Downie hopes to get to Knights this time

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 11:14 AM ET

Somehow, Steve Downie always knew his road to an OHL championship would have to pass through London.

The Peterborough Petes forward equates the Forest City with frustration after seeing his first two OHL seasons end in playoff sweeps to the Knights while a member of the Windsor Spitfires. In Downie's stint with the Spits, the club endured a 23-game winless streak against their London rivals that didn't end until Oct. 27, 2005, after he had left the team.

"They (London) sit back and wait for you to take penalties, so we have to be disciplined and stay out of the box," Downie said. "That's the biggest thing against them. Take penalties and you play right into their hands."

The 19-year-old Queensville native and Philadelphia Flyers draft pick departed Windsor following a scrap in practice with rookie Akim Aliu, who later also left the team.

Downie delivered 16 goals and 50 points in 34 regular- season games after the move. He has also been a major playoff contributor.

"We have a great GM and coach and we have three solid lines who are all capable of scoring. The focus isn't all on me, which is nice."

Downie knows it could get a lot more fun if he breaks his jinx against London. He played for the Petes in their lone visit to the JLC in February, which ended in a 4-1 Knights victory. He was suspended in the rematch in Peterborough in March -- another London win.

"When we were here, we outshot them, but they buried their chances and found a way to win. Then, they went to our house and did the same thing."

Downie has long been known as a guy who can let his emotions get the better of him. On his way to being ejected in a playoff game against London in Windsor last year, he went after Knights goalie Adam Dennis and nearly started a brawl.

"I looked right at him, but I didn't say anything -- maybe he thought I did because of the crowd," Dennis said. "He's always been a guy who plays with his heart on his sleeve."

London forward David Bolland saw a different side of Downie when the two helped the Canadian team win gold at the world juniors in Vancouver in January.

"People might think he's nuts because of some of the things he does on the ice," Bolland said, "but he's not like that at all off the ice. He's a good guy."

That goodness, of course, disappeared the moment the puck dropped last night.


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