Mancari does the trick again

BARRE CAMPBELL, Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 1:25 PM ET

67's 6, Battalion 1 The math is simple.

The Ottawa 67's need a win or tie today at home against the Kingston Frontenacs to clinch a playoff spot for a 12th consecutive season.

They put themselves in that position with one of their better efforts last night, a 6-1 beating of the Brampton Battalion at the Civic Centre that extended their winning streak to four games.

More importantly, the 67's moved into a fourth-place tie in the OHL's Eastern Conference standings with four games left in the regular schedule.

"We're approaching every game that's left in the season as a playoff game," said winger Mark Mancari, who had another three-goal performance -- his second in as many games and third in the last four.

"We know how important it is to get home ice and we know how important it is to make the playoffs. Right now, we really don't have anything locked up."

Ottawa wants to finish in the top four to assure home-ice advantage in the opening round of the post-season, which begins later this month.

The 67's have been better at home than on the road this season. No team in the conference has a better record in its own rink. Only London and Owen Sound have better home marks n the entire league.

Brian Kilrea, though, doesn't really think much about looking ahead.

"There's all kinds of different scenarios, but the big thing is to continue to win," the 67's coach/GM said.

Ottawa is tied in the conference with Barrie, which drew with Sudbury last night. The 67's also moved to within two points of third-place Brampton.

Ottawa played like a playoff team last night, with Mancari leading the way. He scored twice in the first period, helping Ottawa to a 3-1 lead after the opening 20 minutes.

Defenceman Brodie Beard got his first goal of the season early in the second on a floater from the point that chased starting Battalion goalie Daren Machesney out of the net.

Mancari completed the hat trick a couple of minutes later on a breakaway, tucking the first shot against relief goalie Kevin Couture into the net for a 5-1 lead.

ON A ROLL

Mancari had other breakaways, too, but came up empty.

"I felt I could have had a few more, but, you know, it happens. Things are just going my way right now," said Mancari, who also scored hat tricks last Friday against Barrie and on Tuesday in Kingston.

Brad Bonello and Lukas Kaspar also scored for the 67's.

Wojtek Wolski got Brampton's only goal early in the first.

The rest of the way, Ottawa goalie Danny Battochio played well and made several great saves.

His best came in the second when he slid across the crease and grabbed a sure goal away from Luch Aquino with his glove.

NOTES: The 67's held a moment of silence prior to the opening faceoff for the four RCMP officers slain in Alberta earlier this month ... Attendance was 9,862, another sellout crowd ... Peterborough lost first place in the conference to Mississauga after losing 5-3 to Oshawa last night. The Generals broke a 14-game losing skid. Meanwhile, the IceDogs downed St. Michael's 2-1, setting up a battle between the Majors, Kingston and Belleville for the final playoff spot.

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com


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