It's lights out for 67's

BARRE CAMPBELL, OTTAWA SUN

, Last Updated: 7:09 AM ET

Danny Battochio ended a brilliant junior hockey career yesterday in a very inappropriate way.

THE OTTAWA 67'S GOALIE --- the heart and soul of this team for the last two seasons -- was sitting on the bench.

He was there while an extra attacker tried to extend the 67's season in the dying seconds of Game 6 at the Civic Centre. But time expired and the Ottawa was eliminated from the OHL playoffs by a 3-2 loss to the Peterborough Petes.

The Ottawa players saluted the fans from centre ice after the teams formed their lines for the customary post-series handshake.

And as the 67's skated off the ice, Battochio stopped a few feet from the edge of the sheet, turned toward the fans and delivered a final salute.

The fans responded with a rousing ovation.

"I really love this place and it's too bad it has to end right now, " said Battochio, fighting back tears in the Ottawa locker room after his team's first-round elimination.

The 20-year-old Sudbury native ended up giving 67's fans a memorable goaltending performance after arriving in the city at the start of training camp three seasons ago as a longshot walk-on.

He played late that year, but suffered a seizure at home during the Christmas break, caused by a malformed vein near his brain. But after surgery, he returned to action last season and became the 67's MVP.

"He's come out and put his heart on the line every single game he plays," said 67's winger Jamie McGinn. "It's going to be sad to see him leave."

"I can only hope in the future that good things happen for him, because he made good things happen for us," said 67's coach/GM Brian Kilrea.

Ottawa tried to extend the Eastern Conference quarter-final to a decisive seventh game in Peterborough, but the 67's ran out of time.

Down 3-1 heading into the final period, the 67's gained some hope when Matt Lahey tipped a Derek Joslin shot behind Petes goalie David Shantz with 6:19 remaining.

Ottawa stormed the Petes in the final minutes and nearly sent the game into overtime.

McGinn had the best chance in the final minute when the puck squirted out of a scramble onto his stick at the side of the net.

But the second-year winger got tackled as he shot, and the puck ricocheted off the post and stayed out of the net.

"I thought it might hopefully hit the back of (Shantz) and go into the net," said McGinn who scored an overtime winner last year to knock Peterborough out of the playoffs. "It was close. I just wish I could go back there and put it in the net."

The Petes broke open the game in the middle period, breaking a 1-1 tie with goals from Fredrik Naslund, his second of the game, and Steve Downie while dominating the 67's 10-3 in shots.

"Throughout the whole year, they've given us a tough time, especially in their own rink," said Petes defenceman and Russell native Trevor Hendrikx, who led his team with eight points during the series .

"It was just nice to come out with a great effort and get this win."

The 67's were missing winger Brett Liscomb, who received a five-game suspension from the OHL for slurring Downie during Friday's overtime loss in Peterborough.

"The difference was their best players were their best players continually, and they got the job done," said Kilrea.

As for his own future, the 71-year-old Kilrea said he plans on being behind the bench again next season.

"What else would I do?" he said. "I'd still come to the rink and I'd still be a pain in the ass to be around. I'd want to be here anyways, and there's nothing else for me. I just want to be at the rink."

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com

Petes 3

67's 2

Peterborough wins 4-2


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