Knights took bark out of IceDogs

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 6:10 PM ET

You are the Mississauga IceDogs.

You are ready, so ready, for an Ontario Hockey League game against the undefeated London Knights.

Over the first two periods you outshoot them 19-14, outchance them and, after those two periods, you are down 3-0.

You get frustrated, take penalties and when the lights go out it's 6-1 for the Knights. They've run their undefeated streak to 19 games and you wonder what hit you.

How did they do it?

"We're a team," said the Knights' Dave Bolland. "It isn't always the big guys. It's the little guys, the guys on the third and fourth line. We've just come together as a team."

Funny thing about these guys. Even when they aren't really sharp, they never appear troubled. They wait for their chances, whether on the power play or when the other team makes a mistake. Then they bury them.

It's like a snake. You don't know it's there until it strikes.

Last night at the Hershey Centre, it was goaltender Gerald Coleman who kept them in the game in the first period. While he was helped by some horrendous IceDogs' finishing, Coleman made at least four outstanding saves. The Knights had eight shots in the period and scored on three of them. Corey Perry and Dylan Hunter scored high-light-reel goals with Hunter's coming with three seconds left in the period.

But if you were looking for top-notch entertainment, you would have had to look elsewhere. There Knights took control of the game after the first period. The IceDogs tried but they just weren't as good as the Knights.

If you had a feeling of disappointment because of the buildup to this game, you weren't alone. The IceDogs had given the Knights everything they could handle in their first meeting, a 3-3 tie that ended the Knights' run at the record for most wins to start a season.

There was a belief the Knights would have a tough time in Mississauga.

Talk about disappointment. It didn't seem anyone really cared that the undefeated Knights were coming to town. The excitement level would rival that of finding out Aunt Martha with the lousy breath was coming for a week-long visit.

Despite the lack of hockey in Toronto and environs, no one seemed to notice the IceDogs even exist. One could be excused for thinking the promotion for the night was come as your favourite burgundy seat. There were plenty of them.

Atmosphere? There wasn't any.

Even before the game, when some goof from the stands interrupted the moment of silence for Remembrance Day by yelling, "Go, Knights, go," there was no reaction. Not one person thought to tell the oaf to shut up.

During the national anthem, another fan shouted, "The streak stops here." Not only was he disrespectful but not prophetic.

"Top two teams in the league, no one is here, that's too bad," said one well- travelled NHL scout.

Even the mandatory booing by fans of Rob Schremp, who still hold him in contempt for wanting out of the IceDogs organization two years ago, lacked heart. He wound up getting the last laugh again with a three-assist night.

The 19-game undefeated streak hasn't come easy. But as it progresses, there is a growing confidence on this team that no matter what situation it winds up encountering, somehow it'll add another notch in the win column.

"We're going to win. We feel that," said Bolland.

"When we go out there, we know we're going to get the two points."

We told you it was a confidence thing, the kind of confidence that lets you win anywhere, any time and often.


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