Knights set for another sweep

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

WINDSOR -- It doesn't look like the London Knights will be coming back to the Windsor Arena again this year.

That's too bad for the Knights. They've grown quite fond of the old Border City arena, known as The Barn, after outscoring the Spitfires 17-1 in two playoff games here, including last night's 9-1 blowout before 3,721 fans.

It was London's 20th straight win over Windsor and gave the Knights a 3-0 stranglehold in the OHL Western Conference semifinal, with Game 4 set for Wednesday and Game 5 on Friday, if necessary, both at the John Labatt Centre.

"Our team is suited for this kind of rink," said the Knights' Corey Perry, who scored two goals last night and had five assists in London's 8-0 series opener here on Thursday.

"You're able to do a lot here that you can't do back home because it's smaller and tighter in here. It allows you to make some of those quick, crisp passes that wouldn't work at the JLC.

"You wouldn't even try those at home."

Perry, who again didn't play much in the third period, figured London broke Windsor's spirit after racking up four goals in the first period and chasing starting Spitfires goaltender Kyle Knechtel seven minutes into the game.

"It was important to get a couple of quick ones after they came back on us in the second period in Game 2," Perry said.

"We know they're tired after a tough first-round, seven-game series. And I know how they're feeling.

"My first two years, we played three seven-gamers and it takes a lot out of you."

Although Windsor stormed back from a three-game deficit in their first-round series victory over Sault Ste. Marie, the Spitfires haven't looked like that same team.

"We don't have (Ryan) Garlock, we lost Jason Dixon, we lost David Lomas and we need to be full strength to compete with this club," said Windsor head coach Dave Prpich.

"When it was 2-0, if we were at a 'B' game, then we went to a 'C' game very quickly."

Knights goalie Adam Dennis was seven minutes from a second straight shutout in Windsor but Spitfires forward Sean Courtney knocked in a power-play goal to break his team's two-game goose-egg.

"You never want to let a goal in, but it doesn't mean anything in the greater scheme," said Dennis, who made 30 saves.

"We were solid for most of the game and that's all that matters."

Frustrated Spitfires forward Steve Downie, who has been kicked out of both home losses in the series, sparked a line brawl five minutes into the second period when he gave a two-handed slash to Perry.

The Knights forward repaid him with a forceful bodycheck and a wild scrum ensued as teammates rushed to both players' aid.

Knights forward Brandon Prust was given the boot for being the third man into the fight, which usually comes with a two-game suspension.

But the OHL allows a buy-back policy for those types of infractions. Team officials said it's in the $100-range and the Knights are expected to fork over the dough.

"(The Spitfires) are young kids. They get frustrated and it's understandable," said Knights head coach Dale Hunter. "We just have to keep our cool and, hopefully, get another win in the next game back at home."

Besides a lack of discipline, the Spitfires have turned the puck over too many times at their own blue-line. And the Knights have made them pay almost every time.

"We've got one more to get and we want to do the same thing -- get on them right away and score early," said Perry.

The other Western semifinal can technically end first because the surprising Kitchener Rangers -- up 3-0 against the Owen Sound Attack -- play Game 4 at home at the Memorial Auditorium tomorrow night.

NOTES: London defenceman Matt McCready, who hails from Tecumseh which is minutes from Windsor, made his first appearance of the series on the Knights blueline . . . The Knights have 10 players on their roster drafted by NHL clubs while the Spitfires have two -- injured centre Ryan Garlock and defenceman Mitch Maunu, both by the Chicago Blackhawks.

GAME GLANCE

London 9, Windsor 1

(London leads best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal 3-0)

Knights goals: Drew Larman, Marc Methot, Dan Fritsche, Rob Schremp (2), Corey Perry (2), Bryan Rodney, Josh Beaulieu

Spitfires goal: Sean Courtney

Next: Game 4 is Wednesday night, 7 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre.


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