67's no welcome mats

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

The Ottawa 67's have a date tonight at the Civic Centre with Dale Hunter and his Memorial Cup champion London Knights.

Not exactly a date most OHL clubs would get excited about. But in Ottawa's case, there's reason for optimism.

HOME COOKIN'

Against the league's upper-echelon clubs on home ice this season, the 67's have been, well, nearly spot on.

Here's the evidence.

Last November against Barrie, Pat Ouellette scored the overtime winner to beat the Colts.

On Dec. 4, defenceman Derek Joslin's goal in the second period gave the 67's a two-goal lead against Peterborough, and the 67's went on to a 5-1 victory over the Petes.

Then on Jan. 20 -- in perhaps the team's best effort at home this season -- goalie Danny Battochio stopped 36 shots and rookie centre Logan Couture scored twice during a 5-0 blanking of the Petes.

"It seems like we've played better against some of those teams," said Ottawa coach and general manager Brian Kilrea.

"We've been competitive. You get a big lift if you beat some of these teams. We haven't beaten London yet (a 7-4 loss in London last October), but this is one of those yardstick games where you find out if you compete with them."

Even during Ottawa's last home game against Kitchener, the 67's could have won if they had not gone 0-for-13 on the power play. The Rangers, ranked No. 7 in the CHL's current rankings, needed an empty-net goal to seal a 3-1 decision.

Battochio starts again in net for Ottawa, which continues the weekend on Sunday at home with another tough test against the Petes.

PLAYOFF'S IN CARDS: The 67's clinched a playoff spot last night with Toronto St. Michael's 6-3 win over Mississauga.


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