Hunter, Todd suspended, fined over early fights

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 12:30 PM ET

OTTAWA -- Dale Hunter has landed in hot water with the OHL brass once again.

The London head coach and Peterborough bench boss Dick Todd were each suspended two games and fined $2,500 each for the flurry of fights at the start of the Knights' 4-2 victory over the Petes on Thursday night at the Peterborough Memorial Centre.

Hunter, who served the first game last night in Ottawa, declined to comment on the suspension and fine but insisted he didn't orchestrate any fights.

He was also suspended for two games on Feb. 10 when London and Plymouth engaged in a brawl at the John Labatt Centre.

That fight had goalies Adam Dennis of the Knights and Justin Peters of the Whalers leaving their creases to fight at centre ice.

Hunter, who found out about the sanctions while travelling on the team bus to the Civic Centre yesterday afternoon, will serve the second game tomorrow in Kingston and be back behind the bench March 10 when London faces the Owen Sound Attack at the JLC.

In a game with first place in the OHL on the line, London and Peterborough kick-started the tilt with an unforgettable four fights on consecutive faceoffs in the first eight seconds of Thursday's game.

London tough guy Josh Beaulieu, who was also in the starting lineup on Wednesday in Belleville and didn't fight, dropped the gloves with Peterborough's Justin Soryal at the opening faceoff and the Knights clearly weren't fans of the big Pete celebrating by raising his arms in the air on his way to the penalty box.

Hunter replaced Beaulieu with forward Kris Belan, who immediately fought with Justin Caruana.

Jamie VanderVeeken was sent onto the ice for London and took on Burke MacDonald.

This was followed by a fourth and final bout, featuring Knights defenceman Ryan Martinelli and Petes winger Greg Stewart.

Though the four fights were the talk of the league yesterday, the image-conscious OHL didn't appreciate the attention that was generated.

London assistant coaches Jeff Perry and Jacques Beaulieu ran the team last night in Hunter's absence as the Knights returned to Ottawa for the first time since last year's OHL final.


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