Ottawa 67’s Hope For Closing Weekend On Easy Note


As the Ottawa 67’s close out the weekend, the Niagara IceDogs didn’t just remove the silver lining from their jerseys this past season, they removed any sort of silver lining from the 67’s loss in North Bay on Thursday, leaving the door open for Ottawa to fall to fifth in the East.

As a lifeless Ottawa team fell in North Bay, essentially conceding third place, Niagara was coming from behind to beat Barrie in overtime. If the OHL allowed betting, odds would have it heavily favoured that the 67’s would still get home ice advantage, but anything is possible the way the 67’s are playing right now.

If the 67’s can’t beat Peterborough and Sudbury, they don’t deserve home ice in round one.

Playing with desperation

The difference between Ottawa and Peterborough is that the Petes have something to play for.  Having just clinched a playoff spot, they want to avoid drawing Oshawa in the first round. Ottawa, meanwhile, only needs three of four points or a Niagara loss to clinch home ice. In both desperation and lineups, Ottawa and Peterborough are completely different.

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Even if Travis Konecny were healthy, he’d probably be benched this weekend.  Liam Herbst might get one start, but it’s not likely.  On a defence depleted by injury to begin with, one of their top blueliners might sit out a game or two. In 2011, the 67’s were decimated by injury on the last weekend of the season, a series of injuries that ruined their season.  Ottawa has to play their last two games carefully.

No-show in North Bay

Being the last test against a contending team, Thursday’s matchup in North Bay didn’t set a positive precedent. The powerplay went 0-for-4, every spurt of momentum was taken away by a soft goal the other way, and aside from checking forward Trent Mallette, who banged home a couple of crease-crashing tallies, none of the 67’s had much of a jump.

Ottawa has to get things together, Niagara is a deep team with an experienced netminder who can frustrate a team.  Thursday’s effort is exactly what they should be avoiding.

*Photo courtesy of Valerie Wutti

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