67's offence couldn't keep up

ERIC BENDER -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 2:08 PM ET

They made a credible account of themselves, but in the end the Ottawa 67's managed just one win in this year's Memorial Cup.

The lone win was the five-period overtime marathon against the Kelowna Rockets in the round-robin. But they couldn't survive last night's semifinal against Rimouski.

Okay. What was it?

With six players with 20 or more goals (and one 19-goal sniper) the 67's managed seven shots on goal in the first period and eight in the second on Rimouski's reputed porous defence. The Oceanic doubled that count against a defence that 67's coach Brian Kilrea shored up at the trade deadline by adding Brad Staubitz and trading also for Nick Van Herpt from the Mississauga IceDogs.

Defencemen scored three of Ottawa's eight goals. Staubitz had two and Elgin Reid had one. Derek Joslin had one of the four Ottawa goals last night.

Or was it Rimouski's offence, which simply applied the old adage that the best defence is a good offence?

It wasn't Rimouski goalie Cedrick Desjardins who thwarted them. The 67's didn't get good chances on the 29 shots they had in total. Fourteen shots came in the third period when the Oceanic was defending a 4-2 lead.

Kilrea himself put his team down with a unsportsmanlike bench penalty to start the third period. At the end of the second he walked near the timer's box to let referee Richard Forest, an official in the Quebec league, know he didn't like his calls.

"I was asking him what interference was," he said, adding he didn't swear at Forest.

Kilrea said he questioned interference twice in front of the net and once when he thought his 67's were going on the power play but instead the call went against them.

"We didn't start well," he said, "and we didn't do many things well. I'm not going to name names because they are the guys who got us here."

Jamie McGinn, a 16-year-old who played minor midget last year and who won a spot on Ottawa's top line, scored twice last night. And he was effective in the round-robin, scoring a goal despite being minus-three.

The 67's made a surprise run in the OHL this year, particularly in the playoffs where they ousted the favoured Peterborough Petes in the Eastern Conference final before falling 4-1 in the final to the Knights.

It was McGinn's overtime goal that finished off the Petes, to that point the biggest goal of his career. With back-to-back goals last night he came out of the tournament with three goals.

"No one predicted we would go this far," he said. "But it's tough to go out this way."

With a long junior career still ahead, he said he hopes to be back in the Memorial Cup. "We've got a lot of returning players and hopefully it's a good draft."

Kilrea said he didn't know what kind of a team he'd have next year, but hopes that "one of the blocks is Logan Couture."

Couture, of London, who played with the junior B St. Thomas Stars this season as a 15-year-old, was drafted by the 67's even though his family had said he wouldn't play in the OHL.

For Bright's Grove native Staubitz, it was his last junior game after four solid years. He had played 3 1/2 with the Soo Greyhounds and was comfortably ensconced in Sault Ste. Marie when the trade came.

"Within a week I had pride playing for the (Ottawa) jersey. It was a good opportunity," said Staubitz, who will play university hockey at Saint Mary's in Halifax.

The 67's had a distinct Southwestern Ontario flavour this season, with players such as Staubitz, Londoner Mark Mancari, McGinn of Fergus and Jamie VanderVeeken from Wallaceburg.


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