OTTAWA -- The London Knights won't have to worry about Sidney Crosby for a week. Right now, their attention is on the Ottawa 67's as they continue their quest for the team's first OHL crown.
The Knights beat the 67's 5-4 last night for a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven final before a sellout crowd of 9,862 at the Civic Centre.
Defenceman Danny Syvret scored the winning goal 2:56 into the third period after London twice enjoyed a two-goal lead. Syvret unleashed a slapshot as he skated over the blue-line and it appeared to hit a stick and go top shelf on goalie Danny Battochio as he dropped.
It was one of only four shots the Knights had in the final period but it was enough to end the 67's 8-0 home playoff run.
It was Syvret's fifth goal of the playoffs. He also had an assist to give him 18 points, two behind Brad Staubitz of the 67's, who had two assists.
While Syvret's mind was no doubt on tomorrow night's Game 4, he was informed during the postgame news conference that Crosby and his Rimouski Oceanic had wrapped up the Quebec league title last night, beating Halifax 4-3 to sweep the Mooseheads.
The Oceanic will be London's much-anticipated opening-game opponent in the Memorial Cup May 21 at the John Labatt Centre.
"It should be exciting," Syvret said. He and Corey Perry played with Crosby at the world junior championship in Grand Forks, N.D., where Canada won it's first gold medal in eight years.
"The fans of London and Ontario never really get to see him live. It should be good for the fans of London to see him on the ice and see what he is, because 10 years down the road he'll be the big stuff."
David Bolland scored twice for the Knights, while Londoner Mark Mancari scored two Ottawa goals, giving him four in the series and a playoff-leading 13.
Knights goalie Gerald Coleman got the win, stopping 16 of 17 shots after replacing Adam Dennis early in the second period, 49 seconds after the 67's had scored to pull within one (4-3).
Dennis was making his fifth straight start and Coleman hadn't played since losing Game 2 to Kitchener in the Western Conference final April 23. They'd alternated to that point.
Knights coach Dale Hunter spoke to Dennis when he got to the bench, but wouldn't repeat the conversation.
"I think that's got to stay between player-coach," Dennis said of their chat.
"I was a little bit surprised (at being pulled), but as I've said before, Gerald's capable and he got the job done."
Dennis was the victim of some erratic bounces on bad ice as it was hot inside the arena, "but that's playoff hockey and you've got to be better prepared," he said.
Coleman said he "didn't see it coming" when Hunter told him he was going in. But he said Hunter has done that in the past to try to change momentum.
"It was 4-3, they dropped the puck and then Dale looked at me and said to get ready to go in," Coleman said.
"I'm thinking I'm going to go in to just settle Adam down because the last two games our team hasn't helped him too much."
Coleman, who set the OHL record for goals-against average this season (1.70), said he didn't know if he'll get the call for Game 4.
"For me, I had to be ready, but who knows. If they go back with (Dennis), he's done so well up to now. All I can do is show I can still play and still have a chance to be in the series and that I want to win."
Ottawa coach Brian Kilrea wasn't happy with his team's effort on Syvret's winner.
"Neither one of our wingers (Lukas Kaspar and Jeremy Akeson) or our centre man (Jakub Petruzalek) forechecked and tried to put him to the wall. They were spectators on the play," he said.
"And our defence (Will Colbert and Brodie Beard) backed up and gave the shot when it was a one-man rush. It was just poor defensive play."
Knights 5, 67's 4
The series: London leads Ottawa 2-1 in the best-of-seven OHL championship series
London goals: David Bolland (2), Jordan Foreman, Corey Perry, Danny Syvret
Ottawa goals: Mark Mancari (2), Chris Hulit, Julian Talbot
Next: Game 4 is tomorrow at the Ottawa Civic Centre at 7 p.m.