London in control

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:45 AM ET

KITCHENER -- A perturbed Peter DeBoer promised last night his Kitchener Rangers are not going to go into London tomorrow and hand the Knights a ticket to the OHL final.

The Knights are one win away from advancing to the championship round against the Ottawa 67's after a 5-4 overtime triumph at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.

"If you want me to stand up here and tell you how great the London Knights are, you have the wrong guy," the Rangers general manager/coach said. "We've heard that all year. If you want to talk about the Kitchener Rangers and the character we showed (last night) ... and the fact we're giving them everything they can handle, let's talk about that."

David Bolland, a Chicago Blackhawks pick and native of Toronto, beat goalie Eric Pfligler on a backhand at 2:42 of overtime to give the Knights a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference final. The best team in major junior hockey during the regular season, the Knights lost just once at the John Labatt Centre.

Craig Voakes' second goal, with 6.2 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, personified the Rangers' resiliency.

But with Bolland's goal, the Knights stand just five wins away from their first OHL championship. Though London plays host to the Memorial Cup next month, the players have stressed they want to be the OHL champs when it begins.

"It's a huge advantage for us," Bolland said of playing in London. "The home rink is where we come to play."

And what would a post-game news conference be without a few shots from Knights coach Dale Hunter? For a guy who is second in NHL history with 3,565 penalty minutes, he seems overly bothered by what he sees as dirty hockey by the Rangers.

"There's not enough ice in Kitchener to put the ice packs on these kids because (the Rangers) are whacking," Hunter said. "It's embarrassing to the league. If I was a skilled guy coming into this league, I would be a little iffy."

To most eyes, it's called playoff hockey.

Adam Perry, Rob Schremp, Dan Fritsche and Jordan Foreman also scored for London. Adam Keefe and Andre Benoit scored Kitchener's other goals.

Meanwhile, speculation has started that DeBoer will be on the Maple Leafs' short list to coach the AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies if Leafs general manager John Ferguson decides to let Doug Shedden go.


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