Now that was a bit more to Brian Kilrea's liking.
And pretty much everybody in the 67's dressing room.
They wanted to end 2005 with a bang instead of a whimper, and did that last night, ending a four-game losing skid.
They beat the Kingston Frontenacs 6-3 in front of a sold-out Civic Centre in the first game for both clubs following the Christmas break.
But most importantly, the win prevented the Belleville Bulls, who beat Oshawa, from vaulting ahead of the 67's in the Eastern Conference and leaving Ottawa in eighth place.
"We really wanted to win this won, and we really wanted to come out and work hard," said Ottawa defenceman Brodie Beard.
And that they did, with the 67's taking a 3-0 lead before the Frontenacs came back and made it close in the middle period.
25TH FOR BICKELL
Matt Lahey and Julian Talbot scored power-play goals in the period to give Ottawa an early lead, then Bryan Bickell scored a short-handed marker -- his 25th goal of the season -- early in the second.
The middle period turned into a shootout, with both teams scoring three times before they went to the dressing rooms for the break.
The Frontenacs seemed to get momentum with goals 22 seconds apart by rookie Andrew Wilson and Radek Smolenak after rookie Tibor Radulay scored to give Ottawa a 4-1 lead.
But Talbot got another power-play goal later in the period to give the 67's another cushion.
They went scoreless in the final period until Bickell shot into an empty net to clinch the victory.
"It's the second half of the season now, and the guys wanted to come out hard and get a good start," said Talbot, the 67's captain, who has 16 goals this season.
"There are no more rookies in this room because it's halfway through the season and everybody has to play good for us now."
Ottawa got great efforts from Radulay, who scored his second goal of the year, hit a post in the third, and made several hard checks.
And Thomas Kiriakou drew rave reviews from Kilrea for his work substituting at centre for rookie Logan Couture, who's out of the lineup while playing for Ontario at the world under-17 hockey challenge in Saskatchewan.
"Those two were my hardest-working guys," said Kilrea, who also graded Radulay's performance as the Slovakian import's best of the season.
Ottawa winger Chris Hulit missed last night's game after hurting his ribs crashing into the boards during Tuesday's practice. He's day-to-day, but Kilrea thinks he'll be ready for tomorrow night's home game against Belleville.
IN THE CREASE: Olympiques W Michael Stinziani scored twice for Quebec yesterday during an exhibition 4-2 win over the Czech Republic at the under-17 tournament in Regina ... Randy Boyd, captain of the 67's from 1979-81, attended last night's game with Atlanta Fire Peewee AA Fire, the team he's coaching at the Bell Capital Cup ... Last night's game marked the final regular-season visit by Kingston to the Civic Centre. The 67's play in Kingston on Sunday.
OVERTIME BLUES: At the Robert Guertin Centre, the Gatineau Olympiques lost for a second time in overtime in as many nights, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Drummondville Voltigeurs in QMJHL action. The 'Piques led 3-1 early in the third, but the Voltigeurs tied it and got the winning goal at 2:19 of overtime on a goal by Frederic St-Denis. Brett Morrison, Claude Giroux and Cam Fergus scored for Gatineau, which visits Drummondville tomorrow for a rematch.