January 22, 2016

67's survive defensive breakdowns, elite d-man, win in a shootout

It may not have been pretty, but the 67's managed to squeak out two points and create some separation between themselves and an Oshawa Generals team clinging to a playoff spot.

Ottawa managed to pull out a 4-3 shootout win, giving themselves a 10-point buffer from eighth-place Oshawa.

"I'll gladly take it, it's two points for us, one for them," said Jeff Brown.  "But terrible, we were terrible, it's one of the worst games we've played in a while."

It didn't help that the Barberpoles were shorthanded most of the night, with Ben Fanjoy and Travis Barron leaving due to injury early.

Despite dominating possession early, defensive breakdowns off the rush repeatedly handed the Generals scoring chances.

"Everything we've done well, the teamwork, it just wasn't there tonight," added Brown.

Oshawa took three separate leads, all of them erased by bursts of Ottawa's offence.

Nathan Todd tied the game from a bad angle with less than two minutes to play and scored another in the shootout to help seal it.

Dante Salituro hit three posts on the night and scored in regulation before scoring the shootout finisher.


As the focus shifts to playoff hockey and trying to pull off an upset, there's no doubt line matching is on the coach's mind.

If line juggling and line matching wasn't difficult enough with only 10 forwards, the 67's had their hands full with one of the league's best blueliners in Mitch Vande Sompel.

After the injury to Barron, Vande Sompel played 21 even-strength shifts, 13 of them against Todd's line.

"That was obviously one of the keys to the game to be physical on him, he's a great talent, we didn't do a good enough job on him," said Brown.  "There were too many 3-on-2's or 4-on-2's generated by him."

It probably helped that on the tying goal, Oshawa's top defender had been on the ice for an extended shift due to an icing, and in overtime, he and Austen Keating took offsetting obstruction penalties.

Come playoff time, they might not be so lucky with their matchup game.

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