Not all is lost for 67's

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:09 AM ET

There is such as a thing as rest for the weary.

The 67's received some yesterday, getting a day off from coach Brian Kilrea following Thursday's 3-2 double overtime defeat to the Petes in Peterborough.

Had the coach been discouraged by his team's effort in the opening game of their Eastern Conference quarter-final, yesterday's reprieve wouldn't have happened, and the players would have been dragging their bodies to the Brian Kilrea Arena to prepare for tonight's rematch at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m.).

It isn't often you'll see Kilrea content after any sort of loss, especially in the playoffs. But even he couldn't mask his contentment with the way his players performed against the favoured Petes.

The game could have gone either way before Petes defenceman Trevor Hendrikx scored the winner in the 14th minute of the second OT.

''Everybody worked hard, and everybody played well,'' Kilrea said while sitting in his front-row seat of the team bus before it left Peterborough late Thursday night.

The 67's needed players to deliver strong performances and several did.

Ottawa's play in the defensive zone was particularly solid. Veteran blueliners Elgin Reid and Brodie Beard were impressive, and Joe Grimaldi helped the team elude danger by quickly moving the puck out of the zone whenever he had a chance.

'FOUR GREAT LINES'

''They've got four great lines and they're so deep that no matter who they put out there, it's like we're playing against a top line,'' said Reid.

''We're well aware of that and we know that we need to be on top of our game to be able to shut these guys down or keep them close to a minimum.''

Up front, rookie Thomas Kiriakou, filling in at centre for suspended captain Julian Talbot, worked well most of the night against Jordan Staal, a future NHL star.

Kiriakou scored on a power play in the third period to tie the game.

''I know it's a big spot to fill, but I think I'm capable of it,'' Kiriakou said about replacing Talbot between wingers Chris Hulit and Brett Liscomb.

Talbot will also miss the next two games, serving a three-game suspension for a match penalty for spearing during last Sunday's final regular-season game.

The 67's will try to generate more scoring chances tonight. Despite outshooting the Petes 56-52, the hosts had the better opportunities.

IN THE CREASE: The 67's announced yesterday that 9,000 tickets had been sold for tonight's game ... OC Tranpso is offering Connexion 400 transit service to Scotiabank Place for the game.

'PIQUES WIN: Darryl Smith broke a tie with 2:30 left to lift the Gatineau Olympiques to a 4-3 victory over the Drummondville Voltigeurs in their QMJHL playoff opener last night at the Guertin Centre. Game 2 of the West Division quarter-final goes today at the Guertin (4 p.m.).

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com


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