Three games a charm

STEVE GREEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

It wasn't of the Gordie Howe variety, but the London Knights completed a weekend hat trick of sorts last night.

Phil Varone and John Carlson scored and Trevor McCann made 19 saves as the Knights blanked Guelph 2-0 before 8,910 at the John Labatt Centre. It was the first win in three meetings with the Storm this season and put London, second in the OHL's Western Conference at 17-5-0-1, six points ahead of the third-place Storm (13-8-1-2) with a game in hand.

After a 6-5 shootout win over Barrie Friday night and a comfortable 6-2 win Saturday night in Plymouth, the Knights showed they can also win the tight defensive games.

"Every team we play against is going to have a different style and we have to be able to adjust," said Varone, who was the happiest person in the JLC when Carlson scored seconds after Guelph goalie Thomas McCollum was lifted for an extra attacker and Varone in the penalty box for hooking.

"This just shows the discipline we have. We focused on staying patient because we wanted them to play our game, not us play theirs. Our goal is still to catch Windsor, but if not, we've got to keep the (Midwest) division title."

Cann only had to make one tough save all night as his defence did a solid job, as did the London forwards.

"It's nice to see as a goalie, when their third man is coming in high in the slot, that your forwards are there stick-checking," Cann said. "It makes it a lot easier on the defencemen, too."

Cann, who came from Peterborough this season, was used to facing far more shots with the Petes. It's taken some adjusting to the somewhat lighter workload in London.

"Getting a lot of shots does make it easier for you to get into the game quickly, but you still have to stay focused. I think that was my problem Friday -- my mind wandered a bit and there are a couple of goals I would love to have back," Cann said. "I thought I did a better job this game of keeping my focus."

Playing against another of the league's top goalies helped.

"You don't want to change your approach, but you expect a good show out of the other guy and you want to match it," Cann said.

Knights assistant coach Pat Curcio praised the forwards.

"We're very pleased with the defensive-minded effort," he said. "Guys like Justin Taylor, Phil Varone, Kale Kerbashian and Akim Aliu were doing the little things that need to be done. We gave up a season-low three scoring chances and when you're only giving up three or four chances a game, odds are you're going to win."

London is on a six-game winning streak.

"We're happy with the way the guys are responding," Curcio said. "That said, it's still early and there are a lot of things that need to be improved over the rest of the season."

Both teams were playing their third game in as many nights and it showed.

"We had two emotional games coming in and we talked about playing tight defensively, but we didn't tell them not to go for the net," said Guelph head coach Jason Brooks. "We didn't generate enough chances and when we did, Cann made the save. It's a dogfight in this division and whether it's November or March, those two points can come back to bite you."

After a scoreless opening 20 minutes -- Carlson ringing one off the post was the best chance -- the second period almost followed suit. Varone, however, broke the deadlock with 1:47 left in the period.

GAME GLANCE

London goals: Phil Varone, John Carlson

Shutout: Trevor Cann, 19 saves

Next: London plays Peterborough, Cann's former team, at the John Labatt Centre Friday at 7:30 p.m.


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