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Twins Matt, Ryan Rupert are double agitators for Knights at Memorial Cup

Wednesday, 05.23.2012 / 5:04 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Twins Matt, Ryan Rupert are double agitators for Knights at Memorial Cup

SHAWINIGAN, Que. - Matt and Ryan Rupert acknowledge that they do have one thing in common with Vancouver Canucks stars Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

Both sets of siblings are twins.

But the similarity stops there, says Ryan Rupert.

''It's not the same style at all,'' he said. ''We're agitators.

''We like to get under people's skin. They're more finesse players. They use their bodies because they're bigger and they put up more points, but we play a more defensive style.''

Agitators is an understatement for the five-foot-nine pests, whose edgy style and dedication to work helped the Knights to a 2-1 record in round-robin play at the MasterCard Memorial Cup.

They look very much alike. Matt wears No. 46 and Ryan No. 64. And the 17-year-olds get plenty of ice time playing on the wings with Nashville Predators first-round pick Austin Watson.

Ryan is a little heavier and so far has shown somewhat more offensive capability, but both play the same grinding, grabbing and jabbing style that drives opponents crazy.

Naturally, they fit right in on a defence-first team co-owned by former NHL super-pest Dale Hunter and coached by his brother Mark. Although they are from the London, Ont., area, the Ruperts live at Dale Hunter's house during the season.

''That's the style that's going to get us where we want to go,'' said Ryan. ''It's been emphasized by our coaches to play that style.''

During the regular season, Ryan had 17 goals and 48 points in 63 games while Matt scored 12 times and had 35 points in 48 games.

''They bring a lot of desire and will,'' said Mark Hunter. ''It's a game you win with and they've been doing that all year.

''Right now, it's Ryan (getting more points), but you'd be surprised by Matt. When they played junior B together, Matt got more points. So at a certain time, Matt's going to get more done offensively. They're both good players.''

It was Ryan who got the early goal that helped spark the Knights to a 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings in their final round-robin game.

Matt drew a double high-sticking minor when he was whacked by Edmonton defenceman Mark Pysyk, then went off himself in the third period for a hit from behind.

A normal night's work for the twins, in other words. Plus Watson was perhaps London's best player, blocking countless shots and scoring an empty-net goal.

When their line is on the ice, anything can happen.

''Growing up, we always heard from people that they hate to play against us,'' said Ryan. ''I like hearing that. That's how we're trying to play every time. Never take a shift off.''

Up close, they're easy to tell apart. Matt's the one missing two teeth. And he says he has an extra freckle.

''We're not big guys so we have to be physical grinders,'' said Matt. ''We can't throw our weight around by fighting. We're not six foot five.''

That may work against them at the NHL draft in June (they turn 18 on June 2). They aren't ranked as first-rounders, but being key members of a top junior team should cause NHL clubs to look at them closely.

The question is whether they will be selected by the same team, as the Sedins were. They have played together at every age group.

''It would be a bonus to be drafted by the same team,'' said Ryan. ''But wherever we end up, we'll be happy.''

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