Battochio puts on a clinic

TERRY KOSHAN, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- For a guy who once underwent an eight-hour brain operation, 95 minutes and 41 seconds of hockey is nothing.

Danny Battochio set a Memorial Cup record with 62 saves last night and in doing so gave his Ottawa 67's teammates one last opportunity to end the longest game in Cup history.

Defenceman Brad Staubitz scored on a slapshot from the point at 15:41 of the second overtime as the 67's knocked off the defending Cup champion Kelowna Rockets 3-2 at the John Labatt Centre.

"A lot of people didn't believe in us," said Battochio, who had surgery in January 2004 to repair an arteriovenous malformation in the frontal lobe behind his left eye. "We've been playing the role of underdogs all playoffs. I hope this proves people wrong and they will think twice. I have never played in a game that long. It was great to come out with a win."

The previous longest game in the Memorial Cup was in 2000, when the Barrie Colts beat the Kootenay Ice at 5:34 of double overtime. The Rockets will be in a big hole if they lose to the host London Knights tonight (7 p.m., SNO).

Battochio's best save was in the first overtime period, when he caught a slapshot off the stick of Justin Keller. The sold-out crowd of 8,905 gave Battochio a short standing ovation.

NOT WORRIED

Battochio, who said he is not worried about such things when asked if he felt he was playing for an NHL contract at this tournament, soaked up all he could when Dominik Hasek practised with the 67's earlier this season. The Rockets, who are in the Memorial Cup for the third year in a row, probably thought they were playing Hasek.

"(Battochio) was outstanding," said Blake Comeau, who was serving a minor penalty when Staubitz scored the winner. "There were some acrobatic saves. He was the difference."

Mark Mancari and Elgin Reid, credited with the tying goal at 2:55 of the third period when Rockets captain Brett Palin accidentally kicked the puck into his own net, also scored for Ottawa. The 67's suffered a blow when forward Jakub Petruzalek went down with a knee injury. Coach Brian Kilrea said Petruzalek is done for the tournament. Comeau and Troy Bodie scored for Kelowna, which got 44 saves from Kristofer Westblom.

Brad Bonello did the grunt work on the winning goal, kicking the puck back to Staubitz.

"To be able to make it into the record books is unbelievable," Staubitz, who was acquired from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds this season, said. "It's huge to win. It gives us confidence."

Referee Richard Forest, who works in the Quebec league, called six penalties in overtime -- four to Kelowna and two to Ottawa. However, Kelowna coach Jeff Truitt refused to point a finger at Forest, saying his team took full responsibility.

"To play hard for that long and to come up short with nothing is disappointing," Rockets defenceman Shea Weber said.


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