December 09, 2015

67's fall 4-3 to Fronts in regulation on eve of Team Canada camp

Travis Konecny likely played his last game as a member of the Ottawa 67’s this year. Tomorrow morning he will join 30 hopefuls at the Team Canada selection camp in Etobicoke, ON. There are no guarantees, but Konecny is looked to as one of the “for sure” players to make the U20 squad which means he would miss the remaining 67’s games in 2015 and a couple games to start 2016.

Should Konecny make the squad, he would be the first 67’s player to represent Team Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championship since Brendan Bell in the 2003 tournament breaking a 12-year drought.

“It's indescribable. It's an honour,” said the 67’s captain Travis Konecny. “It's one of those moments where I'm just going to try to sit back for a second and realize that (I have) the opportunity to make the team.”

Less than 24 hours before camp, Konecny’s Ottawa 67’s took on the division rival Kingston Frontenacs for crucial ground in the OHL Eastern Conference standings. Despite a well battled first 40 minutes and a great push in the final 5, the 67’s fell 4-3 to the Frontenacs in regulation. The Frontenacs are now 8 full points ahead of the 67’s for first place in the East.

“The game was there to be taken,” said 67’s coach Jeff Brown. “We talked about it after the second period and we went out and gave up 16 shots in the third period. That doesn't look like a team with much heartbeat which is a little disappointing at this stage, especially after our horrendous roadtrip.”

The game was tied through two periods of play with a goal from Embrum native Ryan Cranford for Kingston and Travis Konecny’s first goal in 5 games for Ottawa. Both goaltenders had to make some great saves to keep the game tied through 40 minutes.

The third period is where the wheels fell off for the 67’s. They allowed 16 shots on net and two go-ahead goals. The 67’s were without Jeremiah Addison in the final 20 minutes. It is believed that he suffered an upper body injury late in the second but coach Brown wouldn’t comment. Coach Brown felt that the loss of Addison really affected the team’s offensive depth.

“You got Todd out, (now) Addison out and all of a sudden we're just not that deep. We rely so much on the top 3–4 guys that when two of them are out of the lineup, well you saw what it did to us (in the third),” said Brown.

With the overage situation still looming and face-off specialist Drake Rymsha out with a long-term injury, Sam Studnicka has played the last 8 games. Suiting up for only 2 times in the last 7 games, it’s clear that Nathan Todd has been the odd man out. The overage deadline will be coming up fast and Jeff Brown will need to address the situation soon.

“There's been a lot of stuff going on. Nothings imminent but when the right deal happens, we're going to make it and not until then. But so far, that deal hasn't come along,“ said Brown.

The 67’s will be in tough with Stephan Falkovsky also missing a month of games to represent Belarus at the World Junior Championship. Falkovsky, the first round pick of the 67’s in the Import Draft, has come a long way and has been logging a lot of minutes in his rookie season. After three bad plays leading to goals, Nevin Guy was demoted to the third paring while Falkovsky was moved up top with Jacob Middleton.

The Frontenacs had a two-goal midway through the third period with goals from other Team Canada hopeful Spencer Watson and rookie Jason Robertson. With just over 5 minutes remaining in the game, the outcome was starting to look bleak for Ottawa until Trent Mallette scored his 8th of the season to get the 67’s within one.

Never afraid to pull his goalie early, Jeff Brown called Liam Herbst to the bench with just over two minutes remaining in the third for the extra attacker. Moments later, Conor McGlynn scored on the empty net. Jacob Middleton gave the 67’s more life notching his 4th just 17 seconds later.

But it was too little too late and the 67’s were unable to fully clawback to force overtime. The 67’s drop their 4th straight game and look to rebound Friday night when the Erie Otters come to town.  

Game summary here.

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