Schremp improves on bench

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:03 AM ET

Lesson learned.

Rob Schremp returned from his benching on Friday night in Kingston to score his 30th goal of the season Sunday afternoon in a 5-0 win over the Ottawa 67's.

"Play better defence and be more focused," the London Knights' leading goal-scorer said of the lesson he gained watching all of Friday's 5-0 win over the Frontenacs from his spot on the bench.

It's not the first time he's been benched. Schremp sat through most of Games 6 and 7 of last year's Western Conference final against the Guelph Storm, which London lost.

"He's got to get better five-on-five," assistant coach Jeff Perry said Friday. "Rob was much better early in the year, but he's taken a step back since coming back from the world juniors (where he played for the U.S.)."

Schremp is second in the league in goals, four behind Geoff Platt of the Erie Otters.

Schremp scored 30 last season, which he split between Mississauga and London, following 26 his rookie year with the IceDogs.

He's on pace to score 45 and is fourth in the league with 62 points.

He missed five games while at this year's world junior championship, where he was used sparingly in the early games.

But the fact the Knights (40-4-2-0) could bench a player of his calibre and still beat Kingston 5-0 sends a clear message to the others that because there's such depth, anyone else guilty of neglecting defensive duties will find himself in the same position.

"It's hard to see when you're playing, to actually know what you're doing," Schremp said. "It's a fast game. You make decisions and maybe I wasn't making the right decisions.

"I don't think I intentionally got away from it but, if I did, it was probably the right thing they did to bench me and teach me a lesson."

Schremp admitted it was embarrassing to be dressed for a game and see no ice time. Everyone was asking why he didn't play.

"It's tough to sit there and take it, but it's part of the game," he said.

Ottawa coach Brian Kilrea has seen a lot of great OHL teams during his 28 years behind the 67's bench. He's even coached some powerhouses.

So, where does he rank this Knights team?

"You have to remember, I'm so old (70), I watched when they had some of those great teams in Kitchener and some of those great teams in Toronto, the old days with guys like George Armstrong," Kilrea said.

"When you start looking at names, I just don't want to forget some that made their organizations great. But this team here, they can beat you in a lot of ways."


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