'Hounds force fifth game

RYAN PYETTE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:14 AM ET

SAULT STE. MARIE -- The London Knights hoped they didn't need a Game 5 on Friday in a physically intense OHL Western Conference semifinal with the Soo Greyhounds.

Londoner Kyle Gajewski gave them no choice.

The veteran Sault Ste. Marie goaltender, who has never won at the John Labatt Centre, booked himself another try by kicking aside 33 London shots in an impressive 3-0 shutout of the Knights to avoid a sweep before 4,783 fans last night at the Steelback Centre.

"It feels great to get the shutout -- the last few seconds are tough because you never know what could happen," the 20-year-old Gajewski said. "When you play London, their guys are so talented that you have to wait and make them make the first move. We did a great job on the penalty kill (the Knights were 0-for-10 on the power play) and we'll just try to take this forward and keep it going."

London lost for the first time in eight playoff games and surrendered a 15-game win streak against the Greyhounds. The Knights, who left for London immediately after the game, are still confident they can close out the 'Hounds but aren't sure how much momentum they provided a hard-luck team that just got rid a two-year mental block against them.

"We just didn't create a lot of good scoring chances -- it just didn't click for us out there at all and we couldn't get anything going," London defenceman Todd Perry said. "There were a few penalties out there that went uncalled but there always are in every game. It was chippy and they went after our top guys at the end, which was obviously their plan, but we're going home and we're tough to play against there."

London was particularly upset three of their top scorers -- Sam Gagner, Sergei Kostitsyn and Adam Perry -- all had their helmets knocked off in the third period, saying it was evidence of the Greyhounds going for head checks late in the game. Already short on the blue line with Kevin Montgomery a scratch due to injury, London defenceman Scott Aarssen was shaken up and knocked out in a third-period collision with partner Todd Perry as both tried to hit Sault forward Matt Lyall. His status is unknown for Friday.

London captain Robbie Drummond, the most likely candidate to take Aarssen's place, got the boot in the third period on a game misconduct for arguing a penalty call to Pat Kane, moments after the Knights star was dumped.

"That was a key to their game -- to go after us," Sam Gagner said. "If we keep working hard, it's going to come. Their defence did a nice job of limiting our chances but if we work through those things, we're going to be all right."

Soo head coach Craig Hartsburg, who missed Games 3 and 4 at home while serving a two-game suspension for his chuck-a-puck incident at the end of Game 2 last Friday, will be back behind the 'Hounds bench and is expecting a hostile reception from Knights fans at the JLC.

"I'm quite looking forward to it," he said. "That's more the way we can play and the way we have to play against them. We gave our guys two or three scenarios. They could quit and it could end right here and they go home and party with their friends or they could show some character and work and go back to London for another game."

London has already beaten Sault Ste. Marie twice at home. The 'Hounds were just the sixth team to beat a Knights team boasting the best road record in OHL history.

GAME GLANCE

Greyhounds 3, Knights 0

Series: London leads best-of-seven OHL West semifinal 3-1

Sault goals: David Kuchejda, Dustin Jeffrey, Josh Godfrey

Shutout: Kyle Gajewski

Next: Game 5 is Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre


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