67's survive hardy Spirit

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:45 PM ET

This one wasn't pretty, but the 67's will take wins any way they can at this point of the OHL season.

They struggled against the cellar-dwelling Saginaw Spirit last night -- even had to endure a bit of booing from the 7,949 fans at the Civic Centre -- but managed to escape with a 5-3 victory.

"For a better part of the game, they outworked us," said 67's coach Brian Kilrea, who has complained about his team's focus throughout the season. "So it was one of those situations where we were fortunate we got the two points."

The fans started getting on the 67's when they struggled on a second-period power play. They finished the night with one goal in six man-advantage opportunities.

"I heard them at one point start to chant that it was boring," said 67's winger Jeremy Akeson. "They pay to come watch us play and they want to see some excitement. When our power play isn't going, it's not only disappointing to them, but it's disappointing to us."

Akeson ended up doing his part to send the fans home happy, scoring a power-play goal and the eventual game-winner five minutes into the third when he worked hard for his 10th of the season, fighting off a check to bang a loose puck past goalie Jeff Weber.

Jakub Petruzalek scored once and had two assists for Ottawa. Lukas Kaspar, Bryan Bickell and Mark Mancari had the other 67's goals.

GOALIE SHARP

Kilrea praised Anthony Guadagnolo, who made 38 saves for his sixth win of the season.

"He made some good saves for us, and he had no fault on the goals," said Kilrea.

Mark Kvapil, Michal Birner and Rick Caughell scored for Saginaw.

The 67's will practice today in preparation for tomorrow's visit by the London Knights, who have the OHL's best record.

The Knights will be without coach Dale Hunter, who was suspended indefinitely by the OHL yesterday pending a hearing Tuesday following his expulsion from a game in Peterborough this week.

Hunter was removed after making a gesture toward referee Joel Washkurak, using his fingers to circle his eyes as if wearing glasses. He also thumbed his nose in the direction of officials.

The fight-filled game also resulted in suspensions to London forwards Jordan Foreman and Kelly Thompson, and goalie Adam Dennis, all who will miss tomorrow's game.

Kilrea said the suspensions won't be a factor in the game.

"The guys out aren't the guys who score the goals," he said. "You need to have everyone to win, but the last time I looked, (Corey) Perry is still coming, and (Robbie) Schremp and (Danny) Fritsche. I imagine they'll be all right."

The Knights have just four losses in 45 games after last night's 5-0 win in Kingston.

"I think it's going to be a pretty close game," said Akeson. "I think it's going to be pretty physical with lots of bodychecks going around."

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com


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