OTTAWA - Andrew Agozzino's overtime goal ended the Ottawa 67's season, and coach Brian Kilrea's storied career.
Agozzino scored 13 seconds into overtime to give the Niagara IceDogs a come-from-behind 4-3 win over the 67's Tuesday night to win their best-of-seven Ontario Hockey League opening-round series 4-3. His goal came as he took a centring pass from Freddie Hamilton and beat Adam Courchaine low stick side.
The 67's were eliminated after forcing Game 7 with a 4-0 win over Niagara Monday in Ottawa.
It was the final game behind Ottawa's bench for Kilrea, who retires with 1,193 wins, a Canadian junior hockey record. He will remain as the team's general manager.
"It's not so much the coaching as the fact that we lost the series," the Hall of Fame coach. "I wasn't thinking about anything else. I learned a long time ago that when you get beat with your best players on the ice you learn to accept it."
Kilrea took the time to congratulate his team on what he said was a season that produced much better results than he had imagined.
"If someone had said to me at the beginning of the year that we were going to win 40 games and take a team to seven games, I wouldn't have thought it. So it's not like this is a major disappointment," said Kilrea who has coached teams to three OHL titles and two Memorial Cup championships.
"I'm proud of them. We saw a lot of young kids improve this season and in tonight's lineup we had five 16-year olds who played well."
The 67's had a 3-1 lead heading into the third period, but Reggie Traccitto scored his second goal of the game to tie the score 3-3 at 12:17. Traccitto pounced on a loose puck in the crease after Andrew Shaw tucked the puck between Courchaine and the post.
The goal came on the IceDogs 18th shot of the period while the 67's had yet to register one up to that point.
Dylan MacEachern scored early in the third period to pull the IceDogs within a goal at 4-3. Jeremy Smith made 32 saves for the win.
Corey Cowick scored twice for the 67's while Jon Carnevale had one goal. Courchaine made 41 saves in the 67's goal.
"We had a great team this year and to go out this way just isn't right," said 67's captain Logan Couture.
"When you have a 3-1 lead in the third period of a Game 7 and lose like that, it rips your heart out."
There wasn't a dry eye and barely a whisper to be heard from the 67's following the game. Owner Jeff Hunt said it was the most emotional 67's locker-room he had ever seen.
Overager Thomas Kiriakou had to reject a few interviews as he was unable to compose himself.
"I can't take this jersey off," a tearful Cowick said after the game. "Everything I owe in my career I owe to Brian Kilrea and to have it end like this is horrible. I would give anything to drop that puck again for him."
Tied 1-1 entering the second period, Cowick scored twice on the power play to give the 67's a comfortable lead heading into the final frame.
Anthony Nigro fed Cowick with a great pass from behind the net to put the 67's up 2-1 9:17 into the second.
Smith made a great stop on Nigro later in the period and IceDogs captain Alex Pietrangelo took an interference penalty on the play. Just 46 seconds into that power play, Alex Friesen was penalized for delay of game when it was deemed he intentionally knocked the net off during a scramble.
On the ensuing five-on-three, Cowick scored his second of the night and fourth in two games as he flipped a backhand overtop of Smith.
Carnevale opened the scoring and gave the 67's a 1-0 lead at 16:50 of the opening period when he swung wide around IceDogs defenceman Drew Schiestel and put a quick chip shot into the top of the net.
A little less than three minutes later, Traccitto scored on the power play. After Courchaine made an initial stop, Traccitto was there for the rebound to tie the game 1-1.