Petes finish the job

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

PETERBOROUGH -- For someone who began the 2005-06 hockey season under a dark cloud, Steve Downie finds himself on the cusp of possibly completing a rather successful season in major junior hockey.

The Peterborough Petes forward and his teammates will compete for the Memorial Cup in Moncton after finishing a four-game sweep of the London Knights with a 4-3 victory last night at the Memorial Centre. The Petes won the J. Ross Robertson Cup as the Ontario Hockey League champions for the ninth time and did so after going 10-0 at home during the playoffs.

"This is unbelievable," Downie said. "It's awesome that we swept them. I didn't expect it. This year has been great for me, a lot more good than bad."

Downie, who was embroiled in a hazing incident and had a fight with a teammate in Windsor prior to a trade to Peterborough, will try to complete the rare trifecta of winning the world junior, OHL crown and Memorial Cup in one season. Peterborough will meet the host Moncton Wildcats, the Quebec Remparts and the Vancouver Giants in New Brunswick. The tournament starts May 19.

The Knights had a 2-0 lead early in the first period but the Petes rebounded and chased Adam Dennis with four goals before the end of the first. Trevor Hendrikx, with two, Daniel Ryder and Greg Stewart scored for the Petes. Ryder won the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award as the OHL playoffs MVP.

Goalie David Shantz, dealt from the Mississauga IceDogs last summer, made 27 saves.

It's the third title for Petes coach Dick Todd, who returned behind the bench in 2004 after leaving in 1993.

"There is a great deal of satisfaction for me because I am so fresh in coming back," Todd said. "This is the reason I came out of retirement."

Rob Schremp, with two goals, and Sergei Kostitsyn scored for the Knights, who were not expected to get back to the OHL final after winning the Memorial Cup last year. Schremp, an Edmonton Oilers prospect who could join the NHL club for the remainder of its playoff run, didn't take the high road after his final junior game. Referees Pat Smola and Carman Cox awarded the Petes 12 power plays, but the Knights only four.

"No offence to (Ryder), but Pat Smola deserved the MVP," said Schremp, who threw a water bottle toward the officials after the game. "He thought the (crowd) came to watch him. The guys in the orange stripes deserved the win."


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