It was a tough night to be an Ottawa 67’s fan. They made the trip to Niagara to take on the IceDogs who are plum last in the Ontario Hockey League standings, but it was Niagara who looked like the much better team when they met. A 6-1 loss was how it ended for the 67’s and it was really difficult to find positive things to take away from this one. Not much happened in the rout, and forgetting it ever happened might just be the best option.
Chris Barlas and Luca Pinelli Return
Last weekend, the 67’s were without two of the best young players while they were representing Canada at the Capital City Challenge. To start the season, both players have been effective in very different roles for the team. Luca Pinelli has slotted nicely into a more offensive role, and although the goals haven’t been coming in bunches for him just yet, he has been good and has had his chances. Chris Barlas on the other hand has shown to be a more physical and gritty kind of player who can create offence, but it’s not always top of mind for him.
“First of all, I don’t like [Barlas] when he plays against us in Peterborough,” said Rob Wilson, Peterborough Petes’ head coach and head coach of Team Canada White, the team Barlas played for at the Capital City Challenge. “I told him that, but that’s why I like him. He plays with an edge, he battles on draws. He does things that a lot of guys don’t want to do. I think he’s going to be a very, very good player in the OHL. I really like him so far from what we have seen, and we’ve played him a lot and were going to play him a lot over the rest of the season.”
With the absurd number of injuries the 67’s have sustained this season, losing two more players was very tough for them to swallow. It resulted in a couple of players being called up, but with two of their young guns back, they had a little bit more of a full roster.
Disjointed 67’s Attack
At the beginning of the season, the 67’s had little issue finding ways to score. They got the puck into the offensive zone quickly, they moved the puck around nicely, and they took advantage of their chances. Injuries to key offensive players have certainly hampered their scoring ability, but in the past handful of weeks, there just hasn’t been that same spark.
In the past, Dave Cameron, the 67’s head coach, has spoken about players stepping up to fill the shoes of some of those players who are missing, but in last night’s game, that didn’t seem to happen. There was little sustained offensive pressure and it never really felt like they were much of a threat of beating IceDogs goaltender, Josh Rosenzweig.
There really wasn’t too much positive to take out of this game and it’s one of those games you need to just forget about as soon as possible. Oftentimes, even in blowout losses, there is something to take from it, but it’s hard to find in this one. Healthy or otherwise, the 67’s are better than the performance they turned in against one of the worst teams in the OHL this season.
Right Back to Work
If there’s one positive from this game, it’s that they get to go right back to work with another opportunity to face-off against the Mississauga Steelheads. The worrying thing if you are a 67’s fan about this game is how badly the Steelheads have had Ottawa’s number so far this season. You could argue they have been Ottawa’s toughest opponent to date, and if they can’t find a way to counter the size of the Steelheads’ blue line, it could very well result in a loss. Cameron, however, has spoken in the past about wanting to find a game plan that will allow them to find success against Mississauga, so it will be interesting to see if he has found that.
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Currently a journalism student at Algonquin College in Ottawa, I have always had a passion for the OHL and the Ottawa 67’s in particular. I have been attending games since I was young, and being involved with sports has always been a dream of mine. Sports writing fits perfectly into that. You can also find me talking and writing other sports (primarily Canadian football) on my website 13thmansports.ca!