Schremp deserves credit for 40-goal year

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:09 AM ET

It was the London Knights' ninth goal in a 9-1 game.

It was a goal lost in the hoopla of Corey Perry becoming the team's all-time scorer with a goal and two assists for 380 points.

It was a goal that merely heaped misery on an already miserable Erie Otters team. They made the 4 1/2 -hour trip only to have their butt handed to them in an Ontario Hockey League game yesterday at the John Labatt Centre.

While the goal may not have had tremendous significance in the game or in the history of the Knights, it was significant for the guy who scored it.

It was Rob Schremp's 40th goal of the season. With Perry having 47, it's the first time since 1997-98 the Knights have had two 40-goal scorers in a season. Max Spiridonov with 59 and Rico Fata with 43 turned the trick that year.

But even more impressive is the way Schremp has managed to reach that level.

For all his talent, Schremp has often been in coach Dale Hunter's doghouse. He has spent time on the bench. He's been asked to focus on defensive play. He's been moved from one position to another and he's played with a variety of linemates.

In the end it has made Schremp a better overall player. But despite all the changes, Schremp remains an offensive virtuoso whose abilities can lift people out of their seats. Like most gifted snipers, Schremp can score in bunches. He's had two four-goal games and two three-goal games.

He scored the game's first goal with a perfect snap shot off the inside of the post. Later he set up Steve Ferry's goal with a perfect pass. For his 40th, he found room in the slot and fired a low shot past a beleaguered Jhase Sniderman in the Erie net.

Schremp has a flair for the dramatic. In the third period he cut in front of the net and before being cut off took his stick, moved it behind and between his legs and attempted to flip the puck in the net. It was blocked but it drew a gasp from the crowd.

A lot of people are happy for Schremp, one of the Knights' most popular players. He's a good kid who loves to play the game.

"At the start of the season I thought I could get 50," said Schremp. "But with things the way they went, I changed that to 40. I'm pumped. This is awesome."

Schremp might be nearing 50 if he hadn't spent almost three weeks at the world junior tournament with the U.S. team. He went through a dry spell when he came back. He went through a 22-game stretch where he only had four goals. Then against Erie on March 4, he scored four goals.

"That seemed to get me going again," said Schremp. "It sucks going through a drought, especially if you're a goal scorer. You just have to keep your confidence up."

It was a learning experience.

"You find out how to contribute in other ways. You set up goals or you play better defensively."

He had 17 assists in that 22-game span and is now a plus-35.

Schremp gives a lot of credit to his teammates.

"It's easier this year than last year. We have so many more skilled players," he said. "Working the power play with Dylan (Hunter) is great. He told me he'd help get me 40 and he did."

Hunter assisted on No. 40. Schremp is happy to be playing with former Sarnia Sting Danny Fritsche on an almost permanent basis. The more ice time Fritsche gets, the stronger he gets. He has been flying the last half-dozen games.

But Schremp's the guy who has overcome a great deal to put together this 40-goal season.

He deserves all the credit and accolades that come his way.


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