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OHL: Bulls top team in Eastern Conference again

The Canadian Press

3/15/2009 1:02:37 AM

The Belleville Bulls are the top team in the Ontario Hockey League's Eastern Conference once again.

Nick Palmieri had a goal and an assist as the Bulls captured their second consecutive regular season conference championship with a 3-2 win over the Barrie Colts on Saturday night.

The win gives Belleville 98 points, four more than the Brampton Battalion, who have one game remaining.

Last season, the Bulls earned 102 points in the regular season en route to a berth in the OHL final, where they lost to the Kitchener Rangers in seven games.

Belleville went on to play in the Memorial Cup, held in Kitchener. The Bulls posted a 2-0-1 record in round-robin play before losing 9-0 to the Rangers in the semifinal.

Elsewhere in the OHL, it was: London 6, Sault Ste. Marie 1; Sudbury 3, Niagara 2; Erie 4, Kitchener 1; Owen Sound 3, Windsor 2; and Sarnia 3, Saginaw 2 (OT).

At Barrie, Ont., P.K. Subban and Cory Tanaka also scored for the Bulls (47-17-2-2), who finished their season with five straight wins.

Michael Sgarbossa and Ryan O'Connor found the net for the Colts (30-33-3-2), who finished fifth in the conference and will face the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors in the first round of the playoffs.

Mike Murphy made 35 saves for Belleville, while Barrie netminder Michael Hutchinson stopped 24 shots.

Knights 6, Greyhounds 1

At Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Michael Del Zotto scored twice as London defeated the Greyhounds to close out its season on a winning note.

John Tavares, who broke the record for career OHL goals last Sunday, did not play in London's final game of the season, opting to focus on the Knights' first-round playoff match-up against the Erie Otters. London also rested goalie Trevor Cann, who shut out the Saginaw Spirit on Friday.

Jared Knight had a goal and two assists for the Knights (49-16-1-2), while Leigh Salters, Zac Rinaldo and Jason Wilson also scored. Kyle DeCoste had the lone marker for Sault Ste. Marie (19-45-2-2).

Wolves 3, IceDogs 2

At St. Catharines, Ont., John McFarland's power-play goal early in the third period helped Sudbury climb back into a playoff spot with a win over the IceDogs.

Matt Dias, who set up McFarland's winner, also scored on a power play less than a minute into the third as the Wolves (26-35-2-4) overtook the Oshawa Generals for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference. Jared Staal added a goal and Akim Aliu had a pair of assists in the win.

Reggie Traccitto and Freddie Hamilton replied for Niagara (26-31-5-6), which will face the Ottawa 67's in the first round of the playoffs.

Otters 4, Rangers 1

At Erie, Pa., the Otters erased an early deficit with four unanswered goals to defeat Kitchener.

Brandon Biggers, Michael Cazzola, Josh Sidwell and Justin Hodgman scored for the Otters (33-29-3-2), who will finish seventh in the Western Conference and face the London Knights in the first round of the playoffs.

Mickey Sartoretto's first-period goal was the only offence for Kitchener (26-37-3-2).

Attack 3, Spitfires 2

At Owen Sound, Ont., despite firing 54 shots at Scott Stajcer, Windsor couldn't recover from an early 3-1 deficit against the Attack.

The Spitfires, who limped across the regular season finish line with two straight losses after locking up first place overall, were resting a number of star players, including puck-moving defenceman Ryan Ellis, sniper Taylor Hall and netminder Andrew Engelage.

Marcus Carroll and Garrett Zemlak each had a goal and an assist for Owen Sound (26-27-7-8). Grant McGee also scored. James Woodcroft and Rob Kwiet replied for Windsor (57-10-0-1).

Sting 3, Spirit 2 (OT)

At Saginaw, Mich., Mark Katic's goal 13 seconds into overtime gave Sarnia a come from behind win over the Spirit.

Katic had a goal and an assist and Justin DiBenedetto had a pair of assist to lead the way for the Sting (35-25-4-3), who also got goals from Jamie Arniel and Brent Sullivan.

Saginaw (36-24-4-4) let a two-goal lead slip away with Tyler Murovich scoring in the first and Mitch Fillman in the second.