67's squeak past Petes

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:41 AM ET

And now there's just one left.

The stage is set for Brian Kilrea's regular-season finale tomorrow at the Civic Centre, bringing the curtain down on his Hall of Fame coaching career -- or at least the regular-season part of it.

There's still the playoffs to go, with the 67's stuck in third place in the Eastern Conference and awaiting a first-round matchup with the Niagara IceDogs, who lost last night to ensure a sixth-place finish. The playoffs will start Friday at the Civic Centre.

After last night's 3-2 win over the Peterborough Petes at the Civic Centre, the 67's are in a position to deliver Kilrea his 12th 40-win season in 32 years behind the 67's bench tomorrow.

Last night's win, in front of a crowd of 7,211, pushed the 67's record to 39-21-5-2 while the Petes finished their regular season with a 28-37-1-2 record and will have to wait and see if they make the post-season. They are sitting in seventh place and both the Oshawa Generals and Sudbury Wolves could knock them out of their perch. Two of those three teams will make the playoffs.

The 67's fell behind 1-0 last night, but got three straight goals from Corey Cowick, Logan Couture and Jon Carnavale for a 3-1 lead and hung on for the win, surviving a power-play goal by Peterborough's Sergey Korostin in the third.

Couture's goal, his 36th of the season, saw him cover 190 feet of ice and do all the things coaches drill into their players. With defenceman Brian Birkhoff battling a Pete in the left-wing corner of the 67's zone, Couture skated in and poked the puck free.

He circled his own net and, finding some room up the middle, skated the puck up to the Peterborough blue line, where he saucered a backhand pass to Cowick on the left side. Couture spun off a hit at the line and headed for the net, where the rebound from Cowick's shot went off his leg and behind big Peterborough goaltender Jason Missiaen.

Couture's effort earned praise from his coach.

'OUR BEST PLAYER'

"He's clearly been our best player in the second half, by far," said Kilrea of his captain. "He's made everyone else better ... and I thought we got a great game in nets, too (from Chris Perugini). He held them to two goals and made some great saves to keep us in it."

Just under three minutes after Couture's goal, Jon Carnavale made it 3-1 for the 67's when he broke away off a blocked shot and picked the corner high over Missiaen's glove at 12:49.

The 67's didn't look like they were ready at the start of the game, running around their own zone and giving up a goal just 1:23 into the game. That came on a nice pass from the corner by Liam Heelis out into the slot to Justin Larson, who fired a wrister by Perugini.

The Petes had a chance to take a two-goal lead a couple of minutes later on a 3-on-1, but a shot went off the shaft of Perugini's stick. That was a key because three minutes later, 67's forward Corey Cowick scored his 34th off the season on a play that saw Couture tap the puck back in the slot, setting up Cowick for a low shot through Missiaen's pads.

CHRIS.STEVENSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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