Knights need to win

RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:49 PM ET

Give a big nod to the Aud.

The 6,300-seat Kitchener Memorial Auditorium has been loud and proud in support of its Rangers.

With a shot at knocking off the rival London Knights in Game 6 of their OHL second round series, the old barn will be stuffed Saturday night.

That's hardly an odd situation for Knights star Nazem Kadri.

He played his first two OHL seasons at the Aud. Took part in a Memorial Cup final there two years ago.

It's always felt like a second home. These days, it's his House of Boos.

And now, the Toronto Maple Leafs knows his first junior hockey stop will be the end of the road if his Knights don't win the next game.

"It's two desperate hockey teams," Kadri said. "They don't want to come back to London for a Game 7. They're going to want to finish it off in front of their fans. We have to match their intensity. They're going to see what this team is capable of."

For much of the roster on these two teams, these Game 6 stakes marks relatively new ground.

The Rangers missed the playoffs last year. The guy they picked third overall in the draft - defenceman Ryan Murphy - has been a standout.

The Knights haven't participated in a playoff series this long since the 2006-07 season when they went the distance against the Soo Greyhounds, winning Game 7 on home ice.

Since then, it's been five series lasting five games (Plymouth, Guelph twice, Erie and Windsor) and one sweep (Saginaw last year).

To get back to seven now, they need to win No. six.

The Knights have to conquer the Aud Saturday night.

Or it's all over but the off-season second-guessing.

E-mail ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca or follow Ryanpyette on Twitter.


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