out Friday's game in Guelph with a bruise on his foot, returned to the lineup and scored a third-period goal and provided the shootout winner.

"I love to play hockey and I wanted to get right back in the lineup because it had been the first game I missed all year," the 19-year-old from Highland Park, Ill., said. "With the playoffs coming up, I didn't want to be going in on one leg. We've done well in the shootout this year. It helps to have a number of skilled guys and you have to know what you want to do, you have to have a plan."

The two teams traded a flurry of goals in the third period before Owen Sound captain Bobby Ryan completed a hat trick with just 1:59 left to force overtime. The game-tying goal was the big Attack forward's 132nd of his OHL career and set a franchise record.

"The kids worked hard," tight-lipped head coach Dale Hunter. "The kids worked hard."

London forward Andrew Wilkins left the game in the second period after being slammed heavily into the end boards while skating at full speed by Owen Sound defenceman Elgin Reid. He didn't return to the game but, despite some cuts and bruises on his face, said he was feeling fine.

GAME GLANCE

Knights 7, Attack 6 (SO)

(London wins shootout 2-1)

London goals: Matt Clarke, Adam Perry, Sergei Kostitsyn (2), Pat Kane, David Meckler

Owen Sound goals: Trevor Lewis, Howie Martin, Bobby Ryan (3), Scott Tregunna

Next: London closes out the regular season with a home-and-home series with the Erie Otters , Friday night at the JLC and Saturday night in Erie.


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