Knights miss high-flying forwards

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

KITCHENER -- Hurry back, Rob Schremp and David Bolland.

Because of favourable connecting flights from Vancouver, it's entirely possible both high-flying forwards will be back from the world junior hockey championships in time to play in London's game Friday night against the Belleville Bulls.

That would be splendid news for the Knights, who dropped their third game in four outings 4-1 to Kitchener and were badly outshot 44-25 by the Rangers before 5,948 last night at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.

"It's disappointing. We made an excuse for ourselves before the game and we didn't overcome it," said goalie Adam Dennis, whose pro-calibre performance kept the game from becoming a big-league blowout. "We had some suspensions and Rob and David are gone, but we can't just rely on those guys. We have a good team here. We just have to do it. You can't make excuses for yourself. That doesn't help anybody."

This recent skid is London's worst stretch since losing the first four games of the season before Schremp, Dennis and captain Dylan Hunter swooped in from pro camps. The Knights have only scored seven goals in four games following the holiday break and are missing Bolland and Schremp's combination for a league-best 56 tallies.

"If they come back Friday, that would be great but if they're not back, we have to work hard and try to get a win," said Knights forward Jordan Foreman. "We have to be better than this. In the playoffs, there could be an injury so you can't rely on a couple of guys like that. The whole team has to get going."

Dennis was yanked with 1:46 left in the game and replaced by rookie Steve Mason -- the first time the Knights starter has not seen a game to its conclusion since beginning his 32-game playing streak.

"I don't know why (he was pulled) -- to give Steve Mason some experience?" Dennis said. "I guess they could see my emotions were running high and they didn't want me to do something stupid."

Adding fuel to the London-Kitchener rivalry, Duco celebrated a third-period fight victory over Foreman by gesturing to the crowd.

"I didn't even see it," Foreman said. "I guess that's part of the game. He got the better of me in the fight and he can do what he wants. It was a frustrating game."

Last night, London's David Jarram, Kris Belan and Matt Davis served the first of their two-game suspensions stemming from the trio of fights during the stoppage on Sunday in the Knights' 5-2 loss in Sarnia.

The Knights, who are searching for another quality defenceman before next Tuesday's trade deadline, are expected to send recent callups Corbin Crawford and Reggie Traccitto back to their regular teams by the conclusion of the weekend. Crawford, the son of former Kitchener Ranger Lou Crawford, played a spell on forward last night and nearly bagged a goal near the end of the third.

The Knights head to Museum London today from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. for a question-and-answer session. The museum recently acquired some memorabilia that was on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto to commemorate London's historic 2004-05 season.

RANGERS 4, KNIGHTS 1

Kitchener goals: Evan McGrath, Craig Voakes, Nick Spaling, Matt Auffrey

London goal: Jordan Foreman

Next: London heads home to the John Labatt Centre to face the Belleville Bulls Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Kitchener on Sunday at 2 p.m.


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