67's can't hit Bulls' eye

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:41 AM ET

A hockey team never wants to see its power play go into the tank. But in the case of the Ottawa 67's, the timing couldn't have been worse.

They're in the middle of a fight for a playoff spot in the OHL's Eastern Conference, yet the 67's can't score with a man advantage, which was the case yesterday during a 2-1 loss to the Belleville Bulls at the Civic Centre.

Four times the 67's had a power play, and came up empty.

The team has not scored in five games with a man advantage and has gone 0-for-26 during that span. The last time a 67's player got a power-play goal was on Jan. 30 during a 6-4 win in Brampton.

KILLER FRUSTRATED

A frustrated Brian Kilrea said yesterday he needs better performances from the players who normally work the power play.

"Five (players) make it go, or five don't make it go. Right now, it's five (who aren't)," the 67's coach/GM said.

Despite the loss, Ottawa remains fifth in the jammed Eastern Conference, but the Bulls moved to within one point of the 67's.

Meanwhile, the ninth-place St. Michael's Majors beat Sudbury and are within one point of Kingston for the last playoff spot in the conference -- and St. Michael's trails Ottawa by just five points.

Yesterday, the 67's showed little jump until the second half of the final period.

Defenceman Geoff Killing scored for the first time in 78 OHL games to give the Bulls a first-period lead, then Pat Sutton ripped a slap shot past Danny Battochio during a power play in the second.

Right winger Mark Mancari finally got the 67's on the scoreboard in the 15th minute of the third.

Mancari moved onto a line with centre Julian Talbot and Chris Hulit after Bryan Bickell went to the dressing room with eight minutes left after being assessed a misconduct by referee Sean McQuigge.

During a stoppage in play, Bickell fired the puck across the ice in protest after McQuigge issued Hulit a penalty for slashing the stick out of the hands of an opponent who wasn't carrying the puck.

'A LITTLE TAP'

"I didn't really slash him hard. I just kind of gave him a little tap and the stick fell out of his hands," said Hulit. "It kind of looked obvious on my part."

Bulls goalie Eric Tobia made 35 saves, including one on Jakub Petruzalek's breakaway in the first.

Belleville coach George Burnett said his team did a good job of preventing Ottawa's forwards from getting chances off rebounds.

"Eric made some big saves when they did get a couple of second chances," Burnett said. "For the most part, we didn't allow them too many of them."

Ottawa travels to Oshawa on Thursday and is back on home ice against Peterborough on Friday.


Videos

Photos