OT real pain for 67's

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 5:17 PM ET

Bulls 4, 67's (OT) 3

In the new year, the 67's can go in one of two directions.

They can climb ahead in the Eastern Conference standings and try for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs by getting one of the top four spots.

The other direction, they don't even want to think about, but the 67's by no means can take a post-season berth for granted.

Ottawa gained a point last night after scoring twice in the third period to force overtime, but ended up losing 4-3 to the Belleville Bulls in front of a sold-out Civic Centre crowd of of 9,862.

John Hughes got the winner with 56 seconds remaining in OT, ripping a low wrist shot underneath Danny Battochio's stick.

It was the third straight time that Ottawa lost when a game at home went into overtime.

"It's frustrating because every time we go into overtime it feels like we're going to get scored against," 67's winger Chris Hulit said.

Hulit had a chance to give the 67's the win in the extra period on a 2-on-1 with Julian Talbot, but his shot sailed over the net. The Bulls broke out of the Ottawa zone moments later to score the winner.

"For me personally, I was a little tired going into overtime," said Hulit. "I was dead."

The 67's held a 1-0 lead late in the second on a goal by rookie Pat Daley, but Belleville scored three times in the final three minutes of the period.

After Matt Beleskey tied it, Ottawa got into penalty trouble. Pat Ouellette was sent off for boarding, which was followed by a bench minor for having too many players on the ice.

The Bulls took advantage, getting a goal from Scott Baker during a two-man power play.

LAST-SECOND GOAL

Then, with one second left and Daley still serving the bench minor, Andrew Self made it 3-1 with a high wrist shot from the slot.

67's coach Brian Kilrea complained to referee Ian Smith that Bryan Bickell was held illegally while trying to clear the puck along the boards near the Bulls bench, resulting in a loose puck that eventually got to Self.

The 67's got back into the game with goals 34 seconds apart by Robbie Lawrance and Bickell early in the third period.

With the extra point, the Bulls moved into a tie with Ottawa for seventh in the conference with 37 points, although Belleville has played two fewer games.

Meanwhile, the Mississauga IceDogs beat Kingston 3-2 last night to move within six points of Belleville and the 67's, who hold the last playoff spots in the conference.

"We know that it's there for us," said Hulit. "We're only a few points back of fourth place in the conference, but we also know that Mississauga is playing better of late and are coming on.

''We just have to start playing like we can, but right now we're struggling."

The 67's begin the new year with a game in Kingston tomorrow.

GATINEAU LOSES: At Drummondville, the Gatineau Olympiques lost their third straight QMJHL game, a 3-2 decision to the Voltigeurs. Martin Frechette and Brett Morrison scored for the 'Piques, who begin a four-game road trip to the Maritimes on Wednesday in Sydney, N.S. against Cape Breton.

IN THE CREASE: Bulls winger Stephen Blunden, a Gloucester native, made his OHL debut last night. Blunden's older brother Michael is playing for Canada at the world junior championship in Vancouver.

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com


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