It is amazing how a little spark can ignite such a big explosion. It was a much-needed spark. The London Knights came away from the John Labatt Centre last night with a most improbable 7-5 win over the Peterborough Petes.
Improbable? Now that's an understatement.
With 19 minutes left in the hockey game, the Knights trailed 5-2 and looked deader than last week's mackerel.
The line of Josh Beaulieu, Rob Schremp and Dan Fritsche took to the ice. The puck went into the Petes zone. With a Petes defenceman pinning him to the boards, Fritsche managed to get the puck to Schremp, who snapped a shot into the net.
Before the Petes knew it, the Knights had hit them with four goals in two minutes 24 seconds to take a 6-5 lead. It was an explosion of epic proportions.
By the time it was over the Petes were charred by the likes of Bryan Rodney with a pair of goals.
But with that spark, there would be no fire.
"We have a very positive dressing room," said Fritsche. "We had 19 minutes to score three goals. That was a big goal to give us a lift on the bench. The great thing is that we believe we have the ability to do anything."
Fritsche has begun to look more comfortable as a Knight. He's been paired with Beaulieu, a youngster, and David Bolland. But coach Dale Hunter moved Bolland onto the No. 1 line with Dylan Hunter and Corey Perry.
It seems that whoever plays with Beaulieu and Fritsche these days contributes. It's no coincidence. A transformation is slowly taking place with Beaulieu. He appears to have found a new confidence along with a regular spot in the lineup.
Make no mistake about it, Beaulieu is still much like a young colt, trying to find his legs. But there was a time when his appearances were limited to once or twice a period. Now he appears much more frequently. The goal his line provided gave the Knights a breath of life.
Beaulieu won't be mistaken for any of his slick puckhandling teammates but the coaching staff likes the 18-year-old and they like the way he's playing.
"He's driving to the net. He's creating holes," said coach Dale Hunter. "He's a power forward. He'll fill out. Wait until he turns 19. He'll be tough."
Assistant coach Jeff Perry is just as succinct.
"He's hard to play against right now," said Perry. "He protects the puck well and he's tough when he's cycling low."
Beaulieu is usually most evident in games against teams like the Petes where there are pucks to be won, bodychecks to be thrown and hard work to be done.
Playing regularly doesn't hurt his confidence, something which is increasing. He has six goals and 10 assists but is also plus-19.
He also isn't averse to dropping the gloves and duking it out. It's a role he likes.
"Coming into this team I knew I'd be able to play that role," said Beaulieu. "I want to step up and play the role for this team this year. I like doing it and hopefully I'll have some success doing it.
"This year I'm not getting bumped around so much, now I'm the one doing the bumping and it feels good."
He and the Knights weren't feeling good about their performance last night. One would have suspected after Peterborough beat them Jan. 20 in a fight-filled game they would have been ready from the beginning.
But it looked as if they'd forgotten their A game.
Until Beaulieu, Fritsche and Schremp gave them a injection of adrenaline with their goal.
"We're at our best in the third period," said Fritsche.
They just needed a little spark.