Goalie debate goes on

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

All signs point to Trevor Cann guarding the London Knights net in do-or-die Game 5 tonight at the WFCU Centre.

"Right now, we don't know what's going to happen," London assistant coach Pat Curcio said. "It'll probably be a game-time decision."

The red-headed goalie's streak of 12 straight playoff appearances this spring stopped when he served as backup to Brantford junior B goalie Daryl Borden in a 5-4 overtime loss to Windsor in Game 4 Monday. Cann practised yesterday with the Knights; Borden, whose Sutherland Cup final series starts tomorrow in Dundas, didn't.

"They've both played a lot of hockey lately," London GM Mark Hunter said. "I thought Daryl was OK (stopping 25 of 30 shots but surrendering Andrei Loktionov's overtime winner). The puck hit a shin pad. We'll talk about it some more."

As it turned out, different goalie, same result.

The Knights explained the surprise goalie switch by indicating they thought Cann, in net for the first three games of the series, looked a little tired and unfocused at different points.

They hope he roars back like a caged tiger in his next starting assignment.

"(If he starts tonight) Trevor should have that fire in his belly now," London goalie coach Dave Rook said. "He should play like he's got nothing to lose because he doesn't. He's a good goalie. Everyone knows it."

The 20-year-old Colorado Avalanche draft pick is playing for a pro contract but he's come under fire in this series. The Knights don't need him to stop every puck -- just one more each game than undrafted Windsor goalie Andrew Engelage.

The big Spits keeper's confidence has grown and he played his best game of the series in Game 4, denying sniper John Tavares on a potential winner and Phil Varone twice in the late going.

"I already had my hands in the air (to celebrate)," Tavares said. "He got a piece of it with his stick (and it hit the post) so that was a bad break. Four overtimes, it could've gone either way every game. Game 1, the overtime winner hit my stick and went in so that was another tough one.

"It's just one shot. There's no panic. We just need to make sure we get more traffic in front and pucks on net."

Tavares said he isn't struggling with lingering shoulder pain and no injury is limiting his ability to shoot.

"The shoulder's pretty much there (100%)," Tavares said. "It's not the same as it was (before Windsor's Taylor Hall hit him on Feb. 6) but it's not affecting anything right now."

After a rare pointless outing in Game 4, Tavares received a dressing-room visit from New York Islanders owner Charles Wang and GM Garth Snow. The club won the right to pick first in the NHL draft in June.

"It was the first time I met them," the 18-year-old Tavares said. "It was overwhelming to talk to NHL guys like that."

Varone, who just missed being London's hero a second time in the series on Monday, needed stitches after being hit in the face with the puck.

"He'll be ready to go, he's fine," Curcio said.

Defensive tandem Michael Del Zotto and John Carlson has been ready to play each and every game of the playoffs. They combined for all three goals in London's late third-period rally to force overtime, including Del Zotto having to toe-drag around his own sliding player before scoring the Knights' third goal.

"It was Naz (Kadri) and I never had to do that before and didn't know if I'd get the shot off," he said. "We felt, as defencemen, we had to jump up in the play there, especially when we were down in the third. This has been a different series but we've proven to ourselves and everyone we can play with them and beat them.

"Now, we just have to go out and do it."

"We know we can win in their rink," Tavares said. "So if we get this one, then we're back home in front of our fans for Game 6 and in a Game 7, anything can happen."

The Spitfires get tough guy Richard Greenop back tonight after he served a five-game bullying suspension against Plymouth.

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca

Knights vs. Spitfires

Series: Windsor leads best-of-seven OHL Western Conference final 3-1

Game 5: Tonight, 7:30 p.m. in Windsor


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