Knights solve hot Battochio

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

He has emerged large for the 67's this spring, the single biggest reason his team is even in the OHL final and going to the Memorial Cup.

But last night, the London Knights didn't see Danny Battochio that way at all.

"I think long shots are definitely not easy for a smaller goalie," sniper Rob Schremp said after scoring twice to lead the Knights to a 4-1 win over Ottawa and a commanding, 3-1 championship series lead. "We recognized that, and we kinda took advantage of it."

The 67's 5-foot-10, 175-lb. netminder gave up a Drew Larman goal 148 seconds in that originated from the top of the left wing faceoff circle at the west end of the Civic Centre, the same spot of ice Danny Syvret blasted the winner from in Game 3.

Despite the fact Battochio was also beaten from just inside the blue line by Schremp with a backbreaker that made the score 3-1 early in the third -- and that he probably should have been on his feet to stop David Bolland's backhand early in the second -- Brian Kilrea thought the first London goal was the only one his MVP might have stopped.

"Danny kept us in the game ... if everyone worked as hard as him we'd be fine," said Kilrea. "We were outplayed, outclassed and outworked ... not a good ingredient to win a game."

Fact is, the 67's have let this series slip away with back-to-back soft performances on home ice, where they were previously invincible in the playoffs. And while Battochio did make some fine saves last night, he was also beaten on shots he has to stop in order for the 67's to win anything at this stage of the game.

But although London is up 3-1 and will take the OHL title soon enough, the 67's can still beat the Knights in a one-game showdown for even bigger marbles.

And if they do just that at the Memorial Cup, it will be because Battochio came up big for them again.

STARTS AND STOPS: A Julien Talbot shot 71/2 minutes into the first period looked like it went in before we saw the replay. Bryan Bickell was unable to swipe in the just-in-case rebound, like he was unable to fire the puck into a gaping net in the third ... Gotta hope the Knights save themselves some embarrassment and stop all that diving before they get on the national stage ... Battochio appeared to be joining the rush when he started up ice on the play that led to Ottawa's first goal. But no, he was chasing Corey Perry in anger after receiving a spear to the back of the leg from the London star when nobody was looking. Except us, of course.

BETWEEN PERIODS: What is "Ottaufhahbntaqwrwplz?" Just about all you hear in the press box from the desperately-needing-improvement Civic Centre P.A. system when a goal or penalty is announced, that's what. And Ottaufhahbntaqwrwplz is not listed in the program, either, so we know there's a problem ... You're 16-year-old Logan Couture. You arrive at the Civic Centre for the first time and you see signs plastered on the doors and walls of the building that read "Welcome to the 67's Logan." With less than five minutes to go in the first period of a championship series game, the centre ice scoreboard shows you sitting in the owner's private box, watching the action with your father. You get a loud ovation, with a number of the 10,000 fans standing while they applaud. You're Logan Couture, you're a highly touted prospect, and you have to decide whether you want to follow your dream through the OHL or explore different options. After the treatment he received last night, on top of everything else he knows about the organization, it would have to be hard for Logan Couture to say no to the 67's, wouldn't it?

AND FINALLY ...: It's not so much a surprise when Brad Bonello gets a misconduct to go along with his minor penalties as when he doesn't. The 67's centre is lousy at masking his disapproval.


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