Knights strike early to ice Majors

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

It was billed as a battle of the two hottest teams but the London Knights threw cold water all over that in a hurry. The Knights scored four goals, three on power plays, in the first 18 minutes, then put it in cruise control for a 5-1 victory over the Toronto St. Michael's Majors last night.

The Knights won their eighth straight, improving to 46-4-2-0 before another capacity crowd of 9,090 at the John Labatt Centre.

The Majors had won five in a row and eight of their previous 10.

David Bolland, with two goals, is the eighth OHLer to reach the 30-goal plateau after scoring 37 last season, but is still only fourth in team points with 64.

"On some other teams he'd be the leading scorer," coach Dale Hunter said. "But the team that drafted him (the Chicago Blackhawks, in the second round in 2004) is going to get what they drafted.

"David is an all-round player, not one-dimensional, and if you want to go to the next level, it's tough to be just a pure goal scorer in the NHL."

Bolland's goals aren't usually flashy but it's his quick shot that fools goalies. Both goals last night were through the five-hole.

"I just try to catch the goalie before he drops, and if he's dropping, I'll go high," he explained.

"I don't see myself as anything flashy or a guy who dangles, I just like to get the puck right to the net. I guess have my moments where I dangle around a guy and score. But that's once in a blue moon."

Bolland prides himself on being used in all situations.

"I see myself as a guy who can play in all places, except defence and goalie. I'd try them, but I don't think it would work that well," he said, flashing a big smile.

Right-winger Corey Perry collected three assists to move past Dino Ciccarelli into fourth on the Knights' career points list at 347.

Chris Taylor holds the record with 378, playing with London for four seasons, beginning in 1998.

Taylor is currently with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.

Perry has 16 regular-season games remaining.

Brian Bradley is second with 373 points and Dennis Maruk is third with 370.

Perry, the OHL scoring leader with 37 goals and 97 points, is looking to become only the third Knight in 40 years to win the scoring crown.

David Simpson won in 1981-82, then Jason Allison in 1993-94.

The Knights play in Saginaw tonight, then go to Guelph tomorrow where ex-teammates hook up for the first time since last month's trades.

The Knights got defenceman Daniel Girardi and goalie Adam Dennis from the Storm while sending goalie Ryan MacDonald, defenceman Ryan Pottruff and left-winger Rick Steadman to Guelph.

The Knights' goaltending rotation is set up this weekend, so Dennis will face MacDonald. Dennis played last night, stopping 34 of 35 shots to improve to 5-2-0 in the Knights net.

Coleman starts tonight.

MacDonald, 15-1-0 with the Knights, is 1-6-0 with Guelph.

When Dennis arrived in London, he found a handwritten note in his locker signed by MacDonald.

"He told me I'm in good hands and I'm going to enjoy it here," Dennis said. "It was a real classy note."

MacDonald had said earlier: "I wished him luck.

"I just wanted to let him know (it's) a good bunch of guys."

GAME GLANCE

Knights 5, Majors 1

London goals: Dan Fritsche (2), David Bolland (2), Danny Syvret

Toronto St. Michael's goal: Ryan Wilson

Next: The Knights play in Saginaw, Mich., tonight at 7 p.m., then in Guelph tomorrow at 3 p.m. (Rogers Sportsnet).


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