67's on ropes after bad Knight

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

The 67's hopes of upsetting the London Knights in the OHL final took a nosedive after a 4-1 loss last night at the Civic Centre.

Ottawa trails the best-of-seven series 3-1, and the clincher for the Knights could be tomorrow night at the John Labatt Centre in London.

The Knights have lost only twice on home ice this season, but the most recent came Sunday against the 67's in Game 2 of this series.

The 67's players know they've got little chance of beating the Knights three straight to win this series.

"We've got to go back there and work like we did when we were in London," said a dejected 67's winger Mark Mancari.

"Since we came back here, I think we became too comfortable with playing at home. (We made) some mental errors, giving away the puck, not finishing our checks, not battling like we have all playoffs.

"It's starting to show, and we've just got to go back to the way we were playing."

Last night marked another frustrating loss for Ottawa, which again kept the game close only to come up short.

The 67's trailed 2-1 heading into the final frame, but a pair of goals from Knights forward Rob Schremp early in the third sealed the game for London and put the Knights a game away from winning the franchise's first OHL title.

Schremp's first goal came one minute into the third.

He carried the puck across the blue line, after a turnover in the neutral zone, and leaned into a slapper that got into the top right corner of the net, beating Ottawa goalie Danny Battochio.

Schremp got another goal six minutes later on a bank shot from behind the net to give the Knights a commanding lead.

"The last two games, we just wanted to make sure we got a lot of shots and drove the net hard," said Schremp who has 12 goals in the playoffs.

The Knights got on the board early, in the third minute of the game, after the 67's turned the puck over in their own zone.

Drew Larman picked up the puck and ripped the first shot on Battochio into the far side from just inside the blue line to give the Knights the lead.

The 67's appeared to tie it seven minutes in when Julian Talbot's shot from the left side glanced off the shoulder of London goalie Gerald Coleman and into the net.

The goal judge turned on the light, but referee Terry Hobor immediately waved it off and allowed play to continue.

HIT CROSSBAR

The play was reviewed at the next stoppage, but replays indicated that the puck hit the crossbar, then the right post before bouncing away from the London net.

Ottawa finally did tie it in the 15th minute when the Knight's Josh Beaulieu knocked the puck into his own net after Ottawa's Robbie Lawrance directed a pass from Mancari toward the net for his first OHL playoff goal.

The Knights took the lead during the fourth minute of the second on a great goal by David Bolland.

Corey Perry, the league MVP, carried the puck down the right side and faked a shot before dishing over to Bolland who beat Battochio with a backhand shot.

"We were outplayed, outclassed and outworked," said 67's coach Brian Kilrea. "It's not a good ingredient to win a game."

And so the series returns to London. Can the 67's come back?

"It's playoff hockey and a team's never out of it, really. They've played really good hockey," said Schremp.

"They stole one off us in Game 2. So they're definitely not out of it. But going back home, it's definitely a good feeling for us."

IN THE CREASE: Battochio received the Roger Neilson Memorial Award for academic excellence. The award goes to a deserving OHL player for scholastic performance at university or college.


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