These guys are for real

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:11 AM ET

Have the Ottawa 67's struck fear into the hearts of the London Knights?

Knights forward Rob Schremp said the 67's showed with their 6-3 win on Sunday that they're just not content to be here, they want to win the OHL championship.

The Knights and 67's are tied 1-1 in their best-of-seven final and although both clubs are in the Memorial Cup May 21-29 at the John Labatt Centre, the teams are playing for real. No going through the motions in this one.

"I think everybody just expected them to roll over and for us to kick the crap out of them, but they're a good hockey team," Schremp said yesterday before the Knights left for Ottawa and the next two games.

"I think we realize what we have in front of us, now that we actually lost a game. They played a pretty intense game and stuck with it after they could have died out easily when we went up 3-2."

The 67's came back to score four goals in the third period, only the second time this season the Knights blew a third-period lead, only the second time they lost at home and their first loss at the JLC in the postseason after nine wins.

"They had things going their way, a few bounces, a few calls," Schremp said. "But they're in the OHL final for a reason."

The Knights became undisciplined in the third and the 67's power play cashed in twice while playoff scoring leader Corey Perry (10 goals and 33 points) was off with a double-minor for high sticking Arron Alphonso on the face.

"We weren't too undisciplined until the game was out of reach," Schremp said.

The 67's scored their sixth goal at 6:39 of the third and that was still plenty of time for the OHL's most explosive team to rally, as it has before.

"It was if they're going to give us crap calls we might as well deserve it and go in the penalty box for a reason," Schremp said.

"But me and Dylan (Hunter) were talking about it after the game, how we came back against Kitchener (to extend their unbeaten streak) when Corey and Danny (Syvret) were at the world juniors.

"We just got off focus. We were too worried about the officiating and trying to hit somebody and not thinking about scoring goals.

"That's one of the first games in the whole playoffs we have been unfocused and not concentrating on the right thing."

Knights coach Dale Hunter felt 67's coach Brian Kilrea influenced referee Terry Hobor as the power-plays favoured Ottawa 11-6.

"I definitely call it the Killer effect," Hunter said, referring to Kilrea by his nickname. "He's intimidating to everybody. He's a legend. He's in the Hockey Hall of Fame."

Ottawa defenceman Elgin Reid said the Knights fell into the trap that's hurt the 67's first three playoff opponents.

"I think London's done the exact same thing as every other team that we played, and that's underestimating us and underestimating our speed," said Reid, a real agitator in this series.

"To tell you the truth, I don't think any of us are really surprised about this. Everybody's counted us out since the first series."

Londoner Mark Mancari enjoyed a two-goal game for the 67's, giving him 11 goals in the playoffs and tying him with Michael Richards of the Kitchener Rangers for the playoff lead.

"That was excellent for our confidence," Mancari said of Sunday's come-from-behind win.

"We've been working hard all playoffs. We've been doing things people didn't think we could do. We knew in the room (after two periods) that we have the talent to be a really good team and we think it's starting to show."

The Knights, for one, have noticed.

Sick bay

Knights defencemen Bryan Rodney (knee) and Frank Rediker (knee) have been skating. Rodney is "close," said one team official, while Rediker is further away from his return.

Scouting mission

Knights GM Mark Hunter was in Halifax last night for Game 3 of the Quebec final. Hunter will take in Game 4 tonight before rejoining the Knights in Ottawa tomorrow.


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