Knights, fast and furious

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 12:42 PM ET

There's only one phrase to describe the London Knights goal-scoring ability: fast and furious.

The high-octane Knights stunned the Erie Otters with three goals in a 46-second span in the first period, then buried four consecutive power-play goals in the second period en route to a 7-1 win before 9,090 last night at the John Labatt Centre.

The win was London's 13th in 14 games and propelled the Knights to within striking distance of top spot in the OHL's Western Conference, a position they owned all of last season during their march to the Memorial Cup title.

London's quick three goals by Rob Schremp, Josh Beaulieu and David Bolland wasn't a team record for speedy scoring. Former Knights forward and assistant coach Brian Dobbin singlehandedly popped three goals in 26 seconds during the third period of a game in Sault Ste. Marie on Feb. 9, 1986.

Schremp's second goal of the game and 17th on the season chased Erie starter Josh Disher, who was replaced by backup Jhase Sniderman.

A.J. Perry, who has been productive for London this season, greeted the new Otters netminder by scoring his 11th goal of the season to give the Knights their third power-play marker in two minutes.

David Bolland added a gorgeous one-timer for yet another power-play goal nearing the midpoint of the period.

Busting out of the gate was a particular focus for London, which felt it had been playing too sluggish in the early part of the last few games.

Heading into last night, the Knights had outscored their opposition 48-25 in the third period but only had a 12-goal edge (32-20) in the first period and a four-goal advantage (31-27) in second period.

"We haven't been very good at the start of games lately," Knights captain Dylan Hunter said. "That's something we're really trying to improve. Lately, we end the first period with a 0-0 tie or a 1-0 game and that's not good enough. We want to be able to jump on teams right away, get a lead early and play from in front."

Consider it mission accomplished.

Beaulieu, who returned to the lineup last night after serving a two-game suspension, scored his sixth goal in 11 games and skated with zip.

The 18-year-old Comber native was out for last week's Windsor and Sarnia contests for engaging in the second fight during the same stoppage of play in London's 9-5 victory in Oshawa Oct. 30.

With all that early goal scoring, the first period was hardly a violent one. For the first time this season, the Knights played a period in which no penalties were called.

Erie's star forward, Michael Blunden, an imposing 18-year-old who's a candidate for the Canadian entry at the upcoming world junior hockey championships, saw his eight-game goal-scoring streak come to an end against Adam Dennis and an inspired London defence.

The Knights head to Plymouth tonight and Sault Ste. Marie tomorrow for their first taste of three games in three days this season.

They also face the dreaded three-in-three experience next weekend with Guelph and Owen Sound coming into the JLC Thursday and Friday before their first visit to Erie.

"It is a big deal for us. Three-in-three is not easy," Knights veteran forward Rob Schremp said.

"For a guy like me, I'm playing something like 22 minutes a game on average, so to have to ride the bus for three hours to Plymouth and then to the Sault is another seven hours.

"It's tough and it wears on you. It all adds up."

GAME GLANCE

Knights 7, Otters 1

London goals: Rob Schremp (2), Josh Beaulieu, David Bolland (2), Jordan Foreman, A.J. Perry

Erie goals: Jake Heller

Next: The Knights head to Plymouth tonight to face the Whalers at 7:30 p.m., then roll on to Sault Ste. Marie for a game tomorrow at 7 p.m.


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