Mancari right at home

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:49 AM ET

Mark Mancari believes the 67's will get some hometown support at the Memorial Cup in London. At least when the 67's aren't playing the Knights.

Mancari yesterday praised Knights fans for their treatment of the 67's during the recent OHL championship final, won by London in five games.

Mancari, who grew up close to downtown London, received a loud cheer when the 67's were introduced prior to the opening game of the final.

"To get that ovation from the fans was just unbelievable. It was great to see, and it just goes to show how good the London people are," said Mancari before the 67's practised at the Civic Centre yesterday.

"If you're from London and you're playing for another team, they're going to respect you."

Playing in front of the London fans gave Mancari a lift.

He scored his first goal against London in four years in the second game, and wound up with five goals, tied for the series lead with David Bolland of the Knights.

He expects to get the same kind of boost when the 67's play their first game of the tournament on Sunday against the Kelowna Rockets.

WON'T HOLD BACK

"I'm giving it everything I have, and I'm not holding anything back," he said. "I don't know if I'll ever have another chance at a Memorial Cup."

The 19-year-old Mancari, a seventh-round selection of the Buffalo Sabres at last year's NHL draft, could return to the 67's as an overage player next year.

He said the 67's earned the respect of both the Knights and their fans during the OHL final.

"I think the London fans will be looking for us to do well because we're another team from the Ontario Hockey League," said Mancari.

"London did a great job this year. They won the championship, and obviously London fans are going to be behind them all the way.

"But we went in, and a lot of London fans thought they were just going to sweep us in four games and that they were going to be out of reach."

Mancari's family hosted a dinner for more than 20 members of the team after the opening game, and the 67's beat the Knights the next day to become just the second team to beat London at the John Labatt Centre all season.

Are the Mancaris thinking about an encore dinner for good luck?

"We're just going to play it by ear," said Mancari. "My family's going to be pretty busy as it is."

ALPHONSO AT HOME: Ottawa rookie winger Arron Alphonso returned home to Orangeville yesterday because of a death in his family. He missed yesterday's practice, but will return to the team for tomorrow's practice in London.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The 67's leave for London by bus this morning. Coaches and players are required to attend a concert by Tom Cochrane tonight at the John Labatt Centre.

McGINN LOOKS READY: The 67's said rookie left winger Jamie McGinn's status for Sunday's tournament- opener remains questionable, but Kilrea said the 16-year-old looks ready. "All I know is that if we were playing tonight, he'd probably be in the line-up," said Kilrea. McGinn is recovering from an upper-body injury suffered during the third period of Sunday's win in London.


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