Knights hope to re-energize power play

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

The Knights are looking to put the power back into their power play.

They have not had to rely on the most potent power play in the Canadian Hockey League but the time may come before this tournament is over that they will need it.

It's not that the referees aren't giving them the opportunities. Through two games, London has had 14 power plays -- but clicked only once.

The Knights, 2-0, are one win away from a bye into Sunday's championship game. They conclude their round-robin portion of the tournament tomorrow night against the Ottawa 67's.

The team that has received the bye 11 of the past 12 years has skated off with the Cup.

The Knights will be well-rested, and so will their power play. They won't have played in two nights when they hit the ice against the 67's.

"We aren't worried about the power play," forward Dylan Hunter said yesterday. Most players were given the day off.

"We've done everything but put the puck in the net. We changed it up a little" -- scoring against a tired Kelowna team on Monday -- "and put a guy in the slot.

"It worked better. We're confident."

Defenceman Danny Syvret said it's obvious the other teams have prepared after the Knights scored 97 of their 310 regular-season goals with the man-advantage.

"Every team that came in knew our power play was such a big part of our success, and they've worked hard on their penalty kill to try and keep us off the scoresheet when we're up a man," Syvret said.

"As long as our five-on-fives is producing, I'm quite happy.

"I think once it gets down to a tight game, the referee will put his whistle in his pocket and let us play the game rather than give someone the disadvantage. So as long as we're scoring even-strength, I'm pretty confident our team will do well."

Syvret, known to send the occasional wakeup call to his teammates, used the opportunity to say: "I don't know if it's been the cameras or we're trying to make the highlight- reel goals, but we've passed up on some scoring opportunities (on the power play) -- where I imagine if we throw the puck on net and there's a bunch of traffic, it might find its way through.

"But we're dishing and trying the back-door tap-in and it's not working for us."

Corey Perry said there hasn't been any frustration.

"As long as we're getting chances . . . the goalies are making big saves on us," he said.

"If we keep going to the net, we're going to start scoring. As long as we're scoring even- strength, we'll be all right. I don't think penalties are going to be called digging deeper into the tournament."

The Knights head into tomorrow's game in the driver's seat. They know they can beat the 67's -- they did it four out of five games to win the OHL crown.

But the 67's did win that one game in London. It was only the second time the Knights lost on home ice all season.

"They've surprised people here. They played a hard game Sunday night against Kelowna," which the 67's won in double overtime, the longest game in Memorial Cup history since the tournament format was adopted in 1972.

"They came here to show people they should be here and that they can win. They're not here for the free ride and the party. They have heart in that dressing room."

Syvret said the players are jacked for the game. "It's an exciting time. We're getting a little nervous. This is a rematch of the OHL final."


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