Knights closing on sweep

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:29 AM ET

The London Knights will be looking to broom some bitter memories when they go into Guelph tonight.

They'll also be looking to settle a score.

The Knights took a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven OHL Western Conference quarter-final last night, beating the Guelph Storm 5-1.

The Knight scored all five goals on power plays as Corey Perry scored his first two of the series, while adding two assists for seven points in the three games.

The sellout crowd of 9,090 at the John Labatt Centre gave the regular season champs a standing ovation at the buzzer.

It may also have been good riddance to the Storm, who last year spoiled the Knights' party, beating them in the conference final.

The Knights are already in this year's Memorial Cup (May 21-29) as host team.

It was 2-0 entering the game's final six minutes, with ex-Knights goalie Ryan MacDonald again holding his team in as the Storm have now been outshot 137-65.

Guelph defenceman Ryan Pottruff, traded by London on Jan. 5, then delivered a vicious two-handed whack on Perry as he broke in on net. Perry saw the stick coming and shielded himself, taking the brunt of the blow on his right leg.

Linesman Kevin Hastings reported to referee Carman Cox, who in turn explained to Knights coach Dale Hunter, that Hastings heard Storm coach Dave Barr say on the bench "someone go out there and break someone's wrist."

Pottruff got a slashing major and automatic game misconduct and Barr was ejected. Both face disciplinary action.

The Knights made the Storm pay, scoring three times during the five-minute man advantage -- Perry at 15:40, Dylan Hunter at 16:53 and Rob Schremp at 18:06.

Michael Okrzesik's short-handed goal at 18:27 ended Adam Dennis's shutout bid.

Perry said Pottruff's attack is just part of playoff hockey.

"One of the linesmen said the coach sent him out there," Perry said. "You know what, it's playoff time and you know coming in there are a couple of us they're going to take liberties on and there are a couple of guys over there that are going to get beat on, too.

"It doesn't matter. We just want to go out there (tonight) and get this series over with and move on."

While Perry shrugged it off, Schremp was quite outspoken. He was at the bench when Cox spoke to Dale Hunter.

"In my opinion, I think it's pretty classless," Schremp said. "If they want to play that game, we've got three or four of the toughest guys in the league.

"We're beating them on he scoreboard and if they want to get their lunch fed to them, they can start doing that crap, too . . . if it comes to that (tonight), we know how to handle ourselves."

Dale Hunter was surprised by Pottruff's action after he spent a year and a half here.

"You don't expect that from Potter. He's a good kid, (but) ask Dave Barr why he got kicked out," Hunter said.

Barr said he was ejected "for saying something stupid" on the bench and denied sending anyone after Perry.

"Who's accusing me? That's ridiculous," Barr said. "I respect all the players on London's team. I don't want to see anybody hurt. We want to play physical, we want to make their life difficult, but I didn't send anybody out to hurt anyone."

Perry scored his first goal with 58 seconds left in the first period. David Bolland made it 2-0 at 7:32 of the second.

The Knights are rotating goalies and Gerald Coleman will be back in net tonight.

GAME GLANCE

Knights 5, Storm 1

The series: London leads the best-of-seven OHL Western Conference quarter-final 3-0

London goals: Corey Perry (2), David Bolland, Dylan Hunter, Rob Schremp

Guelph goal: Michael Okrzesik

Next: Game 4 is tonight in Guelph at 7 p.m.


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