Knights use loss as motivation

London Knights Olli Maatta and Scott Harrington sit on the bench during a 9-2 loss to the Halifax...

London Knights Olli Maatta and Scott Harrington sit on the bench during a 9-2 loss to the Halifax Mooseheads at the Memorial Cup in Saskatoon, May 21, 2013. (Al Charest/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency)

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:06 AM ET

This isn’t rocket science.

The London Knights are not in a very good place at the 2013 Memorial Cup.

The only good thing about their situation is that they are still in the tournament and as long as a team is breathing, anything can happen.

It’s a wretched thought.

If the Knights, one of the favourites going in, are going to win the national junior title, they will have to do it from the tiebreaker game, a feat accomplished by only two other teams — the Windsor Spitfires (2009)and Shawinigan Cataractes (2012).

If the Knights have any hope of duplicating that feat they’ll have to turn in something better than their lethargic, mistake-prone, effort they’ve turned in so far.

How tough will that be to do? They will have to beat all three of the teams in the tournament — the Saskatoon Blades, Halifax Mooseheads and Portland Winterhawks.

They’re going to need a lot of help from somewhere.

Maybe the public flogging they are taking will wake them up.

The 9-2 spanking they took from the Mooseheads on Tuesday night was an embarrassment to the organization and was hell to live through if you happen to be a Knights supporter.

“We cheated the game a little bit,” said Knights’ forward Alex Broadhurst Wednesday.

That’s an understatement. Indeed they did cheat it and paid for it by taking a real slagging in the media both professional and social.

As the Mooseheads piled on, so did twitter. Twitterdom was especially tough on goaltenders Jake Patterson and Anthony Stolarz.

But few Knights escaped the wrath of the 140-character mobile assault unit.

Rarely do teams sustain such an on-ice beating at this level and when it happens, everyone piles on.

Getting beat on the ice is one thing. Taking a pounding in the media is quite another. But you can bet that becoming the butt of jokes by so many people in cyberspace will be the one thing that the Knights will use to motivate them as their attempt their improbable run beginning Thursday.

“We’re pissed off,” Broadhurst said.

Broadhurst was referring both to the way his team played and the aftermath of having to live the game down. 

“It’s tough to shake something like that off. It’s still bothering us (Wednesday). It’s embarrassing.

“But we have a lot of character and a lot of heart in the dressing room. We’ve been through a lot of adversity in the OHL in the playoffs. We were down 3-1 in the (OHL) final. I think we’re capable of doing it.”

Broadhurst is aware of the beating the team has been taking. The focus has turned from Saskatoon as the weak link in the tournament to London.

The Knights watched an early morning horror video Wednesday, a replay of their game against the Moosehead.

Now the job is to forget the game and that’s what coach Dale Hunter has told them to do.

“Like Dale said, ‘would it matter if you lost 9-2 or 3-2?’ That’s how we’re looking at it,” Broadhurst said.

What they aren’t going to forget is how most people now think they are done.

“We take a lot from that Barrie series,” Broadhurst said. “Everyone thought we were down and out. Even we thought we were down and out.

“We kind of talked and (captain Scott) Harrington brought the team together and we got great leadership from the older guys and we brought our game and started looking out for each other and it worked out.”

Being embarrassed and angry are pretty good motivators to get a team moving.

But what allows them to move on is actually playing well and that’s something the Knights haven’t done much of as yet.

 

 


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