67’s 5, Petes 1
OTTAWA —Due to suspension, injury, and now some kind of virus that has hit two of the rookies, it will be sometime in early November before the Ottawa 67’s can even think of dressing their full lineup for the first time in 2011-12.
It’s going to be something to see the 67’s at full strength.
In the interim, though, the 67’s are going to need some of their more unsung types to play more contributing roles. Six games in, at least, everyone is answering the call.
The 67’s couldn’t even dress a full complement of 18 skaters Friday night against the Peterborough Petes, going with just nine legitimate forwards, and they still handed the Petes their first loss in regulation time this season before a Civic Centre audience of 4,661.
Sure Tyler Toffoli got his two goals.
But the win over the Petes was more about the likes of the often overlooked like Brett Gustavsen, Nicholas Folgia, Taylor Fielding, who moved from defence to forward, and overage Ben Dubois.
Gustavsen, as wide as he is tall, is being asked to play on the first line with Toffoli and Seah Monahan in the absence of injured Shane Prince. All he did was open the game’s scoring 39 seconds in to surpass his goals total for all of last year with his third.
Just 1:47 later, Foglia had the eventual game-winner and Dubois counted an insurance goal in the third.
“It’s just hard work,” said Toffoli. “It’s obviously tough and it definitely sucks not having everybody. But the guys are working so hard to make up for it.”
With a roster numbering just 18 due to illness to rookies David Perklin and Mike Vlajkov, suspension to Dalton Smith, the injury to Prince, and just plain uncertainty about Ryan Martindale, the 67’s put a little more emphasis on a strong start.
Gustavsen and Foglia did just that.
From there, it was Toffoli from counting his third and fourth goals in four games since returning from LA Kings training camp and just enough Petr Mrazek in the 67’s goal.
“There isn’t one guy complaining about playing too much,” said head coach Chris Byrne. “It’s opportunity.”
The 67’s are back at home Sunday against Plymouth.