Knights grind for another win

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

MISSISSAUGA -- When scoring is an issue, you take whatever you can get, wherever you can get it.

Defenceman Steve Tarasuk, with his fourth goal of the season, Jared Knight and Leigh Salters, with their second each, led the Knights to 3-2 win over St. Michael's Majors Sunday in Ontario Hockey League play.

While Tarasuk has been having a great year offensively, Knight and Salters aren't supposed to be the main guys offensively.

But the Knights are suffering a power shortage. The guys they expected to be their top scorers haven't been able to find the net on a regular basis.

They've been shooting blanks.

In step Knight and Salters to make the weekend a time to give thanks.

Knight gave the Knights a 2-1 lead and then Salters fired the winner with little more than 10 minutes left to secure the victory.

It wasn't as if the Knights lacked for chances.

They outshot the Majors 35-33 and had about 15 shots blocked by the St. Mike's defence. The Knights also blew about 10 great chances wide of the net.

Especially frustrating for the Knights was a span in the second period when they were given four two-on-one rushes in succession. Phil Varone was the only one who managed a shot and that one hit the post.

"It feels really good to be able to contribute that way," Salters said. "I don't often get a chance to get on the board with a game-winning goal. It's nice to be able to get on the point sheet and help out in other ways other than hitting."

The Knights have scored five goals in their last three games. Goaltender Michael Hutchinson was solid again Sunday, so they continue to be successful, but they were 0-for-six on the power play. That specialty unit ranks No. 13 in the league, an unusual position for the Knights.

Salters gives you what he has. He says he expects the scorers to come around and that the other guys don't feel pressure to have to pick up the slack.

"When guys aren't scoring, you try and do what you can," he said. "When guys aren't scoring you try and hit, backcheck, do the little things to get that bounce. When the big guys aren't scoring, you have to know your role . . . and do it to the best of your ability."

The hope for Knight was that he'd have a breakout year. He can skate, has good hands and doesn't mind getting into tight spaces.

"Obviously, the last couple of games I haven't really been doing anything," Knight said. "I thought, get the legs moving, throw your body around and something good would happen to me. The big thing is we got the win."

Knight's goal was a case of him going to the net hard. Nazem Kadri chipped the puck off the boards, Knight used his speed to beat a Majors' defenceman and he tracked to the net, flipping the puck over goalie Chris Carrozzi.

"It was (a relief to score) because there was a couple of games when I wasn't getting any chances," Knight said. "I came in and really wanted to shoot the puck.

"Like (coach Dale Hunter says), shoot the puck and good things happen. That's what I did tonight and it went in. But like I said, we got the win and that's what's important."

There's no panic, Knight says.

"We have great players here. They'll come around. We just have to shoot the puck."

At the other end of the rink, the Knights limited St. Mike's to few good chances in the first two periods. Only in the third period, when the Majors pushed, did the Knights have some trouble in their own zone.

The Knights aren't deep on defence. Scott Harrington is still out with a broken wrist. Scott Worrad played in St. Thomas on the weekend. Tucker Hunter has been moved to the blue-line.

In the glass-half-full scenario, while the Knights have only scored five goals in two games, they've only given up five as well.

morris.dallacosta@sunmedia.ca

Knights 3, Majors 2

London goals: Steve Tarasuk, Jared Knight, Leigh Salters.

St. Mike's goals: Jordan Mayer, Devante Smith-Pelly.

Next game: vs. Barrie Friday, 7:30 p.m., John Labatt Centre.


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