Petes all about depth, energy

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

The Peterborough Petes are enjoying one of the best seasons in franchise history, but they're not getting carried away about it.

The Petes, who face London tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre, are cruising to the OHL's Eastern Conference title but level-headed veteran scorer Jamie Tardif shrugged off the early season comparisons to last year's powerhouse Knights squad.

"You can't compare us to those Knights. I don't think there's a team out there that's ever been like that one," Tardif, 21, said. "It's been a good year for us and we have a lot of depth. We bring an energy game every night."

The Petes beat the Memorial Cup champion Knights 6-2 at Peterborough last year in an explosive game that featured a line brawl. Tardif doesn't believe any bad feelings have carried over to this season.

"It was their second loss in a row on that (Eastern) road trip and I don't think they really knew how to handle it," he said. "This game is going to be exciting for both teams. It's a good test and I'm sure that's the way they're (the Knights) looking at it."

Unlike high-scoring London, Peterborough doesn't have any players on the OHL's top 10 points list. Embattled forward Steve Downie would likely be there if they didn't sit out while awaiting a trade from Windsor early this season.

"He's been almost at two points per game since he got here, so it has been a tremendous boost for us," Tardif said. "It was tough to lose (veteran defenceman Peter Aston in the trade) at first, but we have solid defence and goaltending (in veteran David Shantz) and adding Steve gave us another high-scoring forward."

Tardif, a former Petes first-rounder, went into last night's game against Kingston with a team-high 34 goals -- 26 on the power play. While London uses five forwards with the man advantage, Peterborough usually goes to the more traditional three-forward, two-defenceman approach, which has proved effective.

"We're creating a lot of chances on the power play," said Tardif, who is currently playing on a line with Jordan Staal and Liam Reddox. "But we're not just about special teams. We have three lines who can score and a fourth who works and skates hard. We pretty much like to roll four lines."

The Petes haven't suffered many injuries this season, which isn't surprising since coach Dick Todd and GM Jeff Twohey are both former trainers for the team. They know how to pick durable players.

"Knock on wood, but it's gone pretty well so far," Tardif said. "We hope it continues right through the playoffs."


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