Cuma out, 67's fall to Fronts

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

The news was bad enough for the 67's with an 8-6 loss to the last-place Kingston Frontenacs yesterday.

Things get worse when it comes to star defenceman Tyler Cuma. He tried to come back from a knee injury Friday night against the Brampton Battalion in a 5-2 loss, but apparently aggravated the injury and missed Saturday's 3-2 OT win against the Oshawa Generals and yesterday's sloppy loss.

Now Cuma will travel to Minnesota this week to have the knee looked at by doctors for the Wild, which made Cuma a first-round pick (23rd overall) last summer.

"We don't know how long he's going to be out," said 67's coach and GM Brian Kilrea.

Cuma originally injured his knee during the world junior selection camp.

The 67's were also without strong rookie Tyler Toffoli, who strained his neck.

"We've had to rely on the same guys to do the job and they're tired," said Kilrea. "We had to overwork them and sometimes you don't do the right things with the puck."

The 67's entered the third period with a 4-3 lead, but the Frontenacs' Andris Dzerins, who turns 21 on Valentine's Day, blitzed Ottawa with a hat trick in the final frame -- he also added two assists on the day -- to rally the Fronts.

Dzerins helped set up George Lovatsis to tie the game at 2:09 of the third, only to see Ottawa's Thomas Nesbitt restore the 67's lead at 3:42 with his 18th of the season.

PIVOTAL 5-ON-3

The crazy period continued when the 67's found themselves down two men for 1:34 with Martin Paryzek off for holding and Travis Gibbons sent off for delay of game. The 5-on-3 would turn out to be the turning point.

Dzerins scored his first of the day and 12th of the season at 12:10, shovelling a rebound off a point shot to tie it 5-5.

His goal was typical of the Frontenacs getting to the net, hounding rebounds and making the life of 67's goalie Adam Courchaine miserable.

Kilrea pulled Courchaine after he lost the puck at his feet and Ethan Werek crashed the crease to give the Fronts a 6-5 lead. Dzerins was alone in front on the power play to make it 7-5 at 17:59, only to see Gibbons score his second of the game at 18:20 with goaltender Chris Perugini on the bench for the extra attacker.

Dzerins completed his hat trick into the empty net.

Ottawa captain Logan Couture had a goal and three assists. You would think that would be enough, especially against a last-place club.

"It's a tough loss for us. We didn't play well. Friday we didn't play our best game, we squeaked one out against Oshawa and we let it get away (yesterday)," said Couture. "Nobody in this room played their best hockey. (The Frontenacs) all work hard ... since Doug Gilmour went behind the bench.

"We can't win on talent alone. If we're going to be a good team and go far in the playoffs, we're going to have to rebound from this."


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