Knights one win from OHL title

Knights goaltender Gerald Coleman is congratulated by his teammates after London defeated the 67's...

Knights goaltender Gerald Coleman is congratulated by his teammates after London defeated the 67's 4-1 in Game 4 of the OHL final last night at the Civic Centre. (Ottawa Sun/Sean Kilpatrick)

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

OTTAWA -- One win. That's all the London Knights need to erase 39 years of failure.

The Knights are on the brink of winning the franchise's first OHL championship after beating the Ottawa 67's 4-1 last night before a sellout crowd of 9,862 at Ottawa's Civic Centre.

They lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 and have a chance to celebrate with their fans tomorrow night with Game 5 at the John Labatt Centre.

London's two other trips to the final ended on sour notes. The Knights lost to Ottawa in 1977 and to Belleville in 1999.

"I've never really won anything, nothing as big as this," forward Rob Schremp said after his two-goal performance -- one on a blistering slapshot from just inside the Ottawa blue-line, the other on a bank shot off 67's goalie Danny Battochio's leg from behind the net.

"The city hasn't seen this in 40 years. We had the better team against Guelph last year (in the Western Conference final) but we let it slip away.

"Ottawa is the same situation. We can't let them know there are opportunities. We have to win (tomorrow night). It's not a guarantee but it's an opportunity. That's the way I look at it."

Schremp said he has been using as inspiration the reaction of the JLC's 9,090 fans when the Knights captured the Western Conference title against Kitchener two weeks ago.

"I was thinking when we won how that felt after we fell short last year," he said.

"That was pretty cool for me this year, knowing that feeling after losing Game 7 at home last year."

London and Ottawa are both automatically in the Memorial Cup tournament May 21-29 at the JLC, but the Knights have proclaimed since training camp that they want to go as OHL champions.

They played like champions last night and really put the 67's off their game.

They also appeared to solve Battochio with some well-placed long shots.

Drew Larman also beat the 67's goalie from just inside the blue-line for the game's first goal 2:28 in after Danny Syvret had beaten Battochio from the same spot for the winner in Game 3 on Tuesday.

"I think long shots are definitely not easy for him," Schremp said. "He's a smaller goalie (five-foot-10) and we kind of recognize that and we're trying to take advantage of it.

"He's a small goalie, but it's not just Battochio. Even Gerald (Coleman, the Knights goalie), who's six-four, he got scored on like that once against Guelph (in the first round).

"It's the same shot and it's an impossible shot to save because of the placement. Just like Syvie's goal, it's right in the corner and you've got to reach for it. Those are good goals, not his fault."

Ottawa coach Brian Kilrea couldn't fault Battochio after the Knights outshot the 67's 30-15 over the last 29 minutes.

The 67's didn't get their first shot of the second period until the 11-minute mark.

"It was Danny who kept us in the first two periods (the Knights led 2-1) and if everyone had worked as hard as him, we'd be fine," said Kilrea, who benched some regulars in the third period.

"We unfortunately didn't have enough players. We were running short of guys who were playing the game well enough to be on the ice."

Corey Perry drew two assists, giving him 37 points in 17 postseason games to lead the Canadian Hockey League.

Eric Fehr of the Brandon Wheat Kings, who trail the defending Memorial Cup champion Kelowna Rockets 3-1 in the Western league final, has 15 goals and 31 points in 23 games.

Sidney Crosby of the Rimouski Oceanic, which qualified Tuesday for the Memorial Cup, has 14 goals and 31 points in 13 games.

The Knights came into an arena and won two games from a team that had been 8-0 on home ice in the postseason.

"Maybe we got too comfortable playing at home," said 67's forward Mark Mancari, a Londoner, who has 13 playoff goals.

GAME GLANCE

Knights 4, 67's 1

The series: London leads Ottawa 3-1 in the best-of-seven OHL championship series

London goals: Rob Schremp (2), Drew Larman, David Bolland

Ottawa goal: Robbie Lawrance

Next: Game 5 is tomorrow at the John Labatt Centre at 7 p.m.


Videos

Photos