Knights crying foul over hits

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

Heavy-hitting London Knight Zac Rinaldo had his suspension hearing at the OHL office yesterday in Toronto.

The Knights sent along something ahead -- Game 2 tape of Erie forward Justin Hodgman's first-period boarding penalty on London rookie Jared Knight and Otters tough guy Michael Liambas' check from behind on sniper John Tavares with five minutes left in an 8-1 game.

Rinaldo was suspended indefinitely for his check from behind on Erie's Ryan O'Reilly early in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal.

The Knights think Hodgman and Liambas deserve a sitdown, too.

"We think those hits and Zac's were the same thing," said assistant coach Pat Curcio. "We looked at it a hundred times and we believe some referees are targeting Zac, that they're looking for something that isn't there. Ryan O'Reilly wasn't hurt and came back the next shift to play.

"In that regard, we thought five (minutes) and a match (penalty) was harsh and his punishment should've fell in line with what the others (Hodgman received two minutes and Liambas four).

"But there's nothing we can do about it now. We just have to get ready for the next game and move on."

Rinaldo, an 18-year-old Philadelphia Flyers draft pick who yesterday tied for best body checker in the Western Conference in the league's coaches' poll (complete results on Page D6), is expected to learn his fate today.

He was suspended eight games after a checking from behind incident on Feb. 13 against Otters' Andrew Yogan, who hasn't played since.

Erie GM Sherry Bassin said Curcio and Hunter should spend more time watching their power play -- "and they have a very good one" -- than worrying about who on the opposition should be suspended.

"If they're interested in looking at pictures all the time, then I'll lend them 10 bucks so they can see a movie," Bassin said. "There's a special on at the megaplex in Erie."

Bassin said Rinaldo has a history of questionable hits.

"He was getting suspended and kicked out in minor hockey games. This isn't new."

Knights vs. Otters

Series: London leads the best-of-seven OHL Western Conference quarterfinal 2-0


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