March 23, 2017

Mississauga awaits; playoffs begin Friday

There was a time in the early 2000's where Ottawa-Toronto playoff hockey was just about guaranteed at both the junior and professional levels.

Now, that Toronto OHL franchise has gone through two name changes and a short-distance relocation since meeting the 67's three consecutive years in the post season, and the 2017 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal that begins Friday in Mississauga surely won't have the same vitriol of the old rivalry.

It also, admittedly on the part of Ottawa's bench boss, probably isn't the end of the stick that modern-day Ottawa wanted to end up on.

"Mississauga's beat us pretty bad a couple times.  It's not a favourable matchup," Jeff Brown says about the Steelheads, who bring a 2-0-2 regular season record against the Barberpoles into the series.

"It's the playoffs, lots can change.  But it won't matter, if we play like we played the last four periods, we'll be out pretty quick."

Brown was none too pleased with his squad taking the foot off the pedal in a blowout against Oshawa on Saturday, before blowing a third period lead and being heavily outshot by a Hamilton team that should have been playing with far less desperation.

"Those are four of the worst periods we've played all year."

Leo Lazarev could be the equalizer to those poor efforts as he was through 40 minutes on Sunday.  

But Mississauga's three-headed monster of Owen Tippett, Spencer Watson and Michael McLeod is tough to stare down.

The last time these two franchises met in the postseason, the then-Mississauga St. Mike's Majors won in seven, a game that Petr Mrazek probably wants to forget.

Should the 67's have any chance of doing damage in this Ottawa-Mississauga series, it'll probably be another flashy European netminder who plays a big role in it.

Game 1 goes Friday in Mississauga.  Read Kathryn's breakdown of the Steelheads-67's series (dated from before their playoff opponent was determined) here.

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