Ottawa 67’s Vs. IceDogs, Next Road Game Wins It?


None of the first three games between the Ottawa 67’s and Niagara have had the “next goal wins” adage to them, but “next road win wins” could apply to the series. To say the road team has yet to show up in the other team’s barn would be an understatement.

In game three, Ottawa didn’t have the puck in Niagara’s zone without being held to the perimeter until the second period. When Jeff Brown said at the start of the series “we need to hold our serve at home,” he wasn’t joking.

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He also wasn’t joking when he talked about the matchup game and playing Alex Lintuniemi and Jake Middleton half the game, in fact in games one and three they played more than half the game where the two teams were at even strength.

The difference is that on the road, the gameplan doesn’t work as planned.  When Niagara has the last change and throws their lines into the blender, Ottawa’s bottom pairing defencemen were rendered helpless in a 6-2 game three loss.

Maybe it’s a lack of line-matching, maybe it’s just the way of the modern-day OHL.  Aside from North Bay’s game three win in Kingston, the home team has won every playoff game in the East. Ottawa easily took the first two games when line matching was much easier and Ottawa’s depth forwards took over.

Nevin Guy had five points, Travis Konecny directly set up three goals in a five-minute span in the second period, and Dante Salituro and Jeremiah Addison set each other up countless times, putting themselves both near the top in the still-early playoff scoring race.

“We’re just scoring”

Brown called out his team after game two, insisting as he has several times this year that they were “just scoring” and not winning games properly, and while scoring five goals on nine second-period shots certainly proves his point, where they’re shooting from does nothing for his argument.

Nearly every goal was from point-blank range, Niagara’s defence wasn’t moving their feet and their forwards did nothing to apply back pressure. Aside from the amenities of home ice, it was a drastically different IceDogs team that showed up on Monday night.

Where to go from here?

If the first three games are any indication, Ottawa could be in trouble, solely because Niagara has had more scoring opportunities in Ottawa than the other way around, but by the same token Ottawa still holds home ice advantage.

Game four is still yet to be played, and setting a tone early would go a long way towards putting this series to bed. Ottawa won games one and two 8-5 and 8-2 respectively.  Game four goes Wednesday night in St. Catharines.

Photo courtesy of Valerie Wutti

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