Cup is in sight for Knights

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- About the only negative for the London Knights in this wonderful season is that just one game remains in it.

But for the Knights, that one game will be the final of the 2005 Memorial Cup, the match they have been aiming for all season.

"It feels great, for sure," Knights captain Danny Syvret said. "We could be Memorial Cup champions in 60 minutes (of hockey). If we had been told that at the beginning of the year, we would have been pretty happy with ourselves. Hopefully, we will have a shot to raise the Memorial Cup."

The Knights last night earned a bye to the championship game thanks to a resounding 5-2 triumph against the Ottawa 67's before a capacity crowd of 8,905 in the final round-robin game. London, which lost two playoff games after taking over the OHL record book during the regular season, went 3-0 in the round-robin, outscoring the opposition 13-7.

Not that the Knights need more inspiration as they go for their first Cup title in their 40th season, but 11 of the past 12 teams to have a bye past the semi-final have won the Cup.

"It hasn't sunk in yet, but after Sunday it will be a great feeling," forward Corey Perry said. "Well, hopefully anyway."

The 67's were 1-2 in the round-robin and will clash with Sidney Crosby and the Rimouski Oceanic (2-1) tomorrow night in the semi-final.

On Tuesday, the Oceanic defeated the 67's 4-3. Of the three games Rimouski has played, it easily was the one which marked the most physical abuse for Crosby. But he has further demonstrated here that he can play through the concentrated attention of opponents, and had two points in each game.

Still, he should expect the same treatment tomorrow.

'GET ON HIM'

"Any time anyone has the puck, especially someone of his calibre, you get on him right away," 67's defenceman Will Colbert said. "Hit him as much as we can. You can't let him run around."

Daniel Girardi, Dylan Hunter, Danny Syvret, Corey Perry and Dan Fritsche shared the Knights' scoring last night. Chris Hulit and Mark Mancari replied for Ottawa, which lost in five games to the Knights in the OHL final.

For the third time in three games, the Knights fell behind 1-0. But the 67's never were a huge threat and coach Brian Kilrea was unimpressed. He lamented what he might have been doing tomorrow had the 67's earned the bye.

"I could sit there and have an Ex in the Labatt Centre," Kilrea said, provoking laughter from reporters. "But it's not going to work. Hopefully, we can find some players who play better than they did (last night)."

It might not have mattered anyway. The Knights' depth is a huge advantage that no other team here can boast.

"It's frustrating," Colbert said. "We have depth but they have all-stars."


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