Skip to content

Deserving Daws answers the call against the London Knights (6 photos)

Backup goaltender makes 30 saves in emotional win at the Sleeman Centre

Starting backup goaltender Nico Daws against the London Knights Wednesday was not a hunch being played by coach George Burnett.

Daws has won his last six starts and was coming off a solid outing in Owen Sound last Saturday.

So Burnett went with Daws and the 18-year-old Burlington native responded with a great game, holding the Storm close until they could get the offence going in what ended up a 5-1 win before almost 5,000 at the Sleeman Centre.

"He deserved to get an opportunity tonight and he was terrific," Burnett said.

"He was calm and under control all night long, was calm and made some monster saves when it was 1-1 and when we were behind by one.

"He's played significantly more than he did a year ago, he's deserved to play more. He's probably deserved to play a little bit more than he has."

Daws made 30 saves, several of them brilliant ones, and was the prime reason London went 0-for-7 on the power play.

"I was just really excited. I've never played against London before, it was definitely cool to be part of that rivalry," said Daws.

"My last couple of starts I think I've played pretty well. Obviously my confidence is building."

The game was an chippy, emotional affair against two teams that could meet in the second round of the playoffs.

"I try to stay in my own little bubble to keep me focused," Daws said of avoiding getting caught up in the emotion of the game. "When I get out of the bubble it doesn't go too well."

With two games left in the regular season, Guelph is cemented in fourth place and they will face the Kitchener Rangers in the first round of the playoffs.

The loss for London puts them in danger of surrendering first overall to the Saginaw Spirit.

The Knights were actually the better team for the first 30 minutes of the game but led just 1-0 thanks to Daws.

Guelph came to life with a Nate Schnarr goal with 4:40 left in the second period then scored four unanswered goals in the third period.

"There's lots of momentum swings in a game and that first goal was important for us," Burnett said. "(London) spent about two minutes in our zone just before that goal."

Guelph will host the Erie Otters on Friday then wrap up the regular season in Erie on Saturday.

Burnett said it's likely some more call-ups will fill out the lineup as he rests some players for the playoffs, which open in Guelph March 22.

"We've got to do what's best for us," Burnett said.