No day off for OHL media

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

It was typical off-day playoff fare.

Nothing too serious, plenty of time to kill and the search for something different to write.

The London Knights and Ottawa 67's play Game 4 in their Ontario Hockey League championship series tonight with the Knights leading 2-1.

There's never really an off-day when it comes to feeding the information machine. London, as we all know, has never won an OHL championship, so it's enthralled with its Knights.

In Ottawa, where there is a lot more to do and see, the fever may not be as high.

But with the National Hockey League on hiatus and the Canadian Football League still to start, the 67's have an opportunity to capture the headlines.

High expectations turned to disappointment with the Knights' 5-4 win Tuesday. Ottawa believed it had the Knights on the rack with its win at the John Labatt Centre. The 67's may have caused a great deal of worry, but they haven't put anyone on the rack . . . yet.

There was also disappointment that the high-flying, offensively talented Knights would use a boring trap defence in the third period to secure their win. They did it to win, of course.

For the off-day, the Knights held a light skate for some players. When it was over, there was a regiment of reporters, microphones and television cameras looking for interviews

In the end, though, the players mimicked the interviewers by borrowing tape recorders and notepads. At one point, eight to 10 Knights did a fine imitation of a media scrum by pinning Brandon Prust against a wall and firing questions at him.

Yet there are serious questions to answer. Yesterday, they focused on the 67's power play and the Knights goaltending.

Ah, so you thought the Knights had that goaltending thing figured out. One suspects they thought so too when they made Adam Dennis No. 1 in the Kitchener Rangers series. Alas, the last two games have been less than awe-inspiring. After giving up three goals Tuesday, he was yanked in favour of Gerald Coleman. Coleman gave up one goal but appeared steadier than Dennis.

The change gave rebirth to the "who will start Game 4" questions.

One thing the two goaltenders, especially Coleman, have learned is that being prepared is a necessity.

"I prepared the same way I always do because who knows what could happen," Coleman said. "I didn't think I would be playing, but it was a fluke and I had to go in. Being ready paid off.

"(Dennis) got into a hot streak and I just sat back and watched how he prepared for the games because he has a little more experience than I have."

Coleman admitted being nervous with a one-goal lead.

"(The game) looked so fast," said Coleman. "I hadn't played in five, six games. It was a little fast at first, but when I made that first save I settled down right away."

Whoever starts will have to handle the 67's's traditional but good power play.

"Their power play is clicking right now and that's their big thing," said the Knights' Rob Schremp. "It's not like they do anything special. They stick to the basics. They get the puck and shoot it and they get screens. Even (Adam Dennis) says it's like a pinball machine. It gets in there and you don't know where it's going."

"What we need to do more of is block shots and clear the front of the net," said the Knights' Marc Methot. "The truth is we have to abuse them a little bit more, try to keep them away and scare them away from the front of the net."

Londoner Mark Mancari is usually the guy hanging around the front of the net. He has four playoff power-play goals and the 67's have 22 as a team.

It's one reason neither team was particularly rambunctious in Game 3. Taking a goofy penalty may cost you a goal, a game, a series and an OHL championship.


Videos

Photos