Rodney rounds out his game

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 12:27 PM ET

Bryan Rodney is doing everything the London Knights expected when they traded for him -- and then some. The 20-year-old defenceman scored twice last night in helping the Knights to a 7-3 victory over the Sarnia Sting before another sellout crowd of 9,090 at the John Labatt Centre.

The Knights, 41-4-2-0, head to Owen Sound tonight to play the Attack, who have the second-best record in the OHL at 31-9-5-2.

League points leader Corey Perry also scored two for the Knights and picked up a pair of assists, giving him 29 goals and 79 points in 41 games.

Rodney has 15 goals and, with the one assist he had last night, he has 36 points. He's surpassed the career-best 11 goals he scored last season with Kingston.

The Knights obtained Rodney, who is from London, from Kingston on Sept. 21. Rodney began his OHL career with the Ottawa 67's in 2000-01 and was a 17-year-old rookie when he appeared in the Memorial Cup that season.

The Knights added Rodney to bolster their blue-line for this year's Memorial Cup when the Carolina Hurricanes signed Danny Richmond.

While the points were expected -- he had 76 last season -- Rodney's defensive play has improved since joining the Knights.

"We knew that Bryan had great offensive skills but his defensive skills have come such a long ways now," said assistant coach Jacques Beaulieu, who handles the defence.

"His D-zone coverage is just great and he's a good power-play man, he's really fit well on our team.

"Our system really suits his game . . . not as much skating, watching your guy and making sure the net's clean. We knew he would get his points on the power play, that's why we got him, a power-play quarterback, but he's chipping in on the five-on-fives."

Beaulieu said he spent a lot of time going over videotape with Rodney when he first arrived "to implement our systems. He bought in and now he likes it.

"They play more man-on-man in Kingston and they really leaned on him to be so offensive. I'm ecstatic with him. He's done a hell of a job for us."

Former Knight Mathis Olimb opened the scoring for Sarnia at 3:12 of the first period.

Drew Larman figured turnabout was fair play as the former Sting tied it for London at 16:40.

Rodney then scored his first goal at 17:55 and the Knights headed to the first intermission up 2-1.

Chad Painchaud tied it for Sarnia five minutes into the second period, but then the Knights went to work, scoring four times in the period.

Rodney scored his second at 9:10, followed by Perry at 11:11, banking a shot off Sting defenceman Nicholas Tuzzolino, then David Bolland at 15:31 and Dylan Hunter on a power play at 16:27.

Perry got his second goal 5:26 into the third period and Jamie Fraser added a Sarnia power-play goal a minute later to cap the scoring.

Bolland has been added to the Western Conference squad for the OHL all-star game Wednesday in Owen Sound.

The Knights have eight players in the game as Bolland joins Perry, Hunter, Danny Syvret, Rob Schremp, Adam Dennis, Marc Methot and Daniel Girardi.

Kitchener Rangers forward Evan McGrath was also added to the West team.

Bolland and McGrath replace Bobby Ryan of the Owen Sound Attack and Michael Richards of the Rangers, both unable to play because of injury.

Ryan, who might be a top-five pick if there's an NHL draft this year, is expected to be out another two to three weeks with a shoulder injury from last week's CHL-NHL top prospects game in Vancouver.

He's second on the Attack with 26 goals and 62 points.

Richards, who captained Canada to the world junior gold medal, strained his groin Thursday in Peterborough.

GAME GLANCE

Knights 7, Sting 3

London goals: Bryan Rodney (2), Corey Perry (2), Drew Larman, David Bolland, Dylan Hunter

Sarnia goals: Mathis Olimb, Chad Painchaud, Jamie Fraser

Next: The Knights play in Owen Sound tonight starting at 7:30 p.m. Kingston is at the John Labatt Centre tomorrow. Game time is 6 p.m.


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