The Ottawa 67’s are inching closer to a third consecutive playoff berth in the OHL’s Eastern Conference. The team only needs one point or help from the out of town scoreboard to clinch a post-season appearance, bottom line, the magic number is down to one. The 67’s face some stiff competition to close out the regular season at home this weekend. On Saturday they host the the Oshawa Generals and close out the regular season against the Hamilton Bulldogs on Sunday.
67’s clinch at least a one game tiebreaker with a 3-2 OT loss in Hamilton. 3 games left to earn a point to clinch a playoff spot.
— AJ Jakubec (@AJonSports) March 12, 2017
Last weekend, the 67’s had a tough final road trip, facing some Eastern Conference powerhouses in the Peterborough Petes, Oshawa Generals and Hamilton Bulldogs. It was crucial that the 67’s get points on that road trip to stay in the playoff picture. They did exactly that, earning four out of a possible six points with one win and two overtime losses. Speaking to the media after his team faced the Eastern Conference leading Petes, head coach and general manager Jeff Brown praised how well his team played on the road:
“In the other two games (vs. Petes and Bulldogs) we could have easily got the extra point in both of them and that is disappointing to know you could have had the playoffs wrapped up. The guys play more desperate on the road, here (at home), they want to get the fancy skates out and try and make some plays. If we brought our road game to home we would have a much better home record.” Brown told the media,
The 67’s will need to dig deep and improve on their 12-19-1 home record if they want to make the post-season and finish as high as possible in the standings.
The dynamic line of Tyanulin, Keating and Foget combine for the number 3 play on the OHL Plays of the Week with a beauty goal. https://t.co/AqcUhISp5P
— Kenny Walls (@LongBallsWalls) March 14, 2017
Earning as many points as possible in the remaining home games not only gives players confidence heading into the post-season, it also would help them finish sixth in the conference, the best position available. Kicking off their final regular season home-stand, the 67’s played an evenly matched game against the Eastern Conference leading Petes.
Speaking after Wednesday’s 2-0 loss against the Petes, Brown is noticing an improvement in his team’s performance:
“We didn’t have our best game, but we had a good third and we were right in it and a post away from tying that game up. I wasn’t entirely disappointed, it is the first place team in the conference, for us to be a goal away, we were that close, where we weren’t that close a month ago.” Brown said,
In his NHL Draft year, 67’s defencemen Noel Hoefenmayer is having a breakout season offensively with 39 points in 60 games, is focused on helping his team earn four points in the next two home games:
“If we worry about ourselves and win a couple games then we have no worries, that’s our focus. We need four points, that’s what were going for and we will be disappointed with anything less than that. We are going to be working hard this week in practice and we’ll be going for it.” Hoefenmayer told the media after Wednesday’s game against the Petes.
With the team getting great goaltending from Leo Lazarev, who posted a 0.961 save percentage on Wednesday against the Petes and much sounder defensive play there is plenty of optimism in the 67’s locker room for a strong regular season finish. A berth in the post-season is getting closer for the 67’s.