Mississauga dominates game

London Knights  Andreas Athanasiou and Gregg Sutch of the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors pursue...

London Knights Andreas Athanasiou and Gregg Sutch of the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors pursue the puck along the boards during the first period of an OHL game at the John Labatt Centre in London. (SUE REEVE The London Free Press)

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:01 AM ET

The Mississauga St. Michael's Majors don't have the words flashy, slick, high-powered or dynamic in their lineup.

But after their 4-1 Friday against the London Knights at the John Labatt Centre, they do have 24 wins out of 27 games proving positively that works like discipline, efficient, consistent and nerveless give you as much success, if not more.

"There's not much I can tell you," said Knights assistant coach Jacques Beaulieu after the loss. "We played pretty well against a good team but we broke down a few times and they took advantage of it.

"They are very robotic. They trap well. They play their systems well. They don't give you much. That's why they've only lost three games."

As Beaulieu walked away he had one more thing to say.

"Efficient. That's a good word. They are efficient," he said.

Londoner Rob Flick, who scored his 13th goal of the year for the Majors, says the Majors have a lot to accomplish. Even though the Majors are guaranteed a spot at the Memorial Cup as the host team, they want to go in the front door.

"We're a simple team," Flick said. "We're still the same old simple team. We like to get pucks behind the defence, finish hits."

Simple, robotic and successful.

Beaulieu was right, there wasn't much to say about the game. No one will ever mistake Friday's game as wild and woolly. There was a combined 66 shots on goal but not a lot of chances. There were only four penalties in a game that took two hours and four minutes to finish.

But none of that really matters to the Majors. They never strayed from their game plan. They waited for their breaks against surprise London starter Igor Bobkov and no matter how long a play took to develop, that's how long they waited to do something with the puck.

But when they did get an opening, something good happened in the blink of an eye.

The Majors' first three goals came off great passes when nothing looked open. Their patience was a beautiful thing.

"We're an old team," Flick said. "We were good last year and added some more guys this year with experience so we know how to play."

There are no eye-popping superstars on this team. Justin Shugg and Casey Cizikas are about as close as the Majors have to a star.

But they are strong up and down the lineup and they play they way coach Dave Cameron asks them to play.

When the Majors did make a mistake behind the blue-line, goaltender J.P. Anderson was there to bail them out.

Trying to rattle them was what the Knights tried to do early. Chris DeSousa was especially active in the hitting department. But too few Knights followed suit.

"I always try and have a physical presence," DeSousa said. "But they have a veteran team and they know what they are doing out there. No defenceman likes to see a guy coming hard at him all game and that's what I try and do to make them make mistakes.

"We just got to go hard on our forecheck. We have to have everyone going and make them make mistakes."

DeSousa says that what you see in the lineup doesn't look like it could produce what's in the standings.

"On paper you wouldn't say they are as good as some of the powerhouses last year," he said. "But they are technically very good and they play their systems to a 'T'."

The Knights have struggled over the last few weeks and even though the Majors are the best team in the OHL right now, the Knights hoped they could build on a big win in Owen Sound on Wednesday.

"It is frustrating not to win two games in a row," DeSousa said. "But there's an improvement in the last two games. It would have been nice to get four points, especially against those two teams, but we can still make a good weekend out of this by winning (against Plymouth Saturday."

The win was the Majors 10th in a row and 18th in their last 19 games.

Majors 4, Knights 1

Mississauga goals: Mississauga-Devante Smith-Pelly 2, Rob Flick, Casey Cizikas

London goal: Stephen Sanza.

Next game: The Knights travel to Plymouth to play the Whalers Saturday, 7:05.


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