October 04, 2014

67's Dominated By The East Early On

Immediately after being hired, Jeff Brown didn't believe this 67's team was far from being a contender in the East, asking the oft-used, rhetoric "why not us?" quote to define the team's place in its conference.

Early as it may be, they may have found three answers to that question; the Kingston Frontenacs, Oshawa Generals, and Barrie Colts.

It's not to say that they won't take a handful of points and wins away from any of their first three opponents, but those are three squads that every team in the East has to go through, and the 67's still have an 0-for to start the season.

The fourth potential reason, a Niagara Ice Dogs team that is expected to fill out the home ice advantage teams in the conference, awaits to try and spoil Ottawa's long-awaited return back to Lansdowne.

Ottawa 0, Oshawa 3

Before a late-season collapse in 2014, a first-round matchup between classic rivals Ottawa and Oshawa seemed imminent.  Of the many storylines that would have worked against the Barberpoles, Oshawa had two goaltenders in Dan Altshuller and Ken Appelby, either of which would have been the starter if they played for Ottawa last year.

With Ottawa native Altshuller finished in the OHL and done his domination of his hometown team, Appelby took over where the old starter left off, putting together a perfect game en route to a 3-0 Oshawa win.

Ottawa 3, Barrie 9

It's not every day a beautiful Travis Konecny goal, an early save-of-the-year candidate from Leo Lazarev and the first career goal for Travis Barron will all get overshadowed, unless the defence has a collapse such as Ottawa's did on Saturday.

The 67's didn't do themselves any favours, five penalties, two on dangerous hits from behind and three from needless stick infractions, put them on the penalty kill for four goals against.

Lazarev allowed a pair of weak goals, but went the distance, picking up 31 saves and his biggest baptism-by-fire in his young OHL career.

Puck movement from the back-end

Whether the 67's were ever willing to give up the same price for Victor Mete as the London Knights were is unknown, what is known is that Ottawa despeately needs that type of player on the back-end.

The Barberpoles' offensive creativity is fine in the attacking zone, but is a total disaster trying to move the puck out of their own end and trying to establish a transition game.

Nevin Guy played more sheltered minutes on Saturday, and wound up playing a solid game, after being on the ice for all three goals on Friday, while Jake Middleton still appears to be a half-step behind as he returns from his head injury.

It's possible this is still an early-season issue.  Brown admitted after the Gatineau game that they hadn't worked much on systems to that point, but it has to come together soon.

Troy Henley played his first game returning from suspension and didn't look out of place.  Taylor Davis re-joined the team after being put on waivers, but it's possible Ottawa still actively tries to move a body out of town.

Ottawa finishes their long road trip Sunday against Owen Sound, before their homecoming next Friday.

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