Hutchison backstops win

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:24 AM ET

OSHAWA -- Michael Hutchinson was flustered just once.

The London Knights goalie went behind his net and got all tangled up with a State Farm advertisement that came loose from the end boards at the General Motors Centre.

Aren't insurance companies supposed to save the day instead of complicating matters?

"I don't know what happened there," the 19-year-old puckstopper said with a grin. "Luckily, I was still able to play it and get the puck up the boards."

He looked just like a Christmas present until a linesman helped get the sticky sign off his body.

But big Hutchinson also helped gift-wrap a couple of rare road points for the Knights with 32 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Oshawa Generals before 4,311 last night.

"These are the kinds of points we can't give away,"Hutchinson said. "I'm a veteran in this league and all you want to is give your team a chance to win these games."

The Knights have only won two of their past seven on the road.

They won in the Sault because Hutchinson played Superman.

And they won last night because the Barrie native kept his composure after former Knights first rounder Christian Thomas played pinball in the third to tie it.

Hutchinson didn't get discouraged when the Knights couldn't score on a late two-man advantage. In fact, he stopped defenceman Calvin de Haan on a breakaway with a perfectly-placed paddle.

Then, he shut the Generals down on their own five-on-three and held the fort until Justin Taylor and Nazem Kadri took over.

"We need him,"Kadri said. "You need your No. 1 goalie to come up big for you, especially on the penalty kill.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he stole a few games for us down the stretch."

He's a main reason for London to have hope.

The Windsor Spitfires are loaded again.

The defending Memorial Cup champs haven't lost a regulation or overtime game in their past 17. They bombed the Guelph Storm yesterday.

But someone will have to try to take them down.

It might as well be the Knights, who squeaked by the last-place, struggling Generals

With Windsor rolling, the Midwest division champ will likely get the conference's second seed this spring.

The Knights go back to Kitchener tomorrow night to play on the post-Skate Canada International figure skating ice at the Aud down two points to the Rangers, who lost 6-3 in Ottawa.

"That's what you want -- a chance to decide it head-to-head," Kadri said. "Kitchener lost and we go in there with another chance to beat them and get into top spot (again)."

First, Hutchinson and Kadri go to Windsor today for another leg of the Canada-Russia Subway Super Series. Zac Rinaldo, who served the third and final game of his suspension for slugging Saginaw's Barry Sanderson last Saturday, will go with them.

Kadri took verbal and physical abuse all game. Every time he's within shouting distance of Toronto, he's the star attraction.

Oshawa's Andy Andreoff and Jeff Brown chirped him all game. Scott Valentine delivered a couple of big hits on him.

Kadri was booed when he scored and for his second star turn.

"Yeah, they were talking but it's what happens in the end that decides (who gets the last laugh)," Kadri said.

Good goalies always think that way, too.

Hutchinson didn't like the way he played in Kitchener 10 days ago. The Knights lost 6-4 despite a late rally.

"I didn't feel like I gave our guys a chance," he said. "I was disappointed by it."

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca

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Knights 4, Generals 1

London goals: Leigh Salters, Justin Taylor, Jared Knight, Nazem Kadri

Oshawa goal: Christian Thomas

Next: The Knights get another shot at the Midwest Division-leading Rangers tomorrow at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. Game time is 7 p.m.


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