Todd Perry is just trying to finish what he effectively started.
Back on Dec. 1, the big London defenceman bounced Bobby Ryan all around the John Labatt Centre in a contest that led the frustrated Owen Sound captain to proclaim the Knights "won't survive a seven-game series" with the Attack.
Perry isn't just surviving, he's thriving. The burly former Barrie Colt has held Ryan, the guy who was picked by Anaheim right after Sidney Crosby in the 2005 NHL draft, to one goal and one assist as the Knights enjoy a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven OHL Western Conference quarter-final series.
"This is the assignment I wanted," said Perry, 20. "Bobby Ryan is a great player and is very difficult to defend. You have to give him his space and then try to take it away quickly. If you lean to one side, he'll go right by you and create a scoring chance."
Head coach Dale Hunter returns tonight after serving a five-game suspension for failing to control his bench. He will face several decisions during the course of the game but the no-brainer will be ensuring Perry is on the ice at the same time as Ryan -- a tad more difficult with the Attack enjoying last change on home ice at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.
"Bobby Ryan has all the tools and we recognized that we had to put our best, biggest defenceman on him," London assistant coach Dave Gagner said. "It's not easy. Todd has done a good job."
Perry possesses all the ingredients necessary to stop a big and fast forward like Ryan. At six-foot-three, 220-pounds, the Knight carries enough size to knock his man off the puck.
He also has the experience and patience to know he's playing a cat-and-mouse game and tries to force Ryan into making the initial move. Ryan weighs in at 211 on a 6-foot-2 frame.
It also doesn't hurt that Perry is quite familar with Ryan because Barrie, although an Eastern conference team, plays Owen Sound six times each regular season.
"He (Ryan) likes to carry the puck and they're a team that likes to gain the red line and blue line, then fire shots at the net," Perry said. "You can't do much when they go to the net except get in a good position to block a shot. But you have some leeway with what you're able to do out there because the playoffs aren't called the same way as it is in the regular season.
"It can go both ways and you just hope at the end of the game, it evens out. As long as there's missed calls on either side, you can live with it."
Despite his difficult task each shift, Perry didn't draw a penalty in the first two games of the series. He picked up two minors in Game 3 and was whistled for slashing Ryan in the arm in the third period.
"You get a feel for what you can do and what you can't do," Perry said. "Staying on the ice is part of it. You have to physical with him but if you take a penalty, you're hurting the team and putting them on the power play. You have to be disciplined out there."
Though they have a stranglehold on the series, London still isn't happy that it generated only three power-play opportunities in Game 3. The Knights aren't used to scoring six goals in a game with none coming with the man advantage.
"You have to get used to the games being called the same way as the old rules," Knights assistant coach Todd Bidner said. "That's the way it's being called right now. The old way. We had to find other ways to score without our power play."
So far in the series, London has made Owen Sound goalie Anthony Guadagnolo look rather ordinary. Londoner Bill Dark, who worked with Guadagnolo in Windsor, is now serving as goalie consultant for the Attack.