Knights come up short

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

The mystique of the John Labatt Centre is under Attack.

The defending Memorial Cup champion London Knights, who have the best OHL record in their own arena over the past three seasons, surrendered home ice advantage and now trail 2-1 in their playoff series with surprising Owen Sound following a 4-3 loss to the Attack before 9,090 fans last night at the JLC.

With leading goal-scorer and world junior gold medallist David Bolland serving the first of a four-game suspension for kicking Mike Angelidis in Game 2, London gave up three late, short-handed goals -- including a pivotal third-period tally by former Knight Billy Carroll's 17-year-old son Marcus -- as the Attack grabbed the upper hand in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal.

To keep the dream alive of a second straight OHL title, London must win at least once at Owen Sound's Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre, where Game 4 goes tomorrow at 7 p.m.

"This isn't December -- this is playoff hockey and if we don't pick it up soon, it's going to be a long summer," London forward Rob Schremp warned. "We made too many mistakes. If we let (Owen Sound captain) Bobby Ryan free-wheel out there, we're going to get burned. We're struggling to find our game right now and we're battling injuries." (Jordan Foreman didn't finish the game and was seen limping afterward.)

Schremp, with 57 goals in the regular season, still hasn't scored in three games against Owen Sound goalie Michael Ouzas. He downplayed his current oh-for-Ouzas streak and focused his attention on the overall play of his team.

"He (Ouzas) is getting lucky and they're getting the breaks right now," Schremp said. "I have 19 points in the playoffs, so I'm producing. I couldn't care less about scoring goals as long as we're getting some from the rest of the guys. Sergei (Kostitsyn) got the early goal for us (last night), but they had guys like (Carroll) scoring goals for them. We need our guys like that to get one and it's not happening."

With Bolland gone, Schremp, Kostitsyn and London captain Dylan Hunter logged even heavier-than-normal minutes and the Knights paid the price in the third period. Kostitsyn's goal stood up until Owen Sound's Jeff Kyrzakos and Theo Peckham cashed in on consecutive delayed penalties.

London's Robbie Drummond tied it 13 seconds later on a goal that was reviewed before Carroll dashed in front of Knights goalie Adam Dennis and punched the puck past the OHL's top goalie to put the Attack up 3-2. Kyrzakos added a short-handed empty netter for a 4-2 bulge and Knights defenceman Trevor Kell then scored with 25 seconds left.

"We know we have to go up there and win now and we've been playing in small barns all year so there's no excuses," Kell said.

"We're more skilled than they are, but we have to outwork them and it has to happen soon."

It's the first time London has lost more than one game in a playoff series since falling in seven to Dennis and the Guelph Storm in the 2004 conference final.

Owen Sound, which knocked out the powerful Kitchener Rangers in five games in the first round, isn't about to let up on the Knights.

GAME GLANCE

Attack 4, Knights 3

Owen Sound leads best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal 2-1

Owen Sound goals: Jeff Kyrzakos (2), Theo Peckham, Marcus Carroll

London goals: Sergei Kostitsyn, Robbie Drummond, Trevor Kell

Next: Game 3 is tomorrow in Owen Sound at 7 p.m.


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