Rockets rocked

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- What a shame it would be for the sport of hockey if the fans of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks don't bother coming back after the NHL lockout.

Ducks prospect and London Knights star Corey Perry is the kind of talent who should be playing in front of packed houses. He is doing that here at the John Labatt Centre and the Memorial Cup, the tournament before his most ardent fans that is his farewell to junior hockey.

Against the Western Hockey League champion Kelowna Rockets last night, Perry was excellent, scoring two goals and demonstrating why he should be an NHL star for years. The Knights won 4-2, improving their Cup record to 2-0 and guaranteeing themselves at least a spot in the semi-final on Saturday. If London beats the Ottawa 67's Thursday night, it will have a bye to Sunday's final.

"You never know what will happen next year, but this is looking like it is my last year (in the OHL) and hopefully we can go out with a bang," said Perry, who signed with Anaheim last September and will be with the Ducks or their farm team in Portland next season. "I thought I played a pretty good game out there. Your best players have to step up and I'm just trying to help the team. We want to make sure we get a bye to the final."

Perry, who led the OHL with 130 points in 60 games in the regular season, is doing more than helping. He has been a force in each of London's games at the Memorial Cup -- against the other two league champions in major junior hockey, no less -- and it's hard to believe Perry was doubted before the world junior championship last winter. He made Canada's team as the 13th forward, but an injury to Jeremy Colliton led to Perry's inclusion on the top line with Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron.

Though Perry likely will finish second today to Crosby when the Canadian Hockey League's player of the year award is handed out, there's no diminishing his importance to the Knights. Last night, Perry scored the go-ahead goal at the time and had the winner on a slapshot from the point while the Knights were on a power play.

"He steps up in the big games as you saw in the world junior and as you are seeing here," Knights captain Danny Syvret said. "He makes our defence better because we have to play against him in practice."

Drew Larman also had two goals for London. Troy Bodie and Darren Deschamps scored for Kelowna.

The defending Cup champion Rockets have to beat Crosby and the Oceanic tomorrow night to have any chance of staying alive.

"We know what we're up against," Rockets coach Jeff Truitt said. "This is a must-win situation and our guys have done a great job responding to challenges."


Photos