No more 'miracles'

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 2:10 PM ET

LONDON -- Oceanic 7, 67's 4

The 67's amazing run is over. An amazing streak of upsets that put Ottawa just two wins short of a Memorial Cup championship. One amazing performance after another by goalie Danny Battochio. But the 67's summer vacation begins today.

"They just ran out of miracles," said 67's coach Brian Kilrea.

At the final buzzer, the 67's crowded around Battochio, who had carried the team on his back at times.

But it was little consolation to Battochio and most of the Ottawa players who all felt with a better effort, they could have gone further ... and not ended their Memorial Cup dream with a 7-4 loss to the Rimouski Oceanic.

"For it to come to an end like that, it's very hard to swallow," said Ottawa winger Mark Mancari.

Said Battochio: "We know deep down that that wasn't our best and we really wanted to prove to everyone that we could play."

The 67's loss sets up today's Memorial Cup final of the No.1-ranked London Knights and the high-scoring Oceanic, led by superstar Sidney Crosby, whose three goals and two assists put away the 67's last night.

"Hopefully, we're not there just for (the Knights) to celebrate the Cup," Rimouski coach Doris Labonte said.

The 67's hoped they would have been the team battling the Knights for the championship, but didn't have much of a chance during last night's semi-final.

The key moment came early in the third, just after rookie defenceman Derek Joslin scored on a floater from the blue line that brought the 67's to within a goal at 4-3.

NAILED WITH PENALTIES

Referee Richard Forest, who is based in Quebec, issued a high sticking penalty against 67's centre Brad Bonello, who had been dumped in front of the net after a whistle.

"I thought we were getting a power play, and it turned out that we were killing a penalty, and we didn't do a very good job on it," said Kilrea who said he'd return for another season behind the Ottawa bench, "as long as I can bark and yell."

Patrick Coulombe scored at 3:27 of the third during the power play to regain the two goal lead for Rimouski. The penalty call angered many of the 67's, and many of the 8,905 spectators who booed their displeasure.

"We can sit here and talk about that call all day because I know that it wasn't a penalty, and Brad knows it wasn't a penalty, and Killer knows it wasn't a penalty and 9,000 people knew it wasn't a penalty," said Mancari.

At the end of the second period, Kilrea walked across the ice to complain about no call being made after one of the Ottawa players was taken down near the Rimouski net.

Forest issued a bench penalty against the 67's after Kilrea, who insisted that he didn't swear at the referee, complained twice.

Ottawa rookie Jamie McGinn scored twice in the first period to erase a two-goal deficit.

But the Oceanic quickly took control again.

"I had to battle my emotions in the last two or three minutes because I knew we weren't coming back," said captain Will Colbert.

"It's hard to think it's over until it's over and reality sets in."

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com


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