Little seems to faze star Knight

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

Ryan Pottruff's two-handed slash on Corey Perry in Game 3 was like an exclamation mark.

The guy on the other end seems to be the focus of teams he plays against.

The London Knights star (and the league's top scorer) is a darling of the home crowd, especially when displaying his offensive skill or conducting a dissection of an opponent with his sharp tongue.

Last night he scored twice as the Knights won 5-2 and swept their OHL Western Conference best-of-seven quarter-final series.

The Storm played with fire and got burned badly.

Perry had what is known as the Gordie Howe hat trick -- a goal, an assist and a fight.

He's the player most other players love to hate for all the reasons that make him so popular at home. One could debate whether he was the main target when Pottruff took to the ice two nights ago or whether he was simply a target of opportunity.

No matter. Perry thrives on this kind of attention. When the crowd howls its displeasure, he gets a charge out of it.

He "chirps" at an opponent to the point of distraction and skates away with a grin that drives him even crazier.

"Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't," Perry says. "It depends on the kind of people you're playing against. Some guys take penalties, they get frustrated."

On the heels of the slashing incident and the suspension of Pottruff and Storm coach Dave Barr, everyone was curious if there would be any fallout.

But that turned out to be the roof falling in on the Storm. It happened in the second period.

Perry bounced around --and was bounced around -- like a rubber ball. Nothing unusual.

With the score 1-1, all was fairly quiet -- that is, until Perry made a terrific deflection of a Danny Syvret shot to make it 2-1. Then for some inexplicable reason (stupidity, perhaps), the Storm's Ryan Card hammered Perry and drew a penalty. Moments later Ryan Parent took a penalty.

Less than a minute later Perry buried a blue-line slapshot.

Then Perry took a run at Parent and drew a penalty, along with a big crowd trying to get at him. From the scrum emerged Perry and the Storm's Mark O'Leary, who dropped their gloves.

Opponents dream of getting Perry in this situation.

By the time it was over, Perry had dropped O'Leary with a couple of rights.

"I hit Parent into the boards and was kind of vulnerable," Perry said. "I knew something was going to happen.

"I saw O'Leary come at me and we came up punching. I had to protect myself and that's what I did."

No doubt the Knights were praying he wouldn't crack a hand on someone's helmet or head.

There is always that fear that one day, some player is just going to say "the hell with it" and go after Perry with reckless abandon.

None of this seems to bother Perry. Speaking before last night's game, it was as if it had never happened.

Like a someone after a day at the office, it was time to move on to the next day's business. It was a good night's work and a good night's payback.

By the end of the night, the large contingent of Knights fan were drowning out the Storm fans, chanting "Per-ry, Per-ry."

"It was satisfying personally," Perry said of his two goals. "With all the attention, all the stuff happening after the whistle -- the slash, it was nice to be able to capitalize on that."

The Storm learned a lot of lessons during the series. The one they learned last night was to let sleeping dogs lie.


Videos

Photos