Knights welcome return of Prust's 'presence'

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 12:04 PM ET

The great equalizer is back.

London Knights right-winger Brandon Prust, as tough as they come in the OHL, returns to the lineup today for Game 2 of the championship final at 2 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre.

Prust, who got a three-game suspension during the Western Conference final with Kitchener, didn't like what he saw from the Ottawa 67's in Game 1 on Friday night.

The Knights won 4-2.

"When you're not out there it kind of bugs you," Prust said after seeing Corey Perry take a beating in the second period.

The 67's Brad Staubitz laid the stick to Perry, first a two-handed slash on the wrist, then a cross-check across the head into the end glass, which drew a minor penalty.

"Corey is used to it and every team we face guns for him, but sometimes I wished I was out there so I could do something about it," Prust said.

He said he's not sending a warning to the 67's, "but I think they know I'm back and they know my game."

Perry, who leads Canadian Hockey League playoff scoring with 10 goals and 31 points in 14 games, laughed when told 67's coach Brian Kilrea didn't agree with the penalties called on his team that related to Perry.

"If you're getting high-sticked in the face and cross-checked in the face, they should be called," Perry said.

"(Kilrea) snapped in the first period when he came to the door and started yelling (at referee Mark Hicks) 'You're a disgrace' and all this. Some things have to be called."

Perry said just because it's the playoffs, it shouldn't be open season.

"The playoffs come around and I guess everybody gets a little dirtier and I guess that's the nature of the game, but first it was a two-hander . . . then he cross-checked me in the face," Perry said.

"It's still hockey and the rules are still applied and eventually things like that are going to be sorted out and called. It's just a matter of time."

Knights centre Rob Schremp, third in OHL playoff scoring with 10 goals and 22 points, said Prust's return is welcomed.

"Brandon has a good presence and he makes people think about what they're going to do with their sticks and how they react to certain things and I think with Prustie back it will be a little different," he said.

"There'll be consequences to pay if they do something stupid or try and take Corey's arm off."

Knights captain Danny Syvret said Prust wears his heart on his sleeve and came into the dressing room after the first period Friday.

"He thought we got complacent in the way we were playing," Syvret said. "They had a lot of odd-man rushes and a lot of scoring chances in the first period when they shouldn't have.

"We thought it was going to be a cakewalk and he wanted to make sure we knew it wasn't going to be."

Centre Josh Beaulieu returns for Game 3 Tuesday in Ottawa after a five-game suspension.

"We're still a tough team without them," Syvret said of Prust and Beaulieu, "but to have them back in the lineup will help the other guys feel just a little more comfortable."


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