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67's Sweep Home-and-Home with Bulls, win 6-4

by Alex Quevillon

The Ottawa 67's overcame some tough news on Wednesday. After learning that trade deadline acquisition John McFarland would be shut down for the year, the Barberpoles headed into Belleville and took another two points from their divisional rival, topping the Bulls 6-4 on the big ice. Ottawa takes both games of the home-and-home series that started on Sunday, winning by a combined score of 15-4.

McFarland, who was acquired in January for 2011 first-round pick David Perklin and a fourth-round draft choice, was told on Tuesday that he requires shoulder surgery and will be shut down from physical contact for four to five months. There is still a chance that McFarland comes back as an overager next season, but many speculate that he is AHL-bound. Not to mention, the 67's have many players who could dress as OA's next season. Players such as Jake Cardwell and Dalton Smith, who, while we're talking about the injury bug, were also out of the lineup for this one (Cardwell tweaked his groin and Smith continues to sit with a hip injury).

The 67's started right where they left off on Sunday, taking a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals from Tyler Toffoli and Mike Cajkovsky, but the Bulls would quickly erase the advantage. In the second period, with Cajkovsky and Sean Callaghan in the box, Belleville took advantage of the first powerplay and 5-on-3 of the night. Dan Zharkov and Stephen Silas knotted the game up at twos.

Remy Giftopoulos re-gained the 67's lead, placing a wrister by Jordan Subban, but Ottawa would continue to run into penalty trouble. Cajkovsky was sent to the dressing room early, receiving 17 minutes in penalties and a game misconduct for an instigator in a scrap with Luke Judson. Cajkovsky left the game an assist shy of the Gordie Howe hattrick. With Brett Gustavsen serving a bench-minor, Belleville found themselves on another second period 5-on-3.

This time, the 67's would control the play. Sean Monahan stripped the puck off of Silas and went in all alone, scoring glove-side on Subban for his 30th of the year. As the penalties ended, Nicholas Foglia found himself on a breakaway of his own, following suit and scroing high glove side on Subban to open up a three-goal advantage. Despite outshooting the visitors 21-8 in the second period, Belleville found themselves down 5-2 heading into the third.

In the final frame, Austen Brassard cut the lead back to two before Steven Janes, coming off the bench, took a feed from Toffoli and buried his 13th of the year. Jordan Subban scored with just under 10 minutes to go but that's as close as the Bulls would get. In some late-game festivities, Daniel Broussard made Belleville's Adam Payerl answer the bell for a hit from behind on Captain Marc-Anthony Zanetti, dropping the gloves in the final two minutes. Belleville pulled their goaltender, but weren't able to muster a whole lot.

Subban made 19 saves for the Bulls (26-26-1-0) who outshot the 67's for the second game in a row but missed a glorious opportunity to move into the eighth and final playoff spot over the idle Mississauga Majors. Petr Mrazek was forced to make 39 stops for his 25th win of the season.

The 67's (34-14-5-1) were the beneficiary of Wednesday's upset in Pennsylvania. Erie Otters rookie goaltender Devin Williams made 61 stops for just his second career win, a 2-1 shocker over the Niagara Ice Dogs, which allowed Ottawa to move up into the top spot in the Eastern Conference once again. Ottawa heads home to take on the Peterborough Petes on Friday before taking on the Otters on Sunday. The 67's then head to Kingston for their now-annual Family Day game.

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