Knights losses could add up

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 11:57 AM ET

OWEN SOUND -- In a hockey game head coach Dale Hunter described as "helter skelter," the London Knights' playoff fortunes have suddenly turned topsy turvy.

London is awaiting a disciplinary decision by the OHL's league office on star forward David Bolland after the team's hottest scorer was handed a match penalty for kicking Owen Sound's Mike Angelidis during a second period scrum in last night's 5-3 loss to the Attack before 3,337 last night at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.

Bolland, who was immediately ejected and could face a suspension for the kicking incident, was London's hottest scorer with a league-high 11 goals in his first five playoff games, including a hat trick in the Knights' series-opening victory over the Attack on Friday night.

Owen Sound claims Bolland clearly connected with Angelidis' shin pad but the Knights say Bolland's contact was purely incidental as he was swung around by an official.

"If it's the worst case scenario and we don't have (Bolland), then someone else is going to have to step up," London captain Dylan Hunter said. "It was a lacklustre effort by us. It was a plumber game, which is how they probably want to play against us. But if you can't be interested and work hard at this time of year, then get off my team and get out of the league.

"We didn't get going until seven minutes left in the game."

Owen Sound is convinced that Bolland kicked Angelidis with intent and is interested in seeing what the league will decide.

"It was a clean kick and if it was soccer, he would've scored a goal," Ryan said. "It would be a big loss for them. David Bolland is a 130-point scorer but he's more than that. He's a great penalty killer and he does a lot for that team."

London hopes to have Bolland in the lineup for Game 3 tomorrow night. It would be a terrible blow for the Knights if he was given a suspension similar to Owen Sound goalie Michael Ouzas' four-gamer for kicking earlier this season.

"David's a star player -- it would be like them losing Bobby Ryan," Dale Hunter said.

While Bolland hit the showers, Ryan scored Owen Sound's first three goals -- all on the power play -- and finally looked like the guy picked second overall in the 2005 NHL draft by Anaheim right after superstar Sidney Crosby.

Ryan used all of his six-foot-two frame to score his team's first three goals, including zapping two pucks past Adam Dennis to complete a couple of nifty toe-drag moves.

"That's my favourite move -- I developed it when I was six or seven years old," Ryan grinned. "I know I have to use my size. If I can play with two or three guys on my back, it's better for us."

Owen Sound's victory sent London to just its third loss in its past 28 playoff games. Dale Hunter left the ice at the end of the third period and was visibly disgusted with the officiating.

"It got out of control. There was hardly any five-on-five play, there was no skill out there," Hunter said. "It was a helter-skelter game. That's the way I would describe it. You can't just blame the officials. You have to blame the two teams, too. It was just one of those games."

The Knights knew they would have a tougher time controlling the boards in Owen Sound's rink.

"They have a big team and they play well in their own arena," London captain Dylan Hunter said. "To win a game there, especially early in the series, is big."

For the Knights, that will have to be Game 4 and probably without Bolland.

London forward Josh Beaulieu, who crashed into the Owen Sound net in the first period on Friday at the JLC and never returned to the game, didn't make the trip last night. He is listed as day-to-day and his presence will be required in Bolland's absence.

The after-effects of London's physical play on Friday kept two Owen Sound players on the sidelines last night. Attack forward Marek Bartanus and Jeff Moor.

GAME GLANCE

Attack 5, Knights 3

Best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal tied 1-1

Owen Sound goals: Bobby Ryan (3), Igor Gongalsky, Scott Tregunna

London goals: Dylan Hunter, Adam Perry, Sergei Kostitsyn

Next: Game 3 goes tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre.


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