Returnees spark Knights

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:02 AM ET

WINDSOR -- Corey Perry, Danny Syvret and Rob Schremp didn't miss a beat.

The three London Knights stepped off the world stage and back into the OHL last night and led their team to a 5-2 victory over the Windsor Spitfires.

Perry and Syvret, who helped Canada win gold Tuesday at the world junior championship in Grand Forks, N.D., each scored a goal, while Schremp, who played for the fourth-place U.S., scored twice for the 33-2-2-0 Knights.

Defenceman Dan Girardi, acquired Wednesday from Guelph, chipped in with two assists.

"I knew I had to come in and play a hockey game, so my mindset from the time I got up this morning was on playing a hockey game," said Perry, who leads the league with 24 goals and 64 points, four ahead of teammate Dylan Hunter, who had two assists last night.

Perry said it wasn't difficult cranking it up again, just 48 hours after returning home.

"Not really. It's what we do here for a living now. Hockey is a lifestyle."

Perry and Syvret were honoured by the Spitfires before the game as team owner Steve Riolo made an on-ice presentation. The Windsor fans gave a prolonged standing ovation.

But the niceties didn't last long. The London-Windsor rivalry needed just 16 seconds to fire up, with Josh Beaulieu of the Knights and Steve Downie of the Spitfires dropping the gloves for the first of four fights in the period.

Schremp's two goals give him 28. He led the OHL when he left for the world junior but is now two behind Geoff Platt of the Erie Otters.

"I felt like I had to prove myself again," said Schremp, who was used sparingly by the U.S. early in the tournament.

"I went out there and really had to earn my ice time, but . . . it's my second year here and I think I have a spot where I get regular ice time and play on the power play every time. So I was definitely so excited to get back and play with the boys again."

The U.S. lost to the Czech Republic in overtime in the bronze-medal game.

"It's tough," Schremp said. "(But) even for those guys, we were talking on the bus today and we were all really tired. It was tough to get mentally focused."

Syvret's 10th goal wasn't with the stick he used to score what proved to be the winner in Canada's 6-1 triumph over Russia. It's now at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"I was a little tired, there was a lot of travel and we were on a big high," he said. "You just can't click your emotions on and off like that, so it was a little difficult adapting."

Knights coach Dale Hunter said the three wanted to play and will be in the lineup tonight at the John Labatt Centre against Oshawa, then Sunday against Owen Sound. Some time off will come next week.

"Sometimes you have a hangover after playing at such high intensity, but they played intense out here tonight," Hunter said.

"That was their character coming through again. They want to be out there."

Girardi was pleased he could contribute in his debut. "But passing the puck to those forwards, they're great offensively.

"You give them the puck and it's in the net.

"It's a good feeling. You can worry about your defensive zone a little more. I found myself in Guelph taking on a bigger role offensively.

"Here I can just concentrate on defence. That should help my game."

David Bolland scored the other London goal.

Steve Downie and ex-Knight Tom Mannino scored for Windsor. Mannino, who has requested a trade, went 20 games without a goal.

Knights general manager Mark Hunter made another deal yesterday, sending forward Shawn Futers to Kingston for a fifth-round draft pick.

Futers, 19, from Sarnia, was obtained in the summer after two years with Peterborough.

KNIGHTS 5, SPITFIRES 2

London goals: Rob Schremp (2), Corey Perry, Danny Syvret, David Bolland

Windsor goals: Steve Downie, Tom Mannino

Next: The Knights play Oshawa Generals at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the John Labatt Centre, then meet the Owen Sound Attack at the JLC on Sunday starting at 2 p.m.


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