67's battered in second

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

In a battle of two of the OHL's hottest teams, the 67's suffered a second-period meltdown.

They never recovered.

Ottawa allowed the high- powered Brampton Battalion four goals in the middle frame of a 5-2 loss last night in front of 7,437 fans at the Civic Centre.

It was the 12th victory in a row for the Central Division-leading Battalion and put a damper on a good stretch for the 67's (29-17-3-2), who have grabbed 31 of their last possible 40 points.

"From start to finish, they outworked us and outplayed us," 67's coach Brian Kilrea said. "Certainly, they deserved to win. We couldn't contain them tonight."

Thomas Nesbitt had both 67's goals, giving him 17 on the season.

Scoring for Brampton were Jason Dale, Matt Kang, Stephon Thorne, Evgeny Grachev and Matt Duchene, a top-rated prospect the Senators may be in position to consider at the June entry draft.

World junior team hero Cody Hodgson had two assists to extend his point-scoring streak to 22 games.

"We didn't get much going offensively," said Kilrea.

"We didn't work hard enough."

The 67's will be short-staffed for today's 2 p.m. tilt in Oshawa.

Tyler Cuma is not making the trip. The defenceman returned to the lineup after a 19-game absence, but left after "tweaking" his injured knee.

Rookies Tyler Toffoli (head injury) and Dylan Anderson (shoulder) are also staying home. The 67's will have Toffoli checked out, hoping that it's not his second concussion of the season.

ILLNESS A CONCERN

Forward Ryan Martindale sat out with strep throat, which is often associated with mono. The 67's can only hope Martindale -- and the rest of the team -- dodges the virus.

Ottawa was decent shape after a scoreless first, despite Brampton holding a territorial advantage.

Starting second-period fireworks was a fight between Ottawa's Jon Carnevale and Battalion defenceman Kyle Pereira that was halted when Pereira's helmet fell off.

Dale and Nesbitt traded tip-in goals before the 67's started to unravel after a tripping call on defenceman Marc Zanetti.

On a power play, Kang caught Courchaine high in his crease when he picked up a rebound off the end boards and flipped it home.

A bad pinch at the Brampton blue line by 67's rookie defenceman Brian Birkhoff led to the 2-on-1 that put Ottawa behind by a pair.

A little more than five minutes later, Evgeny Grachev finished off an odd-man rush.

The 67's had a chance to go on a 5-on-3 power play late in the second, but Nigro came up swinging after being checked from behind by Brad Albert. His instigator penalty offset Albert's minor.

Adam Courchaine, who allowed four goals on 27 shots, was lifted after two periods. Chris Perugini kicked out 20-of-21 shots in the third.

"The reason I made the change is (Courchaine) was being left alone," Kilrea said. "There were 2-on-1s and 3-on-1s. It wasn't the goalie's fault ... I'm starting Perugini (today) and thought we'd give him some work."


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