Wolves bite into 67's

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:22 AM ET

The 67's stopped just short of the finish line yesterday. Twenty minutes short, in fact.

In a regular season finale at the Civic Centre, Ottawa surrendered four unanswered goals while suffering a 6-4 defeat at the hands of the Sudbury Wolves.

The loss, in front of 8,912 spectators, left the 67's seventh in the East and means they'll play a first-round playoff series with the Belleville Bulls.

The 67's lost seven of their eight meetings with the Bulls this season, but the two teams played each other close. Three of the games were decided by one goal and three more were decided by two, as the Bulls held a 36-26 overall edge.

Dates for the best-of-seven series should be settled today.

"Our record wasn't very good against them throughout the year, but you're hoping that maybe in the playoffs, some guys are going to play better," said coach Brian Kilrea, who naturally wasn't impressed with the way his 30-34-0-4 team played its last period. "We just had too many turnovers in our end, and each time they resulted in a goal.

"We had too many mistakes in our end to be playoff-ready, or to be a good playoff team."

The 67's were playing their fourth game in five days and were missing, because of injury, both Brett Liscomb and Matt Lahey, their third and fifth leading scorers, respectively.

Liscomb will be ready for the start of the playoffs, and Lahey should be, too.

"We came out in the first two periods and played like we wanted to," said winger Arron Alphonso, who replaced Liscomb on the top line alongside Logan Couture and Jamie McGinn. "We needed that in the third, but some guys took the period off.

"We've got to put that behind us and get ready for the playoffs. It's a new season and anything can happen. There's a lot of possibilities. We've got to look at the cup as half full."

The 67's were outshot 33-27, but goalie Brady Morrison wasn't to blame on this day. Morrison, who played in 49 of Ottawa's 68 games this season, is expected to start ahead of Lukas Flueler in the playoffs.

Yesterday, rookie defenceman Julian Demers score two-thirds of a Gordie Howe hat trick in the second period --with a fight three seconds into it and his second goal of the season with just less than two minutes before the intermission -- as the 67's carried a 3-2 lead into the final period.

But the Wolves tied it up 37 seconds after the third began, then fired off three more goals by the 16:10 mark to seal the deal.

McGinn scored his second of the game and 46th of the season with 42 seconds left to make the final look a little more respectable.

Senators first-round pick Nick Foligno had two assists for the Wolves to finish the season with 31 goals and 57 assists for 88 points to go along with his 135 penalty minutes in 66 games.


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