Knights won't be intimidated

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:29 AM ET

Before last night, it was just ugly hockey.

Last night, things simply turned ugly.

In the hockey end of the things, the London Knights put together their most dominating performance of these playoffs, a 5-1 victory over the Guelph Storm that was as complete a win as they've put together against them in the last two years.

It gave the Knights a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final.

Sure, the score was only 2-0 going into the third period, but aside from a few chances the Storm looked as though they weren't going to score in a month. The Knights continued to pound away at Storm netminder Ryan MacDonald.

Whether the frustration of the mismatch finally got to the Storm, we may never know. But as the third period progressed and the Storm could do nothing from a hockey standpoint, they decided to try intimidation.

In the end it earned them nothing but disdain, a bunch of penalties and a lesson in why one should not take penalties against the Knights, even if you own the second-best penalty killing unit in the league.

Late in the game, former Knight Ryan Pottruff decided to see how well Corey Perry's appendages were attached to the rest of his body. He laid a two-hander on Perry and earned a major.

Did Storm coach Dave Barr send someone over the bench to do exactly what Pottruff did? Barr claims he didn't. But he earned a game misconduct right after Pottruff's actions.

Tyler Doig was already in the penalty box with a four-minute spearing penalty.

Pottruff is not the type of player one would expect that type of action from. Knights coach Dale Hunter was surprised.

"Yeah, but why did Barr get kicked out?" Hunter asked. "They could have broken (Perry's) arm. I didn't play (Perry) the last couple of minutes in case they tried to do it again."

Barr contends TV replays show Pottruff hit Perry on the stick. "I've seen a lot worse slashes than that get five minutes. The one thing I do like is at least he was playing with emotion."

The Knights have repeatedly said if a team tries to take liberties with them, they will run up the score on the power play and that's exactly what happened.

First it was Perry, then Dylan Hunter, then Rob Schremp.

"We aren't going to stop playing. We're all competitive. When it's 3-0, if they score it's 3-1 and still a game," said Schremp, who did admit to some satisfaction when they scored in the power play. "It feels good to get a little payback."

Lesson learned . . . maybe.

We'll see tonight with Game 4 in Guelph.

For a team that must be disciplined to win, the Storm have taken a lot of stupid penalties in this series.

If they think trying intimidation is going to work, it's going to be a long final game for them.

You don't win 59 games without learning how to deal with every style of play. You need the slick offensive wizardry for teams that let you play that way, but you'd better be ready to handle everything else.

The Knights might not be the most physical team in the world, but they won't be intimidated.

After the Storm turned frisky, Hunter sent out Josh Beaulieu, Kelly Thomson and Brandon Prust initially.

"I sent out my three strongest players," said Hunter. "Everything turned quiet after that, right? They didn't want anything to do with that."

It's a dilemma for teams who play the Knights. You can't allow them to skate freely, yet you can't take penalties.

There may be a team out there that's able to find an answer to the puzzle.

The Storm certainly don't have it.


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