Knights know comebacks

RYAN PYETTE, FREE PRESS SPORTS REPORTER

, Last Updated: 8:03 AM ET

SAULT STE. MARIE -- Adam Perry has seen all this crazy comeback business quite a bit before.

But the London Knights forward still can't find a reasonable explanation for how his team was able to fight back from two goals down to a hard-working Sault team late in the third period and then win 6-5 in overtime to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the Western Conference quarter-final with the Greyhounds on Sunday night.

"All I know is when I was growing up in Peterborough, our minor hockey team was called the Cardiac Kids because we kept pulling out games like that in the last five minutes," the 19-year-old said. "So I've been through it, just not at this level. It doesn't happen very often like that in this league."

This last-minute London team has been yanking the carpet from under its opponents' skates all season, including several times in the last three weeks.

Veteran Knight Trevor Kell feels those victories add extra dejection and demoralization to an opponents' psyche.

"The Soo gave everything they had against us in Game 3. They worked hard, they scored goals and they still lost," he said. "We certainly hope they realize they played their best game and weren't able to beat us, so maybe in their minds, they start thinking that they can't beat us no matter what they do."

London created that air of inevitability when Rob Schremp buried two power-play goals in just over a minute late in the third period to tie the game 5-5 and send it into overtime.

"We have kids who have won before and that's the difference when you play teams that haven't had a lot of playoff experience," London assistant coach Jacques Beaulieu said. "Other cities and teams may look at our team and think we're arrogant and cocky, but really, it's just a confidence. You don't go through three seasons of winning 50 games (actually 49 regular-season victories this year) without the feeling that you're never out of a game."

That feeling starts with the team's power play, which has been the best in the OHL this season and has already accounted for nine of the Knights' 18 goals in this series.

"Two goals down with five minutes left is nothing as long as we're able to draw penalties," Perry said.

As long as there's time on the clock, London feels like it's still alive and able to change the outcome of the game.

"There's no real panic," Kell said. "It doesn't matter if everything is negative, we feel we can find a way to win it. It doesn't have to be our best game, but when the chips are down, we're going to do what we need to do to win."

So far in this series, the difference between the first-place squad and the eighth seed is the top-ranked team's ability to hold a late lead.

The Soo never could get the equalizer past London goalie Adam Dennis in Game 2 and Greyhounds stopper Kyle Gajewski couldn't handle Schremp's late blasts in Game 3.

"All that (rankings) stuff doesn't matter in the playoffs," London head coach Dale Hunter said. "The Soo's well-coached. They work hard. Our kids just found a way."

Some will call it conditioning. Others will call it karma or convenient officiating.

But whatever it is, the Knights have a killer instinct and the Greyhounds do not and that's why London is well in position to move on to the next round.

KNIGHTWATCH

London leads best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final 3-0

Game 4: Tonight, 7 p.m. at the Sault Memorial Gardens

Game 5 (if necessary): Thursday, 7 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre


Videos

Photos