Knights' Big Three thrive on ice time

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 12:44 PM ET

Robert Frost, in his classic Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, penned he had miles to go before he sleeps.

The same can be said of the London Knights' top line of David Bolland, Rob Schremp and Dylan Hunter.

Each night they have miles to skate before they will sleep.

But any fears they will be burned out by Christmas can be put to bed, said Schremp, as the trio got more than its fair share of ice time in last night's 8-3 win over the Plymouth Whalers.

The line collected 12 points, including four goals.

Schremp said the Knights have the OHL's new standard of rule enforcement to thank.

"It saves a lot of energy" since impeding one's opponent with the stick or hand is out.

"When you're trying to break through guys grabbing, holding and hooking you, it's tiring. You come off a 45-second shift last year where you're getting held back the whole time, you're dead. It gets tiring when you're trying to drive your legs with a 200-pound guy on your back.

"Now we can go 1:15 and be fresh. You can break through forechecks and get in there."

Schremp said the three are benefiting after spending all summer working their tails off to attend NHL camps. Schremp had a long stay in Edmonton, where he almost stuck with the Oilers.

"I think we can handle the ice time," he said. "We were ready for this."

The Knights lost a lot of depth to graduation, so the ice time won't be decreasing for the three.

"You can feel the stamina and you're fresh going into the third period," Schremp said.

"It will be huge in the playoffs. You're already tired from playing 68 games in the regular season and going into the playoffs, a lot of guys seem to die out. But this year I think there will be a lot more energy."

Last night was a test as the Knights played one of the contenders in the Western Conference as opposed to some of the pretenders they've seen lately.

"I guess you could say we've played some weaker teams," Schremp said. "The Kitcheners are coming up and teams like that and it will be good to see what we're made of and how we hold up.

"We've won games 11-2, but let's see how we do in games where we go into the third period leading 2-1 or 3-2 and see how we react to those."

On this date last year, the Knights improved to 13 wins and one tie on the way to a Canadian Hockey League record 29-0-2-0 streak.

Each night they went on the ice feeling invincible and Schremp says that can't-be-beat thinking is something a team needs to be successful.

They got a taste of it with their recent eight-game winning streak that ended Thursday in Windsor.

"Last year, we already had that feeling 12, 13 games in, that nobody-could-stop-us kind of attitude. You could say it was cocky, but it was the truth. Nobody beat us for 31 games.

"Now we have younger guys and we're trying to educate them as to what it feels like to be on that kind of team and what it feels like to be winning every night.

"They're starting to learn what it takes to prepare for a game. Every game is the same. You get a routine and you stick to it. The rookies are starting to focus a little more."

Schremp is keeping an eye on what his future employer is up to. He has the NHL Network package and sees many Edmonton games. The Oilers took a seven-game losing streak into Dallas last night.

"It's nice to think that maybe they could use me," he said. "The things I bring to the table, such as the power play, are areas they seem to be struggling at right now.

"But it's early in the season. There's a lot of new guys there and they're just learning to click with each other."

In that respect, the Knights, with their 9-5-0-0 record, are doing a better job.

GAME GLANCE

Knights 8, Whalers 3

London goals: David Bolland (3), Josh Beaulieu, Robbie Drumond, Dylan Hunter, Trevor Kell, A.J. Perry

Plymouth goals: Vaclav Meidl, James Neal, Ondrej Otcenas

Next: London heads to Oshawa tomorrow to face 15-year-old John Tavares and the Generals. The puck drops at 6:05 p.m.


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