67's need Dandy Danny

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

LONDON -- The 67's Memorial Cup hopes lie squarely on the shoulders of goalie Danny Battochio. No problem ... it's a burden he's carried well so far this playoff season, leading his team to a shot at a national championship.

When the playoffs began nearly two months ago, Battochio admitted he was slightly nervous. But, now on the grandest junior hockey stage, he's ready to go.

"I'm just going to have to stick with what I've been doing all playoffs," said Battochio, with the 67's opening their Memorial Cup schedule on Sunday against Western Hockey League champs, the Kelowna Rockets. It'll be the first time the 67's have ever faced the Rockets.

"I'm just going to have to be ready and expect anything from them," said Battochio. "We've had a good run, and we've had a good taste of what it's like to play against some good teams like London.

"I'm just going to take that experience and bring it to the Memorial Cup because every team there will be just as good as the Knights."

The host Knights open the tournament tomorrow night against the Rimouski Oceanic, who are led by the sensational Sidney Crosby.

Battochio doubts being familiar with the John Labatt Centre, the battleground of three recent OHL championship series games, will give the 67's any kind of edge during the Memorial Cup.

"We're all facing the same kind of pressure and we're all pretty much going into it brand new," he said.

"It's all going to be equal. Every rink in this league is different, There isn't much room in the corners here, but I don't think that's going to play much of a factor in deciding a win or a loss."

Battochio added that the Oceanic and Rockets will pick up on the bounces at the "House of Green."

"Everybody will have time to get familiar with the surroundings," he said.

AA OK: 67's rookie winger Arron Alphonso will join the team in London for this morning's practice. He returned to Orangeville on Wednesday following the death of the grandfather of a friend.

IN THE CREASE: Gatineau Olympiques coach Benoit Groulx will speak with Hockey Canada next month about an assistant coaching job with the national junior team.


Photos