Morris Dalla Costa, Sports Columnist
The London Free Press
It only lasted two hours and five minutes but for the Belleville Bulls, it must have seemed like a lifetime.
Even at that, it was difficult to believe everything the London Knights managed to do to the Bulls in that short time.
By the time it was all over at the John Labatt Centre yesterday afternoon, the Knights had won 9-2 and had clearly demonstrated what happens when one of the top teams in the OHL plays one of the worst.
It was little more than a practice skate for the Knights, who now have the best record in the OHL.
The Bulls share the spot for the worst record with the Saginaw Spirit.
For the Knights yesterday, it was so easy that the crowd of 6,764 was almost asleep during the first two periods with London leading 4-0.
But the place was in an uproar in the third period when the Bulls began to improve and the Knights showcased most of the things that will make them a very difficult team to play against this year.
Where to begin?
The Knights' power play scored another four goals.
Brandon Prust continues to emerge as a leader on the ice, dominating with his physical presence, throwing bone-crushing body checks, creating chances and, when challenged by an opponent, proving he may be the best fighter in the league.
Rob Schremp demonstrated why he is going to be a top-10 NHL draft pick, scoring a pair of goals and adding an assist. He's a magician with the puck.
Corey Perry, had a five-point night with two goals.
His second marker was a thing of beauty, taking the puck at the Belleville blueline, sliding the puck between the legs of one defenceman, sweeping around another, pulling netminder Eric Tobia and sliding it into the net as if he were at practice.
Defenceman Dennis Wideman, who hasn't scored since his return from Rochester but has six assists in eight games, is the guy who has solidified the power play and the blue-line. His textbook hipcheck on a Bulls forward late in the game brought the fans to their feet.
Dylan Hunter continued his improved play with a two- goal, two-assist game.
David Bolland, a 17-year-old, scored his 10th goal and tied for second-best in the OHL.
There was more but you get the picture. The Knights delivered a lesson in how to play the game.
"We're starting to gel, starting to come together," said Prust, his knuckles sore from playing a tune on the faces of Josh Manning and Matt Kelly.
"We're not thinking about a Memorial Cup; we're just taking every game in stride.
"Everyone is chipping in. We're feeding off each other. Confidence is a big part of our game right now."
That confidence really shows on the power play. There will come a time when opposing teams change the way they play for fear of taking penalties against the Knights.
"It's hard not to take penalties against us," said Prust.
"We have so many skilled players, it's hard to keep up and you have to take penalties to stop them.
"We have to keep working hard, moving our feet. That's when they take penalties against you. When we don't work hard and move our feet, we won't draw penalties."
Last year, the Knights' power play had to rely mainly on Perry and Wideman to handle the puck.
This year, with the addition of Danny Richmond and Schremp, along with Dylan Hunter's new-found confidence, there's plenty of passing to go around.
"We keep moving the puck around and eventually someone will move out of position," said Perry.
He has moved into the lead in the OHL scoring race. Always a terrific puck handler, he is a far more dangerous player this year because he's bigger and stronger.
"It's a big difference," he said. "I can really tell, especially when I go into the corner for the puck or cut to the net.
"I don't wind up getting pushed to the ice as much."