Kilrea Shores up practice

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

The Ottawa 67's can thank the legendary Eddie Shore for having to practise yesterday.

About 18 hours after the 67's finished off the Peterborough Petes to clinch the OHL Eastern Conference title Wednesday night, coach Brian Kilrea had them back on the ice.

"That's one thing Eddie Shore taught me," said Kilrea, who played for Shore in the 1960s. "Make them skate the next day. Have them come in and get the air out of their heads."

Not that the 67's have any problem going to the rink these days. They probably would have shown up at 4 a.m. with bells on had their Hall of Fame coach told them to do so. The 67's will make their second appearance in the OHL final in three years and if their opponent is the London Knights, they will have a free pass to the Memorial Cup in London when the tournament begins May 21.

"We went out and had some fun (after disposing of the Petes) but I woke up (yesterday) morning and couldn't wait to get to the rink again," defenceman Brad Staubitz said. "This is an unbelievable run we're on and it has been a lot of fun."

There were about six teams that stood an equal chance of emerging from the Eastern Conference when the playoffs opened March 24. But as Kilrea said, the 67's have been hot at the right time. Backed by a few factors -- the strong goaltending of Danny Battochio, Kilrea's ability to use four lines and a steady defence corps -- they got past the Barrie Colts and Sudbury Wolves before a surprising sweep of the Petes.

Although beating the Knights four times in seven games would appear to be impossible (and it should be remembered the Knights have not yet advanced to the OHL final, but have three chances starting tonight to oust the resilient Kitchener Rangers), the 67's want to compete for the Memorial Cup because they have earned the right.

"When you start a season there is no room for excuses," Kilrea, 70, said. "The only goal is to win. You never say you want to make the playoffs and see where you go. You want to win."

And given a choice, Kilrea wouldn't mind kicking back on Monday night and watching a possible Game 7 between the Rangers and Knights. If the Knights are in the final, it might not start until next Friday, as the John Labatt Centre is booked for concerts on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

"I would like to see them go seven games," Kilrea said. "I would be lying to you if I said otherwise."

NEW NAME

The home of the Brampton Battalion, formerly known as the Brampton Centre for Sports and Entertainment, has been renamed the Powerade Centre.


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