Goalie has upper hand on Knights

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

The London Knights dominated the 67's in just about every statistical category during two regular-season games.

But here's one the 67's can enjoy heading into the OHL championship against the Knights: When Danny Battochio is in net, the 67's score more goals than the Knights.

The star netminder played just one period against the high-flying Knights this season and during those 20 minutes, the 67's outscored London 1-0.

His only action against the Western Conference champions came on Nov. 19 in London when Anthony Guadagnolo started the game and the 67's trailed 5-2 after two periods.

SIX SAVES

Battochio took over and stopped six shots and Bryan Bickell scored the lone goal of the third period during a 5-3 loss.

The 19-year-old Battochio, who has been the MVP of the playoffs for the 67's, figures he experienced a conservative style from the Knights, who were likely protecting a three-goal lead at the start of the period.

And he doesn't expect to see the same thing when the best-of-seven OHL final begins Friday at the John Labatt Centre in London.

"From what I can see, they do everything so good, so I'm just going to have to be ready for perfection, pretty much," said Battochio.

The No. 1 goalie missed the Jan. 23 home game against the Knights, a 5-0 London victory, with a shoulder injury.

'A LOT OF FIREPOWER'

"I've watched them play a lot, and they have a lot of firepower," said Battochio. "I'd have to get a game or so under my belt before I feel comfortable with what they do, and I felt like that in every series so far --against Barrie, Sudbury and then Peterborough.

"I just have to play the first game and see how they play and how they set up on the power play and how they move five-on-five. If I can get a hold of that after the first game, then you get used to it and you know what to expect."

He thinks it'll be important for the 67's to make an impression on the Knights early.

"If we can steal a game early, they'll be on their heels," said Battochio. "It will be a wake-up call for them. They'll be concerned that we're pretty much a real-deal team, and that what we did was not a fluke."

These are big times for Battochio, who missed the second half of last season after suffering a seizure at home in Sudbury during the Christmas break.

He underwent surgery to repair a vascular defect near the front of his brain in January 2004, but returned to action as the club's top netminder in September.

"This is the farthest I've ever been in the playoffs," said Battochio, who wasn't selected in last year's NHL draft but has likely seen his stock rise with his play this post-season. "So obviously, it's huge."

Battochio, who leads playoff goalies with 12 wins and 16 games played, has been given most of the credit for getting the 67's a chance at the league title and a berth in the Memorial Cup.

He has played every minute except for one period against Sudbury. But he said yesterday every member of the 67's deserves credit for the team's accomplishments so far.

"Everybody's come together. It hasn't been just me that's doing something. It's been everyone," he said. "Everybody's been productive, and that's what we need."


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