By: Barre Campbell – Ottawa67s.com
Photo: Valerie Wutti – Blitzen Photography
OTTAWA — The Ottawa 67’s won for the seventh consecutive time on Saturdayafternoon, wowing the TD Place crowd with a 7-3 victory over the Mississauga Steelheads.
The win virtually assured the 67’s of a playoff spot for the first time since the 2011-12 season. Ottawa requires one more win, or an overtime loss, or a shootout loss over the final 12 games of the season to clinch.
Even if the 67’s managed to lose 12 straight over the balance of the schedule, they still would qualify if Mississauga, currently the ninth seed, loses any of its remaining games, even in overtime or a shootout.
Nathan Todd and Dante Salituro each scored twice for the 67’s during a contest that was a no-doubter after Ottawa established a 5-1 advantage heading into the opening intermission.
Liam Herbst, who has started in all of Ottawa’s wins during the current streak, made 20 saves and earned his 20th victory of the season.
Now the 67’s are focussed on finishing as high in the conference standings as possible. The win on Saturday put Ottawa two points ahead of North Bay for third place, and moved the 67’s to within three points of second-place Barrie, although the Colts play a home game on Saturday night against Niagara.
With just four home games remaining in the regular season, the 67’s now turn toward the road to extend the win streak.
They’re facing a huge challenge right away against the top-ranked Generals this afternoon in Oshawa. The 67’s will return home to practise at TD Place early next week before hopping back on the bus for a road trip to Windsor on Thursday, followed by two stops in Michigan against Saginaw on Friday and Plymouth on Saturday.
Ottawa returns to TD Place for the next home game on Friday, March 6 against Dale Hunter, Max Domi and the London Knights.