October 21, 2015

67’s struggle to find identity, lose 5-2 to Steelheads

The word ‘identity’ has come up a lot for the Ottawa 67’s early this season. It appeared that the team finally found their identity when they posted 6 wins in their last 7 games including 5 straight after starting the season 0-3. But after tonight, it looked like they were back to square one.

Courtesy of Robert Lefebvre (www.icelevel.com)

A third period breakdown and a pair of goals from Alex Nylander led the Mississauga Steelheads to a 5-2 victory over the 67’s in front of a sparse Ottawa home crowd of 1,373. 
“It's the same message as a month ago when I was standing here and we were 0-3. We had an identity last year and we found a team that every night we went into a game and we had a great chance to win,” a disappointed coach Jeff Brown explained. “Right now it's pond hockey out there. We're just not ready to compete with the top teams in the conference right now - we're just not good enough of a hockey team.”
Sophomore forward Travis Barron, who scored his first career hat trick last game, doesn’t believe that his team isn’t good enough, but acknowledges there is a lot to work on. 

“We've got all the tools in the room to be a winning team and be really good in this league until (we figure out our identity), it's going to be tough,” said Barron.
Alex Nylander opened the scoring early in the first period and rounded out the scoring late in the third period tonight. Combined with Michael McLeod, they tallied 5 points and were a force to be reckoned with.
“If you let (Nylander) and McLeod skate around, they're going to hurt you and they did tonight. They're the key to their team and we let them be that,” said coach Brown.
Jeremiah Addison tied the game at one midway through the first on the power play but Sean Day answered back a couple minutes later with a power play goal of his own regaining the one-goal lead. Drake Rymsha, the newest member of the team, got the 67’s back in it scoring his first goal as a 67 late in the first frame.

Courtesy of Robert Lefebvre (www.icelevel.com)

It was a good defensive effort by both teams in the second, but it was the third when it took a turn for the worst for the home team. The Steelheads scored three unanswered goals on route to a convincing 5-2 victory over the 67’s. 
“The turning point for me was the opening face-off. That's when it started bad. I didn't think we were very good at all, all night,” said coach Brown.
How do the 67’s get back on track?
“It just starts at square one. We got to go back and make sure we're doing everything right and bonding as a team and make sure were coming together and everyone's playing the roles,” said 67’s captain Travis Konecny. “When it's more about the team and winning then it is about yourself, then teams win.”
Courtesy of Robert Lefebvre (www.icelevel.com)
The 67’s have two more games to try to redeem themselves this weekend. They host the defending Memorial Cup Champion Oshawa Generals on Friday night and then the Peterborough Petes roll into town for a Sunday matinee.

Game summary here.

NOTES: The 67’s hit 5 posts tonight, Travis Konecny credited with 2 of them … The 67’s allowed their 4th shorthanded goal of the season. That’s more than any other OHL team … Travis Konecny is goalless in 10 games, but has 15 assists in his last 7 games … Travis Konecny and Dante Salituro were named to the Team OHL roster for the CHL Canada/Russia series in November.

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