67's back on road again

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

All the numbers favoured the 67's in their regular-season finale yesterday against Kingston Frontenacs.

Unfortunately for them, they had no control over what went on in Toronto.

Despite a 6-4 win in front of the 9,862 fans who represented their 14th sellout at the Civic Centre -- and an OHL-record 314,542 on the season -- the 67's saw any hope of first-round, home-ice advantage disappear with Barrie's 5-3 victory over St. Mike's.

Instead, they had to wait for the result from last night's Sudbury-Mississauga game to find out if they wound up as the Eastern Conference's fifth- or sixth-place team.

COLTS FIRST OPPONENT

As it turned out, Sudbury edged the IceDogs 2-1 and secured fifth place in the conference. Ottawa finished sixth and will start the playoffs, likely on Friday, on the road against the Colts in Barrie.

The road has not been kind to the 67's, where they finished the regular season with a dismal 11-19-4 record.

"Obviously, the (road record) is in our minds," said winger Chris Hulit, who had a goal and two assists to finish the season with a team-high 71 points. "But the playoffs are a new season and we have to think of it that way.

"We have to get on a roll in the opposing team's barn and play our style like we did for the most part in the month of March."

"We worked hard to clinch a playoff spot and we basically finished strong," added goalie Danny Battochio, who made a strong case for team MVP honours throughout the campaign. "Now there's no room for mistakes ... we just have to give 'er hell and see what happens.

"I know these guys will be giving it their all and I can't let them down. There's going to be a lot of pressure, but it's good pressure, pressure you want to have."

Yesterday, the 67's scored four goals in a 7:02 second-period span to break a 1-1 tie. And generally speaking, a penalty to anyone was a sign of trouble for the Fronts. Two of Ottawa's six goals, by Julian Talbot and Nick Van Herpt, were scored shorthanded. Two more, by Jamie McGinn and Lukas Kaspar, came on the power play. Hulit's 31st of the year came seconds after he had finished serving a penalty.

THREE-POINT GAMES

Talbot also had a three-point game, as did Mark Mancari (who scored his team-leading 36th goal of the season) and Brad Bonello (three assists).

"It's always good to finish on a winning note, especially against your archrivals," said Hulit, who finished the season with nine points in his last four games.

The 67's played without forwards Jakub Petruzalek and Jeremy VanderVeeken, who were nursing minor injuries but could have played if needed.

Ottawa also lost rookie Arron Alphonso to injury in the first period, but coach Brian Kilrea said he was sat for precautionary measures as well.


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