Perry packing punch

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

Adam Perry doesn't have any delusions about what his role is on the London Knights' power play.

"I stand in front of the net, cause some commotion and let the other guys play with the puck. That's it," he said.

Sometimes simple is better and there's little question whatever Perry is doing is working out.

Perry had his fourth hat trick of the season Sunday in Sudbury in the Knights' 10-5 win. Perry has 31 goals, 21 of them on the power play.

Don't say you aren't surprised.

Not many people would have believed Perry would score 31 goals in two seasons, let alone 31 with two months left in this one. He just doesn't look like a guy who could score 30 goals.

Perry isn't the best skater or puckhandler. He never stops working, digs hard in the corners and is willing to take a pounding in front of the net.

But Perry has developed into an player who makes the most of his opportunities and who scores in bunches. Some would call him a garbage-goal specialist, a junk collector, someone who is finds himself in the right place -- usually 10 feet or closer to the net -- at the right time when players like Pat Kane, Sam Gagner or Sergei Kostitsyn slip him the puck or direct it at the net and he's left with a juicy rebound.

There are some great NHL players who have made long careers out of scoring goals from short range. It's as much a talent as having a quick wrist shot or skating ability. You can be a great skater or have a terrific shot but when you can't hit the side of a barn from close range, it doesn't do your team much good.

A three-foot jam looks as good as a 50-foot slapshot on a scoresheet.

"I don't think I've scored a goal this year from outside the hash marks," Perry said. "When you go to the net I guess you get rewarded."

Perry usually heads out on the power play with Kane, Gagner, Kostitsyn and Robbie Drummond. As his teammates move the puck around the perimeter, Perry sets up shop in front of the net, moving to screen the goalie. The defencemen does what they can to push Perry out of the way.

"If the puck is down low, I slide out a little bit, trying o find a few more feet of ice," says Perry. "But if it's at the top and it goes back to the (blue-line) I get in front of the goalie.

"They (the defence) can't really hit you too hard any more with the rule change. I just get in there and pick up the garbage."

Knights coach Dale Hunter may be surprised by the number of goals Perry's scored, but he knows why Perry's been successful.

"Quite simply, he has no fear in front of the net. He has great hand and eye co-ordination," Hunter said. "He's hungry for the puck."

Perry has already fulfilled one of his goals as a Knight. He wanted to carve out his own niche with the team.

He's always been Corey Perry's little brother. The former Knights star and Anaheim Duck was a much different player than his brother.

"He was a tall, lanky guy who likes to play with the puck," Adam Perry said. "I like to get in the corners and work it there.

"Yeah, I get tired sometimes of hearing that (being Corey's little brother). But I expected that when I came here. I just try and make my own name. I hope I've done that a little bit."

Perry began to come into his own last year. He scored 27 goals and had 73 points, with 17 of the goals on the power play. He didn't see as much time on the man advantage as he's seeing this year. With Rob Schremp having 38 power-play goals and Dave Boland 32, it was a high-powered unit.

"There isn't much difference this year," Perry said. "Guys like Gagner, Kane and Sergei really do some things with the puck.

"I am a little surprised I have that many goals. I used to score the odd goal but not like this. I just think Dale Hunter is using me in the right situations. He's playing me with good players and when that happens, you're going to score. When you have four great players on there and they just feed you the puck, it's going to go in for you."

CUP TICKETS ON SALE

The London Knights are bidding for the 2008 Memorial Cup and ticket packages go on sale to the general public starting today at 10 a.m.

How many: Limit of four, based on availability

Package price: $440 for nine-game package, which includes tiebreaker game if needed

How much now: Deposit of $25 per package, refundable if bid not successful

Ticket information and sale: Call the London Knights box office at 519-681-0800, ext. 1; Gate 1 and 4 at the John Labatt Centre; online at www.johnlabattcentre.com and at London Knights Armoury Souvenir Shop located off Talbot Street


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