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Canadian Press
Oct 29, 2006, 5:42 PM EST


OTTAWA (CP) - Brian Kilrea's latest win not only helped the legendary junior hockey coach reach another milestone, it also gave him a sense of relief.

Kilrea, the all-time winningest coach in Canadian junior hockey history, recorded his 1,100th career victory with a 4-1 triumph over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in Ontario Hockey League action Sunday.

"It took a couple of games to get it, but any win is special, only because we're in such a dogfight to survive," he said after the struggling 67's (6-8-0-0) halted their two-game losing streak.

"But today felt good because it was a big team effort. Everyone played as hard as they could."

Shea Kewin scored two goals, including an empty-netter, Arron Alphonso had a goal and two assists and Joe Grimaldi added the other goal for the 67's.

After getting Kilrea win No. 1,099 a week earlier, Ottawa dropped its next two games to the Belleville Bulls.

Brady Morrison made 21 saves, allowing a late goal to the Greyhounds' Jacob Muzzin.

Matt Hache finished with 23 stops for the Greyhounds (7-7-0-2).

The 72-year-old Kilrea is in his 30th season behind the 67's bench. He left for two seasons (1984-85 and 1985-86) to be an assistant to Al Arbour with the NHL's New York Islanders.

In 1994-95, Kilrea gave up Ottawa's reins to former 67's star Peter Lee while he served solely as GM.

His first victory came Sept. 27, 1974, with a 9-5 win over the Toronto Marlboros, when the OHL was still known under the banner of the Ontario Hockey Association - a game Kilrea still remembers.

"I do, as a matter of fact," he said. "That was my introduction to junior hockey. It looked like it was a wide-open game and it was like the rules of (hockey) today, everybody was flying and no hitting, although today there was a lot of hitting."

On Jan. 17, 1997, he won his 742nd game - a 6-0 drubbing of the North Bay Centennials - to pass Ken Hodge of the Western Hockey League's Portland Winter Hawks to become the all-time leader.

Kilrea then became the first junior coach to hit the 1,000-win mark with a 4-2 triumph over the Sudbury Wolves on March 9, 2003.

In November of that year, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builder Category.

In wins, Kilrea is rivalled only among the professional ranks, where Scotty Bowman racked up 1,244 NHL wins and John Brophy, who at 73 took charge of the new Richmond Renegades franchise in the Southern Professional Hockey League, started this season with 1,034.

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