Knights still rule the road

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:25 AM ET

BRAMPTON -- Two more entries in the record book for the OHL's newest kings of the road.

Three if you count the one the London Knights helped the home team set last night.

The Knights defeated the Brampton Battalion 4-2 before a franchise-record crowd of 4,835 at the Brampton Centre. The previous high was the 4,477 who attended the inaugural game here in 1998.

The win, the 11th straight for the Knights, gives them a 49-4-2-0 record and 100 points.

It's the first time in OHL history a team has registered back-to-back 100-point seasons after the Knights finished first overall last year with a record 110 points.

Tonight they'll attempt to become the first team to register consecutive 50-win seasons when the Sarnia Sting come to the John Labatt Centre.

Three more wins and the Knights clinch first overall.

The other record the Knights achieved last night came with their 24th road victory, tying them with the 1998-99 Ottawa 67's and last season's Guelph Storm for most road wins.

The Knights worked for it. The Battalion, 27-19-8-2, are in a race with Peterborough for the Eastern Conference lead.

"Character and leadership are a key to win on the road and we have a lot of that," said Knights coach Dale Hunter.

"You go into strange buildings and they're going to come at you hard and hit you hard. You've got to be able to suck it up and play through it."

Wojtek Wolski put Brampton on the board on the power play at 10:35 of the first period.

Dan Fritsche tied it five minutes later with his fifth goal in the past four games.

David Bolland's 31st goal gave London a 2-1 lead at 10:56 of the second period and Rob Schremp made it 3-1 with a power-play goal at 19:13, his 32nd of the season.

Patrick Sweeney pulled the Battalion to within one at 7:05 of the third period.

After the Knights killed off a too-many-men penalty called with 3:23 remaining in regulation time, Corey Perry put it away with an empty-net goal with 26 seconds left.

Perry has 38 goals and a league-leading 99 points.

Following tonight's game against Sarnia at the John Labatt Centre, the Knights play their next four on the road and should set the road record during that span.

"People want to see what all the talk is about and if we can entertain the crowd as much as we can, we've done our job," said Knights captain Danny Syvret. "I don't know if it's the other teams trying to do a lot to impress their crowd . . . but whatever it is, it seems to be working for us.

"You look around the room and there's so many guys that step up and it's not always the Corey Perrys, the Dylan Hunters, the Rob Schremps . . . everyone is contributing as much as they can and it comes out in the end as a victory."

Battalion coach Stan Butler said the Knights "are the best team in Canada for a reason and you can see it.

"Their depth is unbelievable and they play a very patient game. They don't panic. They play their game, whether they're at home or on the road.

"A lot of teams, when they go on the road, get caught up in what the home team is doing and I think a lot of that is just the experience."

Butler also praised the Knights' defence.

"They don't make any bad passes," he said. "They don't turn the puck over."

KNIGHTS 4, BATTALION 2

London goals: Dan Fritsche, David Bolland, Rob Schremp, Corey Perry

Brampton goals: Wojtek Wolski, Patrick Sweeney

Next: The Knights play the Sarnia Sting tonight at the John Labatt Centre at 7:30.


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