Cann proving himself as a Knights leader

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

MISSISSAUGA -- On the excitement scale, the needle barely jiggled.

It looked as if everyone was in a hurry to get out of the Hershey Centre so they could catch the late Sunday afternoon football games.

In fact, most everyone stayed home to watch the early games.

Not that any of that mattered to the London Knights. They put in an efficient, workman-like, clean 2-0 win yesterday over the Mississauga St. Mike's Majors.

An announced crowd of 1,847 attended the Ontario Hockey League game. Those in attendance were treated to, well, not very much really.

The atmosphere didn't help but aside from a couple of fights, there wasn't much to get the meagre gathering off their seats.

That's no criticism of the Knights. Even though the Knights only scored two goals, they were never in any sort of trouble. They scored in each of the first two periods and then allowed newly acquired netminder Trevor Cann to handle the rest. They did what they had to do to win.

There wasn't a lot for him to do but he gave a pretty good glimpse of why the Knights traded for him from the Peterborough Petes.

He was cool, showed no nerves and went about the business of stopping whatever shots came his way. He made 24 saves to earn the shutout.

"His composure is unbelievable," said Knights assistant coach Pat Curcio. "We expected some nerves. He stepped in and was a leader. He was confident. He handled the puck very well and he's only going to get better."

Cann's happy with how his first two games as a Knight have gone. He knows they brought him in for an extended run through the OHL and he understands the pressure he faces playing for a city that's been used to winning.

"Coming into a new city you have something to prove," Cann said. "First game on he road, you want to get the win.

"For sure (you feel the pressure.) You come here and you want them to be comfortable with you. You never want to come here and have them second-guess whether they made the right move or not. You want to let them know they made the right decision."

Cann didn't have a lot of difficult stops to make but he gave out few rebounds and made the few tough stops he had look easy.

"He wasn't fazed by anything," Curcio said. "That's the confidence that has impressed the coaches. He's elite."

He's not the only one. The best play of the day didn't even result in a shot on goal. It was made by Knights defenceman John Carlson.

With the Knights up by just a goal, Majors' Casey Cizikas broke in alone from centre ice. It didn't look as if anyone had a prayer of catching him. But the six-foot-three Carlson chewed up ice with enormous strides and caught Cizikas at the top of the circle, lifting his stick and taking the puck from him.

"That's why he's a No. 1 NHL pick," Curcio said. "That was a professional play. The only thing you can say is elite, he's elite as well."

The Knights haven't lost in regulation time when Carlson has been in the lineup. His play is one reason the Knights gave up so few chances yesterday. It's something Cann noticed.

"Shots are a big difference," Cann said. "In Peterborough I was used to 40-plus a game. Today there was 24. You just have to find a way to stay mentally sharp. You just run through plays mentally to keep your mind going."

Curcio's assurance Cann will only get better should be comforting for a team whose biggest question mark at the beginning of the year was in net.

"The guys have been really good," Cann said. "You just have to get used to the surroundings, being in London, stuff like that. At first it felt surreal but the guys make you feel welcome. They make you feel like part of the team. It makes it easier."

It couldn't get much easier than yesterday.

GAME GLANCE Knights 2, Majors 0

London goals: Phil McRae, Nazem Kadri.

Shutout: Trevor Cann

Next: Friday, 7:30 p.m., JLC, against the Barrie Colts.


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