Knights roll into the new year

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 1:24 PM ET

The London Knights ushered in 2005 the same way they ended 2004 -- with a win over the Sarnia Sting. Adam Perry, younger brother of Knights star and OHL scoring leader Corey Perry, popped in his first OHL goal, David Bolland converted a penalty shot and the Knights never trailed in a hard-working 5-2 win before a New Year's Day crowd of 9,072 yesterday afternoon at the John Labatt Centre.

In just his fifth game with the Knights, Adam Perry got the team rolling and on the board early, a tradition usually reserved for his older sibling Corey currently playing for Canada at the world junior hockey championships in Grand Forks, N.D.

"I was at the side of the net and just tried to bounce it off (Sarnia goalie Ryan Munce's) skate. Then it just sat there, so I poked it in," said the five-foot-11, 185-pounder who has played most of the season with the Western Junior B Petrolia Jets.

"It's a relief more than anything to get that first one."

With the win, the Knights improved to 32-2-2 on the season and 4-2 without big guns Corey Perry and Danny Syvret.

Perry, Syvret and Rob Schremp, who is playing for the United States at the world junior, are expected to be back in time for Thursday's road game in Windsor.

"We're 4-2 without those guys, it's important to show we can do this ourselves," said Bolland, who was the best player on the ice yesterday. "You can't just be waiting around for guys to come back. It's a challenge to win without them in the lineup."

On Bolland's penalty shot, the 18-year-old Chicago Blackhawks draft pick patiently held the puck and beat the sprawling Munce low on the short side.

"With a flopping goalie like that, if he bites on the first move, you have him," Bolland said. "I think that was my first penalty shot (in the OHL).

"There's a few butterflies. It was good just to get it over with."

Bolland said he got a good read on Munce from Knights assistant Jeff Perry, who coached the Sting in 2001-03.

"He knows (Munce), so who better?" Bolland said. "He told me exactly what to do and I did it."

It seems that even with brother Corey in North Dakota, there were clearly too many Perrys in the rink for Sarnia's liking.

The first-period penalty shot was awarded because Sarnia captain Marco Caprara got a glove on the puck in the Sting crease. Bolland said he wasn't originally tabbed as the Knight to take the shot.

"We already had someone picked and it was Dylan (Hunter) but he said there's no way he's taking it," Bolland laughed. "He pointed at me and said, 'It's yours.' "

Sarnia had been shorthanded before the play and their penalized player -- Nick Tuzzolino -- was allowed back on the ice after Bolland's goal.

Knights assistant GM Jim McKellar said referee Brad Beer was correct and the ruling is that the penalty shot counts as a power-play goal.

"I didn't even know that," said head coach Dale Hunter.

London led 2-0 after one period and 3-1 after two.

Sarnia kept it close. The Sting scored shorthanded 13 seconds into the second period and scored early in the third to make it 3-2, but penalty trouble eventually caught up to them.

"We're a young, inexperienced team that hasn't learned how to win yet," said Sting head coach Shawn Camp. "We took selfish, foolish penalties, and our top players were nearly invisible out there."

Sarnia will be without defenceman Trevor Solomon for at least a week. He has an upper body injury after being hammered by Knight Trevor Kell on Friday.

Camp figures his team, which dropped to 11-21-4-2, will have to get points in half of their remaining games to make the playoffs.

GAME GLANCE

Knights 5, Sting 2

London goals: Adam Perry, David Bolland, Bryan Rodney, Dylan Hunter and Rick Steadman, into the empty net

Sarnia goals: Marco Caprara, Richard Clune

Next: London heads to Windsor on Thursday night while the Sting face Saginaw at home on Friday night.


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