Loss extra costly for 67's

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

The Ottawa 67's effort last night wasn't totally pointless.

A 6-5 overtime loss to Belleville on the strength of Cory Tanaka's winner at 4:14 of the extra period, turned out to be costly as the 67's fell 11 points back of the Bulls in the battle for first place in the Eastern Conference with only 19 games left in the season for Ottawa.

The 67's have two games in hand on the Bulls and closed out their season series with a 3-3-2 record, but the point Ottawa gained in the OT loss won't do them much good.

The 67's were unable to take advantage of Ryan Martindale's three-point night with two goals and an assist. Logan Couture, Stephen Blunden and Anthony Nigro all had two-point efforts for Ottawa.

Tanaka tied the game 5-5 at 7:26 of the third. That's the way it stayed until he settled it in OT.

"I thought we were looking at getting two points," said 67's GM and coach Brian Kilrea. "You never know what's going to happen, but we didn't capitalize. I think it was a game that we will look back on. That may be a difference.

"We had some chances. It was just at the end they found a way to win," said Kilrea. "We just weren't getting it done. We had some good shifts and we had some tougher shifts."

This wasn't an easy night on Ottawa goalie Chris Perugini or his Belleville counterpart Phillip Grubauer, who was pulled after two periods and replaced by Mike Murphy.

For much of the night, it looked like the last shot was going to be the winner, but the 67's pulled out to a 5-4 lead after 40 minutes on the strength of a strong second period.

Blunden tipped a shot from Martindale by Grubauer for his fifth of the season on the power play against his former club at 16:44 of the second. That came with highly-touted Belleville defenceman P.K. Subban sitting in the penalty box for the second of his three minors.

Less than a month after being the toast of the town as a member of Canada's gold-medal-winning world junior team, Subban was booed and taunted by the fans.

The 67's looked like they were going to be in trouble when Shawn Lalonde gave the Bulls a 4-3 lead after being awarded a penalty shot when he was tripped on a breakaway by Travis Gibbons.

Lalonde, an Ottawa native, beat Perugini with a backhander at 12:49 of the second.

FOUGHT BACK

Martindale then tied it up at 14:58 with his second of the game.

After falling down by a 2-0 count midway through the first, the 67's mounted a comeback to tie it up after 20 minutes.

Goals by Nigro and Couture 13 seconds apart changed the complexion of the game because it looked like Belleville was going to run away with this one.

Only moments after setting up Nigro for his 19th of the season, Couture beat Grubauer high at 10:56 to bring some life to the building. Earlier, Couture had thrown the puck out to Nigro in the slot and he fired it home at 10:43 to make it interesting.

Earlier, the 67's hadn't looked good. Nick Palmieri gave the Bulls the two-goal advantage when a fortunate bounce off a defenceman's leg beat Perugini on the glove side at 5:53. It was Eric Tangradi who opened the scoring by beating Perugini on the glove side on the first shift.

"That has been a common trend for us this year," Martindale said of the slow start. "We've had to come back in a lot of games. We thought we had it and it just slipped away. Coming out with one point is good. Getting two would have been great."

The 67's will host top prospect John Tavares and the London Knights tomorrow at the Civic Centre (3 p.m. Rogers Sportsnet).

The Knights are no doubt steamed after a stunning 3-2 loss to the dismal Kingston Frontenacs last night.

Ethan Werek scored the game-winner with just four seconds left. A crazy hop off a clear-in gave the rookie a chance to one-time the puck past London's Trevor Cann, lifting Kingston to just its 10th win all season.

'PIQUES PREVAIL

At Quebec City, Paul Byron and Alexandre Touchette scored exactly 60 seconds apart early in the third period, helping the Gatineau Olympiques beat the host Remparts 7-4.

Alexandre Quesnel got a big insurance goal with 7:14 to play for Gatineau (29-20-2-2).


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