Knights ready for top-ranked Petes

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

After plucking disgruntled forward Steve Downie from Windsor, the Peterborough Petes look like the team to beat in the OHL this season.

But don't try telling that to London Knights forward Rob Schremp.

"Downie's a good, physical player and will help them, but he's not a 150-goal scorer or anything," Schremp said yesterday. "He's going to give them some protection for guys like Liam Reddox, but it's not like they (the Petes) went out and got Eric Lindros."

The Knights, who have won 12 of 13 games to propel themselves back into contention for a second straight Western Conference title, don't meet the Eastern Conference-leading Petes until Feb. 17 at the JLC.

"Whenever we play them, it will be good for the younger guys to face a team that is supposed to better than we are," Schremp said. "We don't always get the chance to play someone ranked higher than us. We went through that pressure (of being No. 1) all season last year and it's nice to let someone else have to carry that for a while."

Peterborough is currently the top- ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League and achieved that before bringing aboard the 18-year-old Downie Wednesday in exchange for defenceman Peter Aston, 19, second- and fifth-round draft picks in 2006 and a second-rounder in 2007.

Despite sources saying London, Ottawa and Kitchener were in the hunt, Knights GM Mark Hunter said his team wasn't among those close to acquiring Downie.

"We really weren't there," he said.

"He's a good player and will help them. I don't know if it makes them the best in the league. With us, we have to worry about the West and everyone's still waiting for Kitchener to get it turned around. I think (the Rangers) are too good team to be where they are."


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