The Soo Greyhounds were unable to find a way to shut down David Bolland in the first round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.
The Owen Sound Attack don't appear to have the answer, either.
The talented London forward scored three times and added an assist as the Knights opened their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series with a 6-3 victory over the Attack before 9,090 last night at the John Labatt Centre.
It was the second straight hat trick for Bolland, who picked up where he left off 10 days ago after eliminating the 'Hounds with a three-goal effort in Game 4 at the Sault.
The 19-year-old Mimico native, who has 11 tallies in five playoff games, added variety to his production with a power-play goal, an even-strength effort and a penalty shot after being hauled down on a short-handed breakaway.
"I don't know if I've ever done that before -- I just needed the empty-net goal, too," the Chicago Blackhawks prospect and world junior gold medallist said.
On the second-period penalty shot, Bolland went to his trademark move -- the trusty forehand stuff -- to beat Owen Sound goalie Michael Ouzas and give the Knights the lead for good.
"I don't know if they watch tape or read the newspaper or what, but I've used that move about 10 times now this year," he said. "It's good to score six goals on a goalie like Ouzas. If we keep this up, he's going to get tired. I feel pretty good right now and we haven't had Rob Schremp scoring yet.
"Once he gets going, and if Dylan (Hunter) and I score a couple, we're going to be tough to stop."
That's what worries Owen Sound, whose game plan includes containing Bolland. Clearly, that's easier to do on a chalkboard than on the ice.
"That's why he is the player he is -- he's been doing it all year and he finds a way to score big goals," Owen Sound head coach Mike Stothers said. "That's all there is to it."
Though London's vaunted power play was listed as its big advantage in the series, the Knights actually scored twice on the penalty kill with an inspired Robbie Drummond adding a short-handed dagger late in the third period. Owen Sound outscored London 2-1 on the power play but the Knights' two shorties made a big difference.
"You never expect short-handed goals, so to get two like that is a big bonus," Drummond said. "We knew this was going to be a physical series. They're a big team and we knew we are going to have to use the body out there."
With more spunk than size in the second period, Drummond knocked big Owen Sound defenceman Jeff Moor loopy with a crushing hit (he was penalized for charging on the play) and defenceman Trevor Kell rocked Derek Brochu with an open-ice stunner as the Attack forward leaped to avoid the contact.
KNIGHTS 6, ATTACK 3
London leads best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal 1-0)
London goals: David Bolland (3), Dylan Hunter, Sergei Kostitsyn, Robbie Drummond
Owen Sound goals: Bob Sanguinetti, Jeff Kyrzakos, Bobby Ryan
Next: Game 2 is tonight in Owen Sound at 7:30 p.m.