• By: OLM Staff

Ottawa 67’s Struggle on Special Teams, Lose Two Straight For the First Time Since September

Photo credit: Ottawa 67’s

The Ottawa 67’s head into the holiday break on a sour note. Ottawa lost two straight games this past weekend and were hampered by their performance on special teams. They played three games in three days.

‘’I think the guys battled really hard. I didn’t really like our first period, obviously special teams made a difference and we have to be better, but at five on five, I really like the way the guys worked,” said Tourigny after Saturday’s loss to Owen Sound.

Owen Sound handed Ottawa a rare regulation defeat, topping the 67’s 6-3.

The 67’s gave up three first period goals, including the opener to Kaleb Pearson. Pearson came in on a partial breakaway opportunity and rocketed a forehand top shelf.

Tye Felhaber returned the favour with a highlight-reel breakaway goal himself. Felhaber scored in all three games this weekend and in nine straight games overall. It was the ‘Teddy Bear Toss’ game, so dozens of stuffed bears were thrown on the ice following the 67’s first goal. The teddy bears will be donated to CHEO.

The Attack capitalized with three power play goals from there to build a convincing lead. It was a surprising performance on the man advantage, as Owen Sound had one of the least successful road power play units coming into the weekend.

There were 67’s goals later on from Noel Hoefenmayer and Mitchell Hoelscher but Owen Sound held on to win forcefully. Attack assistant captain Aidan Dudas finished with two goals and two assists. Hoelscher contributed three points (a goal and two assists), as did Austen Keating (three assists).

Cedrick Andree faced only 21 shots in the game, while winning Owen Sound goaltender Andrew MacLean notched 31 saves. Andree misplayed a puck behind the net midway through the third period and the ensuing turnover led directly to Owen Sound’s fifth goal.

Ottawa lost in large part because of their inability to get stops on the penalty kill. The following afternoon, their inability to convert on the power play sunk them.

Sunday’s matchup in Peterborough was a tough outing for rookie goaltender Will Cranley and the 67’s defense. Cranley started because of Michael DiPietro’s commitment to Team Canada for the upcoming World Junior Championship.

Ottawa gave up the game’s first four goals in their 6-2 loss to the Petes. Cranley faced only 21 shots and ended with a save percentage of 0.714.

After that nightmare start, the 67’s did storm back with three consecutive goals in less than 10 minutes of game time. Jack Quinn scored two of those goals and Felhaber the other, his 38th of the season.

With their lead cut to one, the Petes headed to the power play late in the second period. Adam Timleck delivered with a goal to reestablish the two-goal lead and help secure the Peterborough victory. For the Petes, Timleck finished with three points and Liam Kirk scored twice.

Ottawa had plenty of power play opportunities of their own, but failed to capitalize. They went 0/7 on the power play against the league’s second-best home penalty killing unit.

It will be back to the drawing board for the 67’s power play during the break. The weekend saw Ottawa go 0/18 on the man advantage.

They did however open the weekend with a strong outing at home. The 67’s shutout the last-place Flint Firebirds 3-0 at TD Place on Friday night.

Felhaber scored in the first period with a fantastic breakaway move to give the 67’s an early lead. Felhaber leads the OHL in ‘first goals’. Quinn Yule added to the lead late in the first period and Lucas Peric found the net in the second.

Two Ottawa goalies contributed to the team shutout. Andree stopped 14 shots, was replaced briefly by his backup Cranley for just over a minute (who faced 0 shots) and then returned to stop three more in the victory.

Cranley entered the game because of a brief issue with Andree’s equipment. Andree was named first star after the game and brought Cranley on the ice with him to recognize his short contribution to the shutout.

Because of his game on Saturday however, Andree dropped out of the top five in goals against average. For the first time in months, the 67’s are not the highest-scoring team in the OHL. They are now second to the Sarnia Sting.

The 67’s have the next 11 days off for a holiday break and will not return to action until Dec. 28th, when they will take on the Niagara IceDogs.