67's relying on Battochio

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

Brian Kilrea can be blunt with the best of them and didn't have to say much about his goalie, Danny Battochio, after the Ottawa 67's beat the London Knights.

"We rely on him and everyone on our team realizes we are here because of him," the Hall of Fame 67's coach said.

Battochio simply was stellar, making 42 saves. With the Knights pressing for any kind of momentum after going down by three goals, Battochio stoned both Daniel Girardi and Drew Larman with pad saves.

"I know one goal would have incited the crowd (of 9,090 at the John Labatt Centre)," Kilrea said. "It looked like (the Knights) had wide-open nets, but he made those kick saves."

Battochio is one individual certainly worth pulling for. In January 2004, he underwent surgery for eight hours to repair an arteriovenous malformation behind his left eye and near his brain. The rehabilitation caused him to miss the rest of that season.

"From what I have been through, I have made a great recovery," Battochio, a Sudbury native, said. "I was pumped for this season to get started. I'm just loving every moment."

Battochio has helped give the OHL best-of-seven final some meaning. Though both the 67's and Knights will be in the Memorial Cup because the Knights will play host to the tournament, both clubs want to badly win the OHL title.

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The Knights never have done it. The Cup's other participants are looking like the Rimouski Oceanic, with Sidney Crosby, and the defending Cup champs Kelowna Rockets. Both lead their respective league's best-of-seven finals 2-0.

Meanwhile, Ottawa first-rounder Logan Couture was in attendance. The 67's are trying to convince Couture to report and will meet with the teen's family Thursday in Ottawa. A meeting between the sides yesterday apparently went well.


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