Reprieve for Kilrea, Kiriakou

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

Thomas Kiriakou wasn't ready to go home.

The 67's overage forward apparently wasn't ready to see the Hall of Fame coaching career of Brian Kilrea end just yet, either.

Now they will both get to play and coach again tonight in Game 7 of their opening-round OHL playoff series against the Niagara IceDogs as Kiriakou broke open a scoreless game with two second-period goals in Ottawa's 4-0 win to force a deciding game (Civic Centre, 7 p.m.)

"There was no way we were going home (last night), especially me. I told the guys I'm not done playing," said Kiriakou, who has seen his season ended before April 1 the last three springs.

STOPS PENALTY SHOT

Kiriakou scored his fifth and sixth goals of the series after 67's goaltender Adam Courchaine stopped a penalty shot by Niagara's Andrew Agozzino with the game scoreless just short of the seven-minute mark of the second period. Agozzino was awarded the free try on a questionable call since it wasn't clear he was in free as he drove for the net and was chopped down by a diving Thomas Nesbitt. The 67's winger suffered a suspected fractured ankle on the play and could be done for the year.

Agozzino tried to fire the puck between Courchaine's pads.

"If they get one there, they're the first team that has a chance to get two," said Kilrea, who will retire as coach when the 67's playoff run is done, whenever that maybe. "He made a big save and sometimes that's the difference in the game. That was a big save."

Corey Cowick scored two in the third period to put the game away.

Kiriakou took over in the second with his goals, both on setups by 16-year-old Tyler Toffoli and bringing the crowd of 5,415 to life.

The first came after a strong shift by Stephen Blunden, Ryan Martindale and Jon Carnavale, who controlled the puck and played the body in the Niagara zone, hammering IceDogs star defenceman Alex Pietrangelo at every turn.

Pietrangelo's frustration grew through the game, culminating with his hit from behind on Cowick after Cowick's second goal. Pietrangelo received a double minor for checking from behind, but didn't seem interested in dropping his gloves (again).

IceDogs coach Mario Cicchillo wouldn't allow Pietrangelo to talk to Sun Media after the game.

"No one really expected us to get to Game 7. We've got a lot of confidence," said Niagara's Patrick Lee. "We've done well. Now we just have to win one more."

On his first goal, Kiriakou was alone in front to swat home a rebound of Toffoli shot at 13:15.

The two combined again less than two minutes later for a pretty one. Ottawa defenceman Julien Demers caught the IceDogs on a line change with a snappy pass up to Toffoli at centre ice. He fed it to Kiriakou, who made a nice deke, dropping his shoulder, turning Niagara's Mathew Sisca around and then firing a shot over the glove of goaltender Jeremy Smith's glove hand at 15:01.

The IceDogs had had the advantage in net through the series, but Courchaine stepped up last night, turning away 32 shots. No save was bigger than the one on the penalty shot.

"That's what we need from Adam Courchaine," said Kiriakou. "Now we want to make sure everybody shows up tonight. You can't take a shift off."

"I think we have all the momentum," said Courchaine. "We've got to keep going for Killer and the boys."

CHRIS.STEVENSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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