Knights' woes continue

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 1:24 PM ET

This is beginning to look a lot like the London Knights' lost weekend.

The Knights suffered a shocking second straight home loss, watched Robbie Drummond taken to hospital on a stretcher, engaged in a vicious line brawl and will lose goaltender Adam Dennis for two games after he traded punches at centre ice with Plymouth goalie Justin Peters.

There wasn't anything pretty about London's eventful 3-0 loss to the Whalers before 9,090 last night at the John Labatt Centre. It was the first time the Knights have been shut out since Dec. 28, 2004.

"The Ottawa Senators are going through a rough period right now, but they're still a heck of a hockey team," said Knights assistant coach Jeff Perry. "These things happen. It's hockey. We're just in a tough stretch right now and we'll work our way out of it."

Next up: a rematch with the powerful Kitchener Rangers, who granted London another day on top of the OHL's Western Conference standings by losing 4-1 to the Erie Otters last night.

The short-handed Knights will have to beat the Rangers to avoid their worst stretch since an 0-4 start in September and they'll have rookie Steve Mason in net.

The Knights immediate concern was Drummond, who was clobbered by Plymouth winger Jared Boll at centre ice in the second period. The 19-year-old Londoner remained on the ice for 10 minutes before being strapped to a flatboard and taken to hospital.

Drummond received a nasty gash to the head but word filtered back to the dressing room from the hospital that he was feeling more comfortable.

"It's great that he's going to be all right," Jeff Perry said. "That's the last thing you want to see. You want to win hockey games -- but first and foremost, we care about the health of our players."

Boll, who was run over by London's Trevor Kell immediately after the hit, added insult to injury by scoring the Whalers' third goal. London's Josh Beaulieu went after Boll in the third period to trigger the mass fisticuffs.

Dennis was bloodied and overpowered by Peters and crashed to the ice. Both puckstoppers were ejected and Dennis was replaced by Chris Wall, who was called up from the London Nationals yesterday so Mason could play for the junior B Petrolia Jets.

Frustrated by their lack of scoring, London officially has a problem with its highly rated power play, which went 0-for-11 for the second straight night.

Rob Schremp, the OHL's leading scorer, was held pointless for just the fourth game this season and the Knights must win 14 of their remaining 16 games in order to reach 50 wins for the third straight season. That's not going to be easy -- the Knights still have a pair of games left against the Eastern Conference-leading Peterborough Petes and two more against the tough Kitchener Rangers.

Kell feels it's going to be a great way to finish the regular season.

"I think the schedule down the stretch is going to get us ready for the playoffs," he said. "It'll be good for the young guys. There's not really a lot of days off anymore and that's going to make us battle-hardened for the games to come."

London knows that Kitchener isn't likely to fall off anytime soon and the Knights won't get an opportunity to rest their big guns.

GAME GLANCE

Whalers 3, Knights 0

Plymouth goals: Mike Letizia, Gino Pisellini, Jared Boll

Shutout: Justin Peters and Justin Garay

Next: London heads to Kitchener tomorrow night for a 7 p.m. faceoff at the Aud.

WHALERS 3

KNIGHTS 0


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