Knights look for a win

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 11:47 AM ET

The last thing London Knights defenceman Matt Pelech needs is another puck in the mouth.

The big defenceman, who is already looking at some off-season root canals after blocking a shot with his face against Kitchener in February, felt lucky he didn't get hurt after the fog rolled in Wednesday night at Owen Sound's Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre during London's 5-1 win in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal series.

London head coach Dale Hunter called the conditions dangerous and agreed with referees Ryan Carroll and Sean Reid's decision to halt the game midway through the third period for a quick skate-around to increase visibility.

"It got so bad, you could only see one zone ahead of you and your visor kept fogging up," Pelech said. "In our end, you would look down the ice and barely see the outline of (Owen Sound goalie Michael) Ouzas in his net. I've never seen anything like it in an OHL rink. The last time anything like that happened was playing back in minor hockey arenas."

Attack head coach Mike Stothers didn't think the mid-period break was necessary -- it gave London's stars a chance to rest -- but said Owen Sound would try to improve the conditions for Game 6 tomorrow. One way to solve the problem would be to bring in portable fans, which was done years ago for playoff games at the old London Ice House.

Pelech, who left Game 4 a few minutes before the final buzzer to begin icing various parts of his body, called it a precautionary measure and said he's feeling strong and ready to play. The Calgary Flames first-rounder has lugged the puck up the ice by himself several times in the series and created a couple of good offensive chances against the Attack.

London forward Jordan Foreman, who sat out Game 4 with a leg injury, is hopeful he can play tonight. Dale Hunter has him listed as day-to-day and wouldn't rule him out of this series.

"You want to be out there on the ice with the guys, but I was proud of the way they played like a team," Foreman said.

London will start to get bodies back tonight with forward Kris Belan returning from a five-game suspension for uttering a slur to referee Darcy Burchell in Game 3 of the first-round series against Sault Ste. Marie.

If the Knights win tonight, they guarantee suspended top goal-scorer David Bolland won't end his OHL career on the sidelines. The 19-year-old is eligible to return if this series goes to a seventh game.

"For a lot of us, this is our last chance to play junior hockey and we want to make it last . . ." London forward Rob Schremp said.

Despite being tied 2-2 with Owen Sound, London still has the best chance of advancing among last year's four Memorial Cup participants. Finalist Rimouski iced one of the worst teams in major junior hockey this season, the Ottawa 67's lost their first-round series to Peterborough and the Kelowna Rockets trail their Western Conference semifinal series 3-1 to the Everett Silvertips. Game 5 goes tonight in Kelowna.


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