March 20, 2015

One step closer to home-ice advantage as 67's sink Petes 6-2

It’s warming up outside and the playoffs are just around the corner. While the Ottawa 67’s have secured their first playoff spot in three years, they now look to clinch home ice advantage.
Photo credit: Robert Lefebvre / www.icelevel.com
Brendan Bell helped the 67’s get there by scoring a pair of goals en route to a 67’s 6-2 victory over the visiting Peterborough Petes. But the 67’s will need to win their final regular season game on Sunday to determine their own fate.
With North Bay winning 6-3 over Mississauga tonight, it has been confirmed that the 67’s will face the Niagara Ice Dogs in the opening round of the 2015 OHL Playoffs. Jeff Brown realizes the importance of home ice.
“Home ice is huge. Niagara is really really tough at home and tough on the road. They’re one of the hottest teams in the league in the last three months,” said Brown about Niagara who have won 24 of their last 31 games since the New Year. “It’s going to be a tough series, so home ice we could certainly use it.”

Photo credit: Robert Lefebvre / www.icelevel.com
The 67’s jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. Sam Studnicka opened the scoring capitalizing on a Josh MacDonald giveaway in the neutral zone. Brendan Bell would add his first of the game midway through the frame.
They continued to press into the second period exploding with 3 goals including a penalty shot from Brendan Bell who sent a puck through the five-hole of rookie Dylan Wells in the Peterborough net. Curtis Meighan and Jeremiah Addison score the other two goals as the 67’s lead the Petes 5-0 and outshot them 18-8 after the first 40 minutes.
Photo credit: Robert Lefebvre / www.icelevel.com
Connor Graham made it 6-0 early in the third. It looked like Liam Herbst was going to earn his third shutout of the season, but the Petes came out harder in the third. Michael Clarke got the Petes on the board with just over 5 minutes remaining in the third. With 9pts in 7 games against the 67’s, Clarke continued his point streak against the 67’s and assisted on Greg Betzold’s goal just over a minute later.
“We’ve got to be in that playoff mentality,” said 67’s rookie forward Trent Mallette about his team’s play in the final 5 minutes. “We’ve got to play the full 60 minutes of the game, if not, things can happen and it’s not going to be good.”

The 67’s were able to hang on for the victory.
“We played very well. I had to make, basically, one (big) save for the first 50 minutes and then I let in two bad goals,” said Liam Herbst who missed last game with the flu. “But it happens, we battled hard. We were up 6-0 so they’re basically meaningless goals but I don’t want to give up any.”

For those scoreboard-watching for home ice advantage, the Niagara Ice Dogs play host to Mississauga Saturday and Erie on Sunday. The 67’s now turn their focus to Sunday afternoon for their final game of the regular season. They host the struggling Sudbury Wolves at 2pm.

Game summary here.

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