March 4, 2011
Knights muster just six shots on goalFormer captain Michael D'Orazio thanks Hunters for trading him to a contender
By RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency
MISSISSAUGA — The Igor Bobkov Effect apparently only works against fellow goalie Mark Visentin.
Dave Cameron is clearly exempt from all the magic.
The big London Knights netminder, in the crease when Russia stormed back to win world-junior gold, beat Visentin, the Canadian and Niagara IceDogs puckstopper, in their first post-Buffalo OHL meeting.
But he couldn’t haunt Canada’s silver-medal head coach again.
Cameron’s Memorial Cup host Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors peppered Bobkov for three goals in the first period — outshooting the Knights 15-0 in the opening 20 minutes — and sent London to its fourth straight loss 5-0 in a Rogers Sportsnet-televised game Friday night at the Hershey Centre.
The Knights only managed six shots on Missy goalie JP Anderson.
Bobkov’s buddy, Maxim Kitsyn, the only other gold medal-winning Russian in the Canadian Hockey League, scored the Majors’ second goal. Devante Smith-Pelly buried the other two in that opening blitz.
The Knights had a couple of scoring chances in the first period, but obviously, couldn’t hit the net, even on the period’s lone power play.
But don’t expect London to talk about getting any breaks from the officials.
They were irate at referee Darren Price when he collided with Stephen Sanza in the Mississauga corner early in the first and knocked the puck loose. The Majors roared down the ice and scored the game’s first goal and Price got an earful from London head coach Dale Hunter and Sanza.
It wasn’t just world-junior participants getting re-acquainted in London’s lone visit to the rink where the Memorial Cup will be held in late May.
The Knights also faced a couple of familiar faces, including their old captain.
Michael D’Orazio, dealt to the Memorial Cup host Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors at the OHL deadline in January, has yet to be replaced.
No one has worn the ‘C’ for the Knights since he left.
The only guy with an ‘A’ on his sweater is fellow overager Sanza, who’s in his first full OHL season.
“I’m kinda surprised (about the captaincy) and I still talk to some of the guys,” D’Orazio said, “but it’s like I said at the start of the year, when Dale didn’t name one for a couple of months.
“It’s his team and if he doesn’t want a captain, he must have a pretty good reason for it. I can understand why he might not. They’ve been playing pretty well (since the trade deadline) and they probably don’t want to screw anything up by naming a captain.”
The old leader was, in fact, a little jittery to face this young and new Knights crew.
“I’m kind of nervous,” the 20-year-old said before the contest. “A lot of old teammates, a lot of old friends. I played in London for a year-and-a-half and I absolutely enjoyed every minute of it.”
The former Owen Sound first-rounder rejuvenated his career with the Knights. He knows the Hunters did him a good turn by flipping him and sparkplug Chris DeSousa to Mississauga for their final half-seasons of junior hockey.
“They gave me the chance to come here and play for the big Cup,” the defenceman said. “I owe them a lot for that. It’s an opportunity everyone wants in their career and a great way to finish. I’m hoping we’re able to go on a long playoff run here and do something special.”
He has been his steady self for a Majors back end that includes Londoner Dylan DeMelo. Mississauga needed a point against London to top the previous franchise record of 90 points in one season.
But were GM and coach Dave Cameron’s moves enough to put the Eugene Melnyk-owned Majors over the top this year?
For many, the D’Orazio deal spoke to the high price being asked for talent in the OHL this year. Cameron had to part with three future second-round picks to pry him out of London.
“I can’t control what I went for,” he said. “To me, it’s a compliment that I went for that many picks. In London, I owed a lot to the coaches, especially Jacques (Beaulieu) for helping me out. I feel like I’m a playoff performer (after last year) and I hope I contribute when it counts the most.”
Majors 5, Knights 0
Mississauga goals: Devante Smith-Pelly (2), Maxim Kitsyn (2), Michael D’Orazio
Shutout: JP Anderson
Next: The Knights head to Guelph for a huge tilt with the Storm on Friday at 7:30 p.m.