Playoff positioning at stake on final 67’s road trip of season
With the playoffs fast approaching, the Ottawa 67’s are down to their final six games of the OHL’s regular season.
The Barber Poles will kick off their last half-dozen games Thursday night in Peterborough as the 67’s look to solidify their hold on sixth spot in the Eastern Conference.
In addition to the stop to take on the Petes, this final road swing of the regular season will also see the 67’s visit the Oshawa Generals and Hamilton Bulldogs before closing out the schedule with three-straight home games at the Arena at TD Place.
The 67’s head into Thursday’s game a point up on Sudbury and two up on Niagara for sixth in the East. Ottawa continues to be led by Russian forward Artur Tyanulin, who has seven points in his last five games. Head Coach and General Manager Jeff Brown said following last weekend’s games that Leo Lazarev would start in goal to kick off this week’s action.
Here’s a look at what the 67’s are in for over the next few days.
Thursday at Peterborough
The 67’s kick off the road swing against the East-leading Petes, a team against which the Barber Poles have had mixed results this season. After winning their first two clashes with the Petes earlier in the year, the 67’s have dropped the last four decisions against Peterborough.
The Petes are also coming in to Thursday’s game riding a four-game winning streak and are 8-2 in their last 10, meaning the 67’s will have to be particularly sharp. The Petes are particularly dangerous because of their balanced attack. In fact, despite leading the conference, the Petes don’t have a single player in the top 20 in OHL scoring. Their top scorer, Nikita Korostelev, sits 25th in the league with 28 goals and 61 points this year. But the Petes also have six players with at least 40 points on the season and have received solid goaltending from Dylan Wells, who has posted a 31-13-2 record to go along with a .919 save percentage and a 2.99 goals-against average.
Friday at Oshawa
The 67’s will hit the road immediately after Thursday’s game to visit the Generals on Friday night. Sitting six points behind Peterborough in third spot in the East, the game will be another important test for a 67’s team that is looking to fine tune their game and improve their consistency heading down the stretch. Unlike the Petes, the 67’s have gotten the better of the Generals so far this year with a record of 3-2-1, with Ottawa winning the last game between the two teams 3-1 at TD Place on February 24. The Generals are led by centre Domenic Commisso and his 18 goals and 41 assists, followed by Eric Henderson (52 points) and Medric Mercier (47 point). While Jeremy Brodeur has played 46 games for Oshawa this year, the Generals could opt for backup Kyle Keyser in this one.
Sunday at Hamilton
Ottawa’s final road game of the year is against the Hamilton Bulldogs, a team the 67’s have mostly had their way with in 2016-17. Despite one blip on the radar – a 4-3 loss in Hamilton on February 18) – the 67’s have won three of four meetings against the Bulldogs this season. Sitting fourth in the East, Sunday will be the third game in a row for the 67’s against a team above them in the standings. The Bulldogs are led by Matthew Strome and his 57 points in 60 games, while Ottawa native Will Bitten is close behind with 20 goals and 52 points in 59 games. Expect to see former Kitchener Ranger goalie Dawson Carty in goal for Hamilton on Sunday. Carty has gone 11-6-0 in 21 appearances since arriving from Kitchener.
The 67’s kick off their final homestand of the season on March 15 when they host Peterborough for a special March Break matinee at 3 p.m. There will be a selection of activities and surprises through the final three home games of the season, including the St. Patrick’s Day game and wiener dog race on March 18 and the Fan Appreciation Game on March 19.
Tickets for our Fan Appreciation Game are available by clicking here, calling 613-232-6767 x1, or in person at the Box Office at TD Place.