January 16, 2015

Konecny One-Ups Ex-Linemate Bradford In 4-2 Ottawa Win

Friday’s game started with a friendly chat at center ice between ex-teammates Erik Bradford and Travis Konecny during pre-game warmups and ended with a coast-to-coast game-winner by Konecny.

Two shifts after going awkwardly into the boards and leaving the ice slowly, Konecny beat Jack Flinn with a wrister from outside the hashmarks to give the 67’s what was then a 3-2 lead.

“Tonight we were just terrible,” said Bradford about an Owen Sound team that didn’t look to have the freshest of legs coming off a road win in Peterborough the night before. 

“We got outworked and we’re one of those teams that wants to work hard all the time.  Ottawa’s a great team that’s great in this building, and we just weren’t good enough tonight.”

Brendan Bell scores the insurance marker 23 seconds after the go-ahead tally, and Nathan Todd, with a goal already on the night, sealed it with two shot blocks late in the third.

Despite fighting the puck early in the third, Liam Herbst did what he’s done best all year, pitching a perfect final 20 minutes.

“I felt great, a bit rusty in the second period,” said Herbst, his first game back from a long-term injury suffered in Belleville.  “But I didn’t have to do a lot in the third, we locked it down.

The 67’s finish the weekend with a home-and-home against Peterborough.

Bradford’s New Team, New Role

Moving twice in a span of a year is tough on any young athlete, but Erik Bradford’s most recent move was the easiest.

“Leaving Barrie was tougher, I spent years there,” said Bradford, who started his career as a checking line forward with the Colts. 

“They were trying to get younger in Ottawa and everything, for them it made sense to trade me here.”

Bradford appeared twice on his off-wing on Owen Sound’s powerplay, coming off the sideboards on their high-umbrella setup with the man advantage.

“I’m still getting used to all the systems and everything, I might not be getting a lot of special teams time but that’s part of the learning.”

As good as Bradford was on Ottawa’s top line, a second and a third for an overager was a deal that a young 67’s team couldn’t say no to, but it doesn’t mean his presence wasn’t felt.

“I like Brads a lot,” added Jeff Brown.  “He’s a smart hockey sense guy.  We miss him a lot, he killed 5-on-3’s for us.  On faceoffs and powerplays, he was a real good all-around player for us.”

They may be sixth in the West, but with a star in Zach Nastasiuk, a strong overager in Bradford and a big, mobile defence, it’s not out of the question that they could upset London or Guelph in the first round.

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