67's much better on the rebound

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

Yesterday was all about the one that got away -- and what each team did about it.

It was about handling adversity. One did and one didn't.

The London Knights blew a third-period lead and couldn't bounce back.

Instead, frustration set in during the final 15 minutes.

Goalie Adam Dennis got called for roughing. Somebody yapped off the bench at referee Terry Hobor and drew a bench minor. Then Brandon Prust and Jordan Foreman were each slapped with misconducts.

On the other hand, the Ottawa 67's had a goal called back because of a referee's quick whistle (the score tied 3-3 at the time), but they didn't let that rattle them and they scored the go-ahead goal 25 seconds later.

"It's one of of those things that sure we wanted the goal, but it was after the whistle," 67's coach Brian Kilrea said.

"But we score 30 seconds later and that was huge for us. Instead of our guys moaning, they forgot all about the one that got away."

It was the Knights who did the moaning, coach Dale Hunter unhappy with the penalty distribution. Power plays favoured Ottawa 11-6.

"They had three five-on-threes and we had none," Hunter said.

Knights centre Danny Fritsche, who had a solid game, including creating a tremendous penalty kill in the second period, said the calls didn't help, "but we let up in spurts . . . and the turnovers we had, they capitalized on them."

Fritsche said yesterday's adversity won't get to them.

"We have good character guys and I don't think we should have a problem," he said, adding the Knights expected the 67's to put up a good fight.

"They came here and they're in an OHL championship. They must have got here somehow. They swept Peterborough (in the Eastern Conference final).

"That's their game. They have to work hard. They know to beat us they're going to have to come out and play 150 per cent every game and that's what they did."

Ottawa goalie Danny Battochio said the win is a big confidence boaster as it's only the second time the Knights lost in the playoffs and only the second time this season they lost at the John Labatt Centre.

"They're beatable," Battochio said. "Kitchener beat them (in Kitchener, in the Western Conference final), but we got a big plus by beating them in their barn."

Ottawa captain Will Colbert put it into perspective when he was asked if anyone suggested at Christmas that the 67's would be in the OHL final.

"It wouldn't have been likely," he said. "In January and February, people were talking about us not even making the playoffs. Then no one picked us to beat Barrie (in the first round), but we accepted the underdog role and put it to use.

"We kind of came out of the dark down the stretch and into the playoffs and we're just having a lot of fun with it."

London native Mark Mancari, who scored twice for the 67's, said they may have opened some eyes yesterday.

"A lot of people underestimated us coming into this series and they're saying 'Well, at least you get the bye to the Memorial Cup.' But we're not even thinking about the Memorial Cup right now.

"All we're thinking about right now is the league championship."


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