Knights make Rangers pay

London Knights goalie Adam Dennis is tested early by Kitchener Rangers captain Michael Richards but...

London Knights goalie Adam Dennis is tested early by Kitchener Rangers captain Michael Richards but kept the puck out during the first period of OHL Western Conference Final Monday, April 25, 2005 at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ont. (London Free Press/Mike Hensen)

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

Live by the sword, die by the sword -- or in this case, die by the OHL's best power play.

The London Knights scored five straight power-play goals last night en route to a 6-1 win over the Kitchener Rangers.

The victory gives the Knights a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference final.

The Rangers haven't been afraid to take penalties with the Knights power-play a non-factor in the first two games, going one-for-18 after being the best in the regular season.

Last night, London went five-for-14, while Kitchener was one-for-15 as the Knights' penalty-killing was also a big factor. Dan Fritsche, who missed Saturday's loss in Kitchener, scored twice, both on the power play.

"Both teams are going to get their fair share of opportunities on the power play and with us, the power play is our bread and butter and with it not clicking the first two games it really hurt," Fritsche said.

"Once we got it going again, we're that dangerous force and we want them to whack and hack as much as they want."

It was 3-0 before the game was 14 minutes old and yet the Rangers kept heading for the penalty box.

"It didn't really shock me," Fritsche said. "I think frustration set in very quickly for them, even in the first period, and they kind of almost, I don't want to say gave up, but they didn't care.

"They just kept slashing and whacking and Beerzie (referee Brad Beer) was calling everything."

In a twist, it was the Knights who got the game's first two penalties.

Brandon Prust, who later got a charging major and game misconduct for a hit on Rangers defenceman Matt Lashoff with a minute left in the second period, was called for elbowing 59 seconds in.

Then, before the puck was dropped, Rangers coach Peter DeBoer requested a measurement of the blade on Corey Perry's stick. It was found to be illegal and the Knights were down two skaters.

"Pete must have measured it when he was with Team Canada," Knights coach Dale Hunter joked.

Perry played with the national junior team and DeBoer was an assistant coach. DeBoer said it was a calculated risk.

"We tried to get some momentum right off the bat and it didn't work, it backfired (and) that's the way hockey goes sometimes. If we score, maybe it's a different game."

But the Rangers didn't. Jakub Kindl went off for elbowing at 3:53 and the Knights power play took over.

Dylan Hunter also scored twice on the power play. He said there was a sense of urgency to get it back on track and to punish the Rangers.

"Our power play is the core of our team and not having it going definitely really hurts us," Hunter said.

He said the key was putting the puck on net, which they hadn't done in the first two games, "and crash the net."

"We got away with it before, making the nice plays, the tic-tac-toes, but we realized Kitchener has a great penalty kill and we have to go to the net and drive hard."

Knights defenceman Danny Syvret left the game in the second period and went to hospital with a suspected concussion after being checked into the boards by Ryan Donally.

There was no penalty.

Another injury on the blue-line isn't what the Knights need as Bryan Rodney is out with an upper body injury and from what GM Mark Hunter hinted last night, the injury may be more than day-to-day.

Dale Hunter said the league should check the tape of the hit on Syvret.

"You see the replay, it's very, very bad," he said. "They're definitely going after our D and going after them hard. They're trying to get them off their game and trying to put them out of the game, I guess, too, so the D have got to keep their heads up because they're coming from downtown on them."

GAME GLANCE

Knights 6, Rangers 1

The series: London leads Kitchener 2-1 in the best-of-seven OHL Western Conference final.

London goals: Dylan Hunter (2), Dan Fritsche (2), Corey Perry, David Bolland

Kitchener goal: Evan McGrath

Next: Game 4 is tomorrow at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium at 7 p.m.


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