January 28, 2015

67’s lose 5-4 to the Gens in classic barnburner fashion

It was a big test for the home squad Ottawa 67’s as they hosted the top ranked team in the CHL, the Oshawa Generals. While the 67’s rode into the game with a 4-game winning streak, the Generals were on a streak of their own. They were 7-2-1 in their last 10 games including 5 straight wins.
Boasting 8 NHL draft picks and 3 ranked by NHL Central Scouting in the upcoming draft, the 67’s were in for some elite competition. Luckily, they got Travis Konecny back who returned for his first game since facing a 2-game suspension for a questionable slew-foot.

What kind of a game was it?

Ottawa led on the scoreboard 2-0 and on the shot clock 19-17 after the first 40 minutes. It was looking pretty good for the home team.

That was until the Gens stormed back. After not getting a shot until the 9 minute mark of the second period, the Gens responded firing 23 shots at Liam Herbst in the following period. A total of 6 goals were scored between the two teams in a span of 8:55 minutes to force overtime.
“It was unbelievable, it was up and down and the emotions on the bench, it was just crazy,” said 67’s coach Jeff Brown who hasn’t been involved in a game like that in a long time.
While it remained scoreless in the opening frame, it was a very active period on both sides. The 67’s and Gens matched each other’s strength and compete level. Both goaltenders had to be sharp to keep the offense to a minimum. Late in the period, Liam Herbst robbed Gens’ captain Josh Brown an oddman rush. Just moments later, Ken Appleby returned the favour on Sam Studnicka who was driving hard to the net.

The 67’s got a big opportunity to take the lead late in the first period as Josh Brown was told to sit 2 minutes after being caught with retaliatory roughing. However, Oshawa had the better chances and Herbst continued to stand on his head.

It was Liam Herbst’s first start since his perfect 21 of 21-save performance in the CHL Top Prospects Game.

The 67’s fed off their performance early in the second when Dante Salituro fed Travis Konecny in front of the net with a crisp pass. Konecny ripped the puck past Appleby with a quick one-timer to open the scoring.

The Gens started to get into some penalty trouble. Nathan Todd capitalized on the 67’s second powerplay opportunity receiving a cross-crease pass from Jeremiah Addison who’s line has found much chemistry in the second half of the season.

The 67’s held an impressive 2-0 lead going into the third period against the best team in the country.

Queue the mayhem.

The third period started with end to end action and continued until the end. The 67’s ran into penalty trouble on their own taking 5 straight penalties including a couple brief 5-on-3’s. While the 67’s killed off all 5 power play opportunities, they allowed the Gens to gain valuable momentum.

Son of former 67-legend, Andrew Cassels, Cole, finally solve Herbst and got the Gens on the board midway through the third period. He had a wide open net while defenders Alex Linutniemi and Jake Middleton were tied up at the side of the net. Flames’ prospect, Hunter Smith would tie the game just over 3 minutes later after Herbst got caught out of his net.

But it wasn’t over then. Just 23 seconds later, Nevin Guy sent a shot through traffic from the high slot. The puck deflected off Dante Salituro and went in past Appleby as the 67’s regained their lead.

That lead was short lived again. Under two minutes later, Bradley Latour tied the game again on a sharp angle shot. Then 34 seconds later, Brendan Bell knocked in a puck that was trickling along the goal line to regain the 67’s lead for the third time. Then, just over a minute later, Hunter Smith would bury his second of the game to tie the game late in the third period.

The energy continued to the final frame but the 67’s came up short. Canadiens’ prospect, Mike McCarron became the OT hero and giving the Oshawa Generals their first and only lead of the game – the only lead they needed to defeat the 67’s 5-4 in OT.
“It was wild. Unbelievable disappointment, but that’s the number one team in the country and we took them to overtime but couldn’t beat them. We’re going to build on this in a positive way, not a negative way,” said Brown. “This is a great building block for us knowing that we can compete against the best team.”
It’s a short turn-around time as the 67’s are right back at it Friday night.
“It’s a tough four-game, basically, extended weekend, so our schedule is tough coming down the stretch,” said Brown who’s team plays 4 games in just 6 days. “It’s good that we’ve had some wins but we’re just going to have to keep battling every game.”

They host Jakub Chychrun and the Sarnia Sting Friday night, head to Peterborough Saturday night and return to host Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters on Sunday afternoon.

Game summary here.

Three Stars as selected by TSN1200

Hardest working 67's:  Nathan Todd
Hardest working 67's: Nathan Todd  

Some pictures from the game: 

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Many scouts at the game including Hockey Canada's Ryan Jankowski, head scout of the men's Program of Excellence, seen here chatting with Chris Hamilton, Director of Hockey Operations for the Ottawa 67's.
Sam Studnicka driving to the net on a breakaway.

Some stuff was called; some wasn't. 

 Click here to see more pictures.

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