Puck stops here for Battochio

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 2:05 PM ET

LONDON -- Danny Battochio wished it would have ended another way.

None of the Ontario Hockey League upsets mattered anymore. None of the outstanding performances by the 67's goalie seemed to matter anymore.

He dropped his head and crouched over in his crease during the final seconds of last night's Memorial Cup semi-final.

"It was mostly an empty feeling," said Battochio. "There's not much you can really describe about it."

The 19-year-old from Sudbury carried much of the load for his team during the playoffs, but had a tough week during this tournament.

He was injured twice during practice leading up to last night's game, and allowed Sidney Crosby to score on a flip shot from beyond the blue line during last night's third period.

As usual, Battochio shouldered the blame, even though he was the brightest light for his team during the tournament.

"I think we had the capability of going farther. I don't believe that was our best effort from everybody on the ice -- from goaltending, to defence, to forwards," he said.

"We scored enough goals. The goaltending has to be a lot stronger in games like that. There's no excuse. That's just the way it went I guess."

Ottawa coach Brian Kilrea said Battochio was worn down by a tough week.

"I just think he wore it," said Kilrea. "He had so many shots and so many situations this week. He was working two-thirds of every game because of the scrambles around our net."

'BIT MORE TIRED'

"I just think he was a little bit more tired than anyone else."

Battochio, who has not been drafted into the NHL, could return for an overage season next year, but also could be offered a pro contract.

"I'm sure somebody is going to be looking at his performance through the playoffs, and it remains to be seen," said Kilrea.

He added that Battochio's return could depend on a resolution of the NHL lockout.

"You still have a lot of players that are waiting for that $10-million contract, and I don't know if they want to play for one and two million."

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com


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