Kilrea: Playoffs are now for 67's

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:06 AM ET

Brian Kilrea won't be making an inspirational speech before tonight's 67's home game against the Barrie Colts.

He hopes he doesn't need to.

The 67's coach figures his players know the importance of each game at this point of the season.

The way things have shaken down in the OHL's Eastern Conference, no team has clinched a playoff spot as the regular season heads into the final three weeks.

That includes the 67's, who have suddenly found themselves in danger of scrambling to qualify for the post-season.

Heading into last night's action, the 67's owned a six-point lead on the ninth-place Kingston Frontenacs, who played in Peterborough last night.

The top eight teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs, so the 67's don't have a lot of time for losing skids, like their current three-game slide.

"Toronto's come on, Barrie's come on, Belleville's come on, so it's time for Ottawa to come on," said Kilrea before yesterday's practice at the Civic Centre.

The 67's looked like they were on a roll two weeks ago after back-to-back wins at home over Peterborough and Owen Sound.

But they dropped three straight on a road trip last weekend to Mississauga, Erie and Brampton.

"We didn't play with the emotion or the desire that you need to win games," said Kilrea.

"We need, to a man, to play better this weekend."

The 67's play the Kitchener Rangers at home on Sunday afternoon.

IN THE CREASE: G Danny Battochio starts in net for the 67's tonight ... Kilrea has not named a starting goalie for Sunday's game ... Rookie Jamie McGinn has a goal in four straight games and at least one in five of the last six ... W Mark Mancari returns to the lineup tonight after serving a four-game suspension for his part in a series of fights against Peterborough two weeks ago.


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