Injuries leave Knights short

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

The last time the London hockey bus headed to Sault Ste. Marie, the Knights were red hot and healthy while the Greyhounds were struggling mightily.

But the gales of November turned gloomy that trip with high winds forcing the game's postponement because the Knights bus couldn't cross the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan.

The two teams play the rescheduled game tonight at the Sault Memorial Gardens but the Knights will be badly shorthanded without second-leading scorer and world junior gold medallist David Bolland, who stayed behind in London yesterday for more treatment on his bruised left hand.

"David's the only right-handed shot on the power play and without him, it's going to be tough for Rob (Schremp) and I to get that big cross-ice pass from his spot," Knights captain Dylan Hunter said. "Besides that, we're going to miss him because he's a great player and we need him in the lineup."

London defenceman Matt Pelech and his booming slapper is expected to take Bolland's spot on the OHL's top power-play unit, which has operated at a 30-per-cent efficiency nearly all season.

Bolland, who was still wearing a bandage wrap on his hand yesterday, said he expects to play on Friday against Toronto, Saturday in Erie and Sunday in Guelph. It's a big week for the Knights, who have surging Kitchener on their heels in the race for top spot in the Western Conference.

"We know Kitchener isn't going to lose too many more games," Knights assistant coach Jacques Beaulieu said, "so we have to keep winning the rest of ours or if we don't, then beat the Rangers head-to-head."

London defenceman Ryan Martinelli suffered what's being described as an upper body injury on Saturday in Barrie but will try to play tonight against the team his father Barry suited up for in the early 1970s.

Knights' big defenceman/ winger David Jarram hurt his tailbone by crashing into the boards during practice this week and hopes to play on Friday. Veteran forward Jamie VanderVeeken, who has been nursing a broken bone in his hand, got his cast off on Monday and is targeting a return in the next few two weeks.

Forward Robbie Drummond returns to the London lineup Sunday after serving a five-game suspension for cross-checking Kitchener's Evan McGrath in the face.

Knights goalie Adam Dennis has played in 36 straight games.

"He's a well-conditioned goalie and I think Adam could handle playing all of them," London goalie coach Dave Rook said. "We'll have to wait and see what happens."

Backup Steve Mason returned to the Knights after a stint in the Western Junior B Hockey League's Petrolia Jets, where he has a 3-2-1 record with a 2.92 goals against average.


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