On paper, this was the worst weekend the 67’s have had all year long, but when you look deeper into it, it was one of the better ones despite losing two games. Last week, I talked about being concerned about a couple of things. This weekend, those things were corrected. Let’s get to the review!
Week 22 review
@Mississauga: The 67’s and Steelheads have played some tight games before this one, and this game was no different. The game started with the 67’s looking lethargic and slow, and as a direct result of that, the Steelheads would score the first goal of the game. Charlie Callaghan would get the trout on the board with just over six minutes left to play in the first period. Despite the 67’s coming out better for the second period, the Steelheads would score the first goal of the period. Keenan Washkurak scored his 16th of the season, and gave the Steelheads a 2-0 lead. The 67’s would respond, and they responded in a big way. Closing the period with two goals by Marco Rossi and Joe Garreffa, the 67’s tied the game and had all the momentum on their side heading into the third period. It was starting to look like the 67’s were taking over when they added two more goals scored by Mitch Hoelscher and Austen Keating. This would be short lived, however. The Steelheads would not go away without a fight. The next three goals of the game would all be scored by the blue team. Just 1:30 after the Steelheads scored the go ahead goal, Marco Rossi would tie the game up at five. With just three minutes to go, Noel Hoefenmayer would once again play hero and score the game winning goal. The 67’s win a wild one over the Steelheads by a score of 6-5, and with the win, my predictions record improves to 39-11.
Vs. Windsor: In this game, the Ottawa 67’s were by far the better team for most of the game, but that didn’t seem to matter. The 67’s would out-shoot the Spitfires 12-3 in the first period, but Windsor would score the only goal of the period after a lucky bounce found its way onto the stick of Egor Afanasyev, who deposited the puck behind Cedrick Andree for his 25th goal of the year. The next goal wouldn’t come until Windsor scored again midway through the second to take a 2-0 lead. It would take the 67’s until late in the third to respond, but they would score with just under two and a half minutes left in the game. As we know by now, the Ottawa 67’s have no quit. That was on display once more, and Jack Quinn would score the game tying goal with 8.4 seconds left.
The contest would go to overtime, but would find its way to a shootout. For the first time all year long, the 67’s would drop a game that goes beyond regulation. Ottawa deserved to win this game. Out shooting the Spitfires 36-23, Ottawa controlled the game but couldn’t break the seal on Kari Piiroinen, the Spits net minder. Sometimes the puck luck is on the other side, that was the case in this game. Don’t be concerned about the final score in this game. It could have easily been 6-2 for Ottawa had they gotten some bounces and Piiroinen not stood on his head the whole afternoon. I picked the 67’s to win, however, dropping my record to 39-12
Vs. London: Once again, the 67’s were the better team on the day, but it didn’t matter. The 67’s would score the first goal of the game just 56 seconds into the first period when Mitch Hoelscher tucked his 30th goal of the season into the net. London would respond about eight minutes later on a power play goal on a point shot by Connor McMichael. Despite firing the puck on goal 22 times, the 67’s would head to the intermission tied at one. Nobody would score in the second period, and we would head to the third tied at one. The Knights opened the third period with a bang, scoring the go ahead goal just 5:54 into the period. Once again, that no quit attitude was on display for the 67’s, and Marco Rossi would be hit with a point shot before the puck found the back of the net. Just like that, the game was tied at two. Fast forward now to the final two and a half minutes of the third, Ottawa possesses the puck in the neutral zone. An obvious penalty is missed and the Knights take over possession and quickly score. This same thing would happen once more with the Ottawa net empty. I’m not going to go hard on the officials in this review, but there will be an article dedicated to that coming soon. I’ve had just about enough of it. Ottawa drops the game, but my record improves to 40-12, putting me within two games of catching the 67’s with only 16 games left.
For the Family Day game, over 6,900 people were in attendance and the arena at TD Place was rocking. There was awesome fan support, and the game was awesome. Let’s keep that up Ottawa!
Overall, the 67’s had one bad period all weekend long. I’m not concerned about the team right now. On Tuesday afternoon, Kenny Walls reported that Graeme Clarke is days away and could be in the lineup for the 67’s on Tuesday’s school day game. That will add some offence to the team. Ottawa deserved a better fate in both of the games they lost, but also deserved to lose some games during their long win streaks this year. This was the hockey gods getting even. Ottawa had about ten almost goals in the games they lost, and had those found the back of the net, Ottawa would have been 3-0. Having a rough weekend now is better than having it in the playoffs.
Here is a look at the overall standings. Overall is more important now as the 67’s and Knights battle for first place in the league.
Week 23 preview
The Ottawa 67’s are in for a rough stretch of games this weekend. There will be four games in six days for the club, including the second school day game of the season on Tuesday February 25 at 10:30 a.m. Let’s get to the preview!
@North Bay: The 67’s will make their first trip to North Bay this year, but have already met twice. The 67’s have out-scored the Battalion 15-2 in their meeting so far this year, and Ottawa could have scored more goals had they not stopped playing offence. As I said a couple of weeks ago, the Battalion aren’t even close to the level of the 67’s, but this time around, it’s the Battalion who have the win streak going. The Battalion have won their last two games, beating the Barrie Colts, and the Mississauga Steelheads over the weekend. As for Ottawa, they are 2-2-0-1 in their last five games and looking to rebound after a rough weekend. Despite recent trends, this game will have much the same outcome as the one a couple of weeks back did. Ottawa is going to dominate this game and get some of that mojo back. Not to say that beating North Bay is any achievement, but getting back on that winning track will be a good thing for the 67’s. I have predicted Ottawa to score at least ten goals in both games against the Battalion, and I’m going to do the same again. Ottawa is going to ride into North Bay and score 10 goals, and win by a score of 10-3. North Bay is in tough again with a 67’s team coming off a loss.
@Sault Ste. Marie: For the second time in February, the 67’s will take on the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhound, but this time in Sault Ste. Marie. The Greyhounds aren’t all that good, and Ottawa handled them without much of a problem last time. Ottawa will be looking for a good bounce back weekend after what happened last weekend, and meeting this many sub .500 teams is good for that. The Soo have been struggling lately as well, and they 67’s are more likely to come back better as far as I’m concerned. Despite the almost five hour drive, the 67’s should be the better team in this game. It won’t be easy to shake those bus legs and get off to a hot start, but the 67’s should be able to out-last the Greyhounds and escape Sault Ste. Marie with a 6-3 win.
@Sudbury: The 67’s haven’t met with the Wolves since the 21st of November at the first school day game of the year for the 67’s. Ottawa won that game 6-3 after four goals in the third period. The Wolves are now barely above .500, but their division is the worst in the OHL this year. The Wolves are just four points above the Colts for the number one spot in the Central division, and have played two more games than the Colts. This information is relevant because the Wolves are going to be desperate to maintain that number one spot, because if they lose it, they will drop to the number five spot in the East and lose home ice advantage. The Wolves don’t scare me, but what does is their desperation. Oh, and that guy named Quinton Byfield too, he’s a decent hockey player.
Ottawa is a better team, but the Wolves are already playing playoff hockey. For them, failure is not an option. I could go on and on about moves they should have made at the deadline, but I won’t. The reality for them is that they need to win games now, or play either Oshawa or Peterborough in the first round. Either one of those teams would be a death sentence for their season, and as a result, they would waste the OHL career of Byfield. Whether or not you agree with the format, the Wolves need that top spot in the Central. As far as this game goes, I fully expect the Wolves to throw everything they have at the 67’s and who ever they decide to start in the net. Ottawa will have had the day off before this game, but with almost nine hours on the bus built up the few days prior, I expect the 67’s to come out slow. I am going to take the Wolves to win this game based on their desperation and Ottawa’s fatigue. The margin won’t be huge, but the scoreline will be. Sudbury beats Ottawa 7-6.
Vs. Kingston: For the second time this year, the 67’s will host a school day game. I will reserve my opinions about having two school day games, but the 67’s will have to deal with it. It will once again be a crowd full of screaming children, and much like the last school day game, I expect the 67’s to give the kids plenty to scream about. The Kingston Frontenacs will cap off a week full of travel for the 67’s, who will travel roughly 1,500 km in the span of five or six days. The early start combined with the travel will cause the 67’s to start the game slowly, and possibly even get down by a couple of goals early, but I expect them to figure things out as the game progresses. The Frontenacs are also battling with the IceDogs for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East and should be able to get it if they continue to win sporadically. This game could be a preview of the first round for the 67’s, and they can’t allow the Fronts to start believing that they could beat Ottawa. As I have said numerous times, the Fronts are going to be a very good team down the road and should be able to win a Memorial Cup or two before Shane Wright goes to the NHL as the first overall pick, but for now, they are okay at best. They will compete in this game, but ultimately, the 67’s are much better and will come away with a 5-3 win to send the screaming kids home happy.
The 67’s will have a chance to get four wins this week and regain control of the league’s first spot. The Knights will have three tough games of their taking on Windsor and Guelph twice, so winning four games this week would be huge for the 67’s. Allowing the Knights to get any closer would be a huge mistake in the long run.
That’s all we have for this week! Be sure to follow me on Twitter @FrankieVideo for all things 67’s!