Kilrea's still on hold

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

So now it seems it's come down to this in the wake of the 67's 5-4 loss to the Belleville Bulls last night at the Civic Centre:

Which will the 67's get to first?

A) 1,100 man-games lost to injury;

B) 1,100 mistakes in coverage in their own zone;

C) 1,100 victories for legendary 67's coach/GM Brian Kilrea.

The undermanned 67's, who went with just 17 skaters again last night, lost the back end of their home-and-home series to the Bulls, pushing them another game back in their pursuit of the .500 mark and still one short of another milestone win for their mentor despite a pair of late goals that made it interesting.

The 67's are now 5-8 while the Bulls improved to 9-5, good for top spot in the OHL's East Division in front of a crowd of 7,873. A late Ottawa rally couldn't wipe out a 5-2 deficit.

"It was too little, too late," said Kilrea of the third-period rally.

"I think some of the veterans can play better. I don't know if when they signed, they thought they were (here) for life, but they're forcing me to do something.

"We're not sustaining a real effort all the time. Some players accept a bad shift as part of the game whereas I don't," he said.

The undermanned 67's regained the services of winger Pat Lahey last night after he missed Wednesday's game with the flu.

More help could be on the way soon: Centre Logan Couture and winger Matt Ribiero, who have both been out with mononucleosis, have been cleared to skate and could play next Friday.

Last night, P.K. Slubban and Eric Tangradi gave the Bulls a 2-0 lead early in the second, not leaving 67's goaltender Lukas Flueler much chance on either shot.

But thanks to the work of the line of Jesse Biduke, Thomas Kiriakou and Arron Alphonso, which accounted for all the 67's scoring last night, including twice on the same shift in the second period to tie the game 2-2, the 67's had a breath of life.

First it was Biduke jumping on a rebound of an Alphonso shot at 9:12. Then, 11 seconds later, Alphonso made a nice behind-the-back pass to Kiriakou, who beat Belleville goaltender Mike Murphy.

But the first-place Bulls took a 4-2 lead as twice Belleville shooters were left alone in the slot. The first was on the power play as Matt Beleskey snapped home a nice feed from John Hughes at 10:22. Tyler Donati made it 4-2 at 17:36, then Hughes got his third point of the night, tapping in a rebound on the power-play at 2:25 of the third to make it 5-2.

Biduke scored his second of the night and sixth of the season at 12:55 of the third and Lahey snapped home a wrister from the slot with 75 seconds left in the third to make it a one-goal game.

The 67's host the Soo Greyhounds tomorrow at 2 p.m.


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