67's defence D-lightful

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

Brian Kilrea issued the challenge, and the 67's defence responded.

There's no other way to explain the team's improvement in its own zone, one of the main factors in a five-game unbeaten streak that was extended yesterday with a 4-1 win over the Plymouth Whalers at the Civic Centre.

More than weeks ago, following a discouraging loss at home to Guelph, Kilrea ripped into the defensive efforts of his team and went one step further, saying that his group of blueliners -- despite shoulder injuries to a couple of regulars -- was the most discouraging bunch he's had to coach in 30 years.

The 67's haven't lost since Kilrea issued those harsh words on Oct. 8, a streak that began with a 1-1 tie in Belleville and has continued with four straight wins.

"We knew we hadn't been playing well together as a group of six, and that we needed to do something about it," said 67's defenceman Will Colbert, a Senators draft pick.

During the streak, the 67's have limited their opponents, to just one goal in four of the five games.

"I think some of them should have taken it to heart," said Kilrea about the challenge. "I wasn't too happy."

There were no complaints from the coach after yesterday's win.

Once again, the 67's played well in their own zone and goalie Danny Battochio, who made 19 saves, was solid.

"Our goaltending has been great since day one, we're starting to score some goals, and when we got healthy on the blue line, our defence has done a good job," said Kilrea.

Plymouth's John Mitchell scored the only goal for the visitors late in the second period, just 22 seconds after Bryan Bickell had given Ottawa a 2-0 lead with his fifth goal of the year.

The Whalers pressed for an equalizer early in the third, but the 67's regained a two-goal advantage in the 14th minute when Jakub Petruzalek got his seventh goal of the season off a feed from linemate Lukas Kaspar.

Julian Talbot, who opened the scoring for Ottawa in the first, added an empty-net goal.

"We just wanted to keep our streak going," said Colbert.

"We wanted to get as many points as we could get this weekend because we've got a big road trip ahead."

The 67's are on the bus for a four-game, four-day excursion that begins Thursday in Windsor and continues with games against Plymouth, Saginaw and Sarnia.

Ottawa's next home game is Nov. 5 against Windsor.

NOTES: Attendance at yesterday's game was 6,014 ... D Tyson Aitcheson and D Brodie Beard are questionable for action during the upcoming road trip. Both have missed the last two weeks with injuries ... The 67's went 7-for-7 killing penalties yesterday, and have allowed just nine power-play goals on 68 penalties this year.


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