67's dominate Knights

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

The Ottawa 67's turned the House of Green into the House of Pain yesterday.

The 67's scored four unanswered goals in the third period to inflict the first playoff loss on the London Knights in the John Labatt Centre.

The 6-3 win, before a sellout crowd of 9,090, ties the best-of-seven OHL championship series at one game apiece. The next two games are at the Ottawa Civic Centre, where the 67's are 8-0 this postseason.

The four Ottawa goals came in a span of five minutes, including one short-handed, erasing a 3-2 London lead.

It's only the second time this season the Knights have lost at home and the second time they've blown a third-period lead. Both occurred the same game -- Dec. 17, when Sudbury won 5-2 after trailing 2-1 through two. That snapped the Knights' record-setting 31-game unbeaten streak.

"I think everyone in the building found out in the third period they're not just going to roll over and let us take the championship and be content with an automatic Memorial Cup invitation," Knights captain Danny Syvret said.

The Knights and 67's are both in the Memorial Cup, May 21-29 at the JLC, but the 67's said from the start they want to go as OHL champions.

"We're here to win this series, not just to make it respectable," said 67's captain Will Colbert. "We're not here to make it close, we want to win. We know we're in the Memorial Cup, but we want to get there the tough way, the right way."

The 67's aren't daunted by the fact they were 44 points behind the Knights in the regular season, nor by the fact London has been ranked No. 1 in the Canadian Hockey League all season.

"We're not here to waste our time," said 67's goalie Danny Battochio, who faced 45 shots. "We got here with a lot of hard work (when) people underestimated us."

The 67's tied it with a short-handed goal by Brad Bonello 1:22 into the third period, his seemingly harmless shot going in off the stick of a fallen Corey Perry. Knights goalie Adam Dennis, who suffered his first loss of the postseason, had no chance on it.

Lukas Kaspar made it 4-3 at 3:06, then the 67's power play clicked, with London native Mark Mancari getting his second of the game at 5:10 and Brad Staubitz scoring at 6:39.

Ottawa was 3-for-11 on the power play, London 0-for-6.

"The penalties in general sort of hurt us," Syvret said. "Our feet weren't moving and we had to hook them or try to haul them down because they had the extra step on us."

Ottawa coach Brian Kilrea said the short-handed goal was the turning point after the 67's Julian Talbot had gone off eight second into the period for flattening Brandon Prust from behind.

"That was the last thing we wanted to see was their power play on the ice and once we got that short-handed goal it gave us a big lift and we were rejuvenated," Kilrea said.

"Now, instead of being down by one or two, now we're even and going at them. I don't know if they got flustered but I kind of think we caught them by surprise because they had a lead that they're not used to giving up. They probably learned from that."

Kilrea added he wasn't surprised by the Knights' chipiness or penchant for taking penalties. "They've got this far by being that type of team, so they're never going to change.

"They've got great talent and they play with a little bit of an edge and that's why they're the London Knights and that's why they're the favoured team in junior hockey right now."

Battochio rose to the occasion with eight minutes left, making back-to-back saves on Dan Girardi and Drew Larman.

The score was already 6-3, "but I knew London is a team that when they're down they always find a way to come back and they give that hard pressure at one point," Battochio said.

"I think that was the point in the game they tried to make their comeback. These guys never say quit, so it wasn't until that buzzer went that I was a happy man."

GAME GLANCE

67's 6, Knight 3

The series: London and Ottawa are tied 1-1 in the best-of-seven OHL championship series

Ottawa goals: Mark Mancari (2), Jeremy Akeson, Brad Bonello, Lukas Kaspar, Brad Staubitz

London goals: David Bolland, Marc Methot, Danny Syvret

Next: Game 3 is tomorrow at the Ottawa Civic Centre at 7 p.m.


Videos

Photos