67's Battochio has howl

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

SUDBURY -- For 67's goalie Danny Battochio, the moment ranked right up there among the favourites in his hockey career.

In front of family and friends last night at the Sudbury Community Arena, he took a final bow after being named the game's first star during a 3-2 win over the Wolves in the opening game of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-final.

The native of Lively, a town on the western edge of Sudbury, is becoming the story of these OHL playoffs.

Again, as he was during the opening-round win over Barrie, Battochio was the main reason why the 67's got a victory.

He made 48 saves, many of them difficult and a few nothing short of spectacular.

"It was nice to see that the crowd rose to their feet and gave me good applause," said Battochio. "It felt pretty good, and it was kind of emotional, too.

"It's nice to see the home town is still behind me, even though I'm the opponent."

Wolves fans will be talking about one save in particular.

It came late in the first period against Nick Foligno, who took a great feed from St-Isidore native Benoit Pouliot at the lip of the crease to Battochio's left side.

Foligno one-timed the shot toward the net, and everybody in the building thought it would only be a matter of the goal judge flicking the red light before Sudbury began celebrating.

But Battochio somehow managed to slide across the crease and stack his pads, blocking the puck from entering the net.

"I just (saw) him there and gave it the biggest push I could to get across and just tried to cover the hole, basically," said Battochio.

"Sometimes you've got to be lucky, and I think that was a bit of luck on my side."

Ottawa centre Julian Talbot, from Wahnapitae on the eastern side of Sudbury, also had a strong game in front of his home-town fans, but could only praise his goalie.

"That save was unreal," he said. "Saves like that can turn the game around."

Ottawa coach Brian Kilrea couldn't figure out how Battochio stopped the shot.

"Unbelievable," said the coach. "He's been doing that so often for us, but I thought it was in, but he got over there ... I just don't know how."

Ottawa opened the scoring midway through the first after some hard work by Talbot.

He shot over the net, but hustled behind the goal to pick up the loose puck after it bounced off the boards and passed it through the slot to Chris Hulit, who scored through the pads of Patrick Ehelechner.

The Wolves tied it during a power play later in the period when Foligno got into the slot and rifled a wrist shot high over Battochio's glove.

But Ottawa scored twice on the power play in the second.

Hulit got his second of the game after Talbot won a faceoff in the Sudbury zone and ripped a wrister past Ehelechner.

Brad Staubitz scored his third goal of the playoffs with two minutes left in the period, leaning into a slapper from the point.

Wolves backup goalie Kevin Beech went in net to start the final period, marking the third time during these playoffs the 67's have chased a starting goalie.

Pouliot scored with five minutes left, and Sudbury pressed for the equalizer with Beech on the bench for an extra attacker.

But the game ended fittingly, with Battochio covering up a puck that rolled through traffic.


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