Battochio a practice target

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:20 AM ET

LONDON -- They were warned.

But, unbelievably, not everybody was listening.

67's coach Brian Kilrea told his players yesterday they'd be thrown off the practice ice if one of their shots went high and took out a goalie, just like on Wednesday when Jakub Petruzalek's slap shot struck Danny Battochio in the collarbone.

Incredibly, it happened again.

For the second straight practice at the Memorial Cup, Battochio left the ice early after taking a high shot from a teammate.

This time, winger Jamie VanderVeeken starred in the culprit's role, blasting a shot off Battochio's throat at the Western Fair Arena.

And again, the goalie hit the ice in pain and was escorted to the locker room by 67's trainer Brian Patafie.

KILLER BOOTS OFFENDER

VanderVeeken also left the ice, banished to the locker room by Kilrea for the remainder of the session.

Battochio stormed into the room and was clearly agitated at being dusted again.

Later, he left the rink with an ice pack wrapped over his shoulders and near his throat.

He returned with the team by bus to the John Labatt Centre, where Dr. Tony Cogliano examined him and found no injury that would keep Battochio from starting tonight's Cup semi-final against the Rimouski Oceanic.

Kilrea, in fact, made light of the situation when reporters asked about Battochio's injury and his status for tonight's do-or-die contest.

"If he doesn't play, then I'm just going to go and make sure that I'll console him. I'll stay with him," said Kilrea.

One thing is certain: Ottawa back-up goalie Anthony Guadagnolo has gone into red-alert mode with the way trouble has followed Battochio during the past few days.

"If I'm called in to play, then I'll be ready," said Guadagnolo, who saw 20 minutes of action -- on April 15 -- during the OHL playoffs.

"I've played enough minutes in this league where I'm not going to be scared to play. I've been here for two years, and it's hockey," said Guadagnolo, who has not started a game since March 13.

"It's been a while, but we practise every day and I'll be fine."

Battochio started in net for Ottawa on Thursday during a 5-2 loss to the London Knights in the tournament's final round-robin game, despite getting injured during practice on Wednesday by Petruzalek's shot.

"There's some bad ice out there, so the puck flipped up a couple of times," said winger Julian Talbot. "We want to keep the pucks down, but sometimes it doesn't happen."

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com


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