By Ryan Pyette, The London Free Press – Leigh Salters doesn’t forget many of the historic OHL playoff series between the London Knights and the Guelph Storm.
This is the fifth time in the past seven years the Midwest Division foes will fight to end each other’s season.
Salters, the big Knights forward in his final junior hockey campaign, suited up for the Storm the last time the two teams met, in 2007-08. He was on the winning side but his memory of which Londoner torched his hometown club are a little hazy.
“I think it was more Salters than (Drew) Doughty in that one,” he joked.
That five-game first-round loss is the only time in seven years the Knights haven’t progressed at least three playoff rounds.
“Before I came in the league, Guelph beat London in that seven-game Western Conference final (in 2003-04),” Salters said, “and I know they played (when London won the Memorial Cup in 2005). It was quite a rivalry and the way it’s worked out, it seems like these teams meet almost every year.”
This is the third time Salters has been involved.
In his rookie season of 2005-06, London beat Guelph in the Western Conference final. That was the series where Rob Schremp responded to Ryan Pottruff’s crack that the Knights were “a junior B team with a great power play” by saying the only thing “junior B” in the series was his ex-teammate.
Two years ago, London fans booed native son Doughty constantly after an uncalled high stick knocked out Akim Aliu’s teeth. The future Los Angeles Kings star, who worshipped the Knights growing up, wasn’t impressed.
This time it’s the OHL’s most surprising team — 49-win division champ and second-seed London — against the league’s hottest team in No. 7 Guelph, who overcame a ton of injuries to finish with six straight wins and engineer one of the great in-season turnarounds in recent history.
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