67's appear to turn corner

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

At the end of the year, the 67's might look back to the weekend that just passed and remember it as the one that turned their season around.

They ended a five-game losing skid on Friday with a 6-4 win over Sarnia and followed that yesterday with one of their better efforts, a convincing 5-1 victory over the Belleville Bulls in front of 6,628 at the Civic Centre.

Instead of slipping toward the bottom of the OHL's East Division standings, the 67's are 4-5-1 and find themselves inching toward the Bulls -- who lead the pack with a 6-3-1 record.

"It's a great step for our team. We started off very slow, but we knew we could be a better team," said 67's winger Mark Mancari, who paced his team to an early lead with a pair of goals in the first period.

The 67's broke open a one-goal game by scoring three times in the third.

Rookie import Lukas Kaspar got his team-leading seventh goal during the sixth minute of the final period, banging in a rebound off the end boards during a power play to beat goalie Kevin Lalande of Clarence Creek.

"Once we got that first goal in the third, that broke us loose," said 67's goalie Danny Battochio, who stopped 21 shots and allowed the only Belleville goal to Andrew Maksym late in the second. "If they had got it, it would have been a different game."

FOURTH LINE SCORES

The 67's got great performances from many, including rookie fourth-liners Matt Lahey, Arron Alphonso and James McGinn, who added an insurance goal in the third.

"I think everyone got a lift from the kids going out there and having good shifts," said 67's coach and GM Brian Kilrea. "They didn't play a lot, but they got a goal and it was a good game for them."

Lahey, the team's first-round pick in 2004, scored his first OHL goal in the eighth minute of the third, and defenceman Nick Van Herpt got his first goal in an Ottawa uniform a couple of minutes later to give the 67's a comfortable lead.

Kilrea also praised the work of the second line of Mancari, Julian Talbot and Bryan Bickell for creating chances in the offensive zone, and shutting down the Bulls' top scoring line of Mike Roelofsen, Ryan Berard and David Edgeworth.

"We talked all week, and we know we can be a good line," said Mancari. "We've worked together before in the past two years. We just talked to each other and said 'Let's go out and start beating our opposition.' We work well together, we know where each other are. It's just going to get better from here."

Another good sign for the 67's: They outshot the Bulls 42-22, one of the rare occasions the 67's were on the leading end of the shots total.

Jakub Petruzalek had three assists yesterday and leads the club with 15 points.

NOTES: Ds Brodie Beard and Tyson Aitcheson both missed yesterday's game with shoulder injuries ... The 67's are off until Friday when they host Barrie at the Civic Centre (7:30 p.m.).

EAGLES SCREAM PAST 'PIQUES: Charles Fontaine's goal with 5:48 remaining in the third period was the difference, as the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles defeated the Olympiques 3-2 yesterday in QMJHL action in front of 2,488 fans at the Robert Guertin Centre. Keven Petit and Petr Pohl scored for Gatineau (7-4-2), while Philippe Bertrand and Jean-Claude Sawyer had the other markers for Cape Breton (4-7-3).


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