OHL's Western final 'out of control'

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

Normalcy could return to the Western Conference final tonight between the London Knights and Kitchener Rangers though Knights general manager Mark Hunter isn't sure that will happen.

"I think we all see it as a series that's out of control, a freight train that has gone loose and we don't know which direction it's going to head," Hunter said. "It could head in the right direction and everything gets cleaned up or it could be a big crash."

In what has been a wild best-of-seven series, the Knights lead 2-1 with Game 4 tonight at the Memorial Auditorium in Kitchener. OHL commissioner David Branch, who already has suspended the Knights' Josh Beaulieu for five games and has fined both clubs, is investigating a couple of incidents from Game 3.Rangers defenceman Matt Lashoff suffered a concussion and facial cuts after he was rocked by Brandon Prust, and Knights captain Danny Syvret has a stiff neck thanks to a check by Ryan Donally.

Lashoff won't play tonight, but Syvret will be a game-time decision. Both Prust and Donally could be facing suspensions. Branch will announce his decisions today.

30 POWER PLAYS

Each team had 15 power plays in Game 3, a high number for any game, let alone one in the playoffs. The total number of penalties and penalty minutes has increased in each game.

"The only way to get this back to a series of 5-on-5 is to start calling the diving and embellishing, otherwise we'll keep having 20-25 power plays a game," Rangers general manager/coach Peter DeBoer said. "That will be up to the referees. You're asking me how to get it back to 5-on-5 and that is my short answer. I would like to see two or three power plays a game."

STANDING ROOM ONLY

Whether it's because of the NHL lockout or the intriguing possibilities of participants for the 2005 Memorial Cup -- probably a bit of both -- media accreditation applications have jumped for the tournament in London May 21-29.

The Canadian Hockey League has received 260 applications, up sharply from the approximately 150 it gets in most years.

The Knights, one of the best junior clubs in hockey history, will play host to the tournament. There's a good chance Sidney Crosby and the Rimouski Oceanic, the Ottawa 67's with coaching great Brian Kilrea, and/or the defending Cup champion Kelowna Rockets will take part.


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