Leaving Labatt dry not option

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:32 AM ET

The situation might seem hopeless for the 67's, but they aren't about to abandon their quest for a league title.

The OHL championship series resumes tonight at John Labatt Centre -- aka The House of Green -- in London and it will be packed with eager Knights fans looking for the first league cup in franchise history.

And the Knights, who lead the best-of-seven series 3-1, will be more than willing to satisfy their devoted followers with the clincher.

"It's going to be wild," said Ottawa captain Will Colbert.

"But we've put ourselves in this position and there's no reason why we can't get ourselves out of it.

"It's not going to be easy, but it's doable," he said. "We've got a lot of talent on this team and we've got to put it to use. If we can do that, we'll see what happens."

ONLY TWO HOME LOSSES

Last Sunday, the 67's scored a major upset by beating the Knights 6-3 in London, handing the No. 1-ranked CHL team only its second defeat on home ice all year.

Ottawa had momentum in the series, but the Knights came to the Civic Centre and won both games to take the commanding lead in this series.

Considering that London lost just seven games during the regular season and only two in the playoffs, Ottawa's chances of winning three straight over the mighty Knights to capture the title would appear to be slim.

Not so, says 67's goalie Danny Battochio.

"Hard is the word, not impossible," he said.

"The crowd's going to be behind them, but we can't go in there thinking about that kind of stuff, and we can't let it bother us.

"A lot of us are fairly new to this, but we've got to block it out," he said. "We've been underdogs through the playoffs, but we've proven to everybody that we can do things we weren't supposed to do to get this far."

Battochio had a rough go in London's 4-1 win in Game 4 at the Civic Centre.

SCORED ON FIRST SHOT

Knights centre Drew Larman scored on his team's first shot early in the first after an Ottawa give-away, ripping the puck from just over the blue line through Battochio's pads and into the net.

"I tried to put my pad out to steer it into the corner, but (the puck) took a dip and got through the five-hole," said Battochio. "What can you do? You might want to take it back, but then you'd want to take back every goal that you let in."

The Knights have done their best to make things rough for Battochio.

First, they called him out for using illegal Overdrive skate blades after Game 2, and the league ordered the 67's to remove the equipment.

Then, during the first period on Thursday, league MVP Corey Perry slashed Battochio in the back of the legs behind the play, sending the Ottawa goalie to the ice.

"He was just trying to get under my skin, I guess," said Battochio. "The ref (Terry Hobor) wasn't looking so I had to take a bit of a dive."

When he got up, Battochio skated out of the crease toward Perry, but stopped before reaching him at the top of the faceoff circle.

"I'm a bit sore from it still," said Battochio. "I've got a welt to prove it, but it's the playoffs and you've just got to play through that kind of stuff and expect that."

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com


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