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Ottawa 67's 2-Game Road Trip vs. BAR/OS

by Alex Quevillon
Shane Prince has surely made his point. He called out Hockey USA, he’s shown them up, and now he’s flat out making it difficult for me and all 67’s writers to write anything original about him. He had a big goal on Friday, the only goal on Saturday and the game-winner on Sunday. Prince’s hot streak puts him fifth in the OHL in scoring with 63 points, one ahead of teammate Sean Monahan. Tyler Toffoli rounds out Ottawa’s big three in scoring with a league-leading 76 points.

Saturday, January 28th @Barrie

The Barrie Colts may be trailing the top three teams in the OHL Eastern Conference by a fair marigin, but this weekend proved that they are for real. Playing three divisional rivals in three days, they finished off their 2-and-1 weekend with a 2-1 win over the 67's on Saturday night.

Through the first two periods, the game lacked any sort of up-tempo pace. Sean Callaghan, standing up for fellow rookie defenceman Mike Vlajkov after he received a hit from behind, pounded Barrie's Norm Ezekiel. Taylor Fielding and Anthony Camara dropped the gloves but the rest of the period was rather uneventful with both goaltenders making 10 saves a piece. Ottawa outshot Barrie 8-6 in the second period, but the game still remained scoreless.

Shane Prince opened the scoring less than two minutes into the second period, taking a breakaway pass from Michael Cajkovsky and deking out Barrie's rookie netminder Mathias Neiderberger. Neiderberger would stand tall the rest of the night, though, finishing with 30 saves and giving his team a chance to come back.

Barrie Captain Colin Behenna made no mistake on a breakaway of his own, a shorthanded marker just after the six-minute mark to even the game up. Alex Lepowski added another goal, on a strange bounce that beat Michael Nishi, who made 24 stops in the losing effort.

The Colts (26-19-2-1) helped Ottawa out the night before, defeating the second-place Brampton Battalion, allowing Ottawa to increase their lead atop the Eastern Conference.

Sunday, January 29th @Owen Sound

Ottawa looked to take advantage of an already shorthanded Attack squad who were without Daniel Catenacci and Kyle Hope who were suspended earlier in the weekend. The Attack also lost Jay Gilbert after colliding awkwardly with Cody Ceci. Ottawa wasn't immune to the injury bug either, Ceci left during the second period with an undisclosed injury. The injuries were too much for the Attack to handle, and the 67's handed Owen Sound a 3-1 loss, their fifth in a row (three of them were by one goal).

Tyler Toffoli found himself playing the point on the powerplay for Ottawa today, and added to his league lead in points by finishing off a 4-on-1 rush with Brendan Childerley and Mike Halmo in the box for Owen Sound. Halmo, eighth in the OHL in scoring, made up for being in the box for a goal against, scoring his 31st of the year (assisted by Childerley) to tie the game at 1.

Petr Mrazek, back in goal after having Saturday off, took over the game in the second period, making 26 saves over the first fourty minutes and keeping the game tied while his team was being heavily outshot by the home side.

Prince, once again, took over the game. Taking a pass from Mike Cazzola, Prince found himself on another breakaway, once again burying it with five and a half minutes to go. Michael Cajkovsky added an empty netter, ensuring that Owen Sound would not come back (or lose by one goal for the fourth straight game).

Mrazek stood tall, stopping 38 pucks and helping Ottawa kill off all six Owen Sound powerplays, while his counterpart, Jordan Binnington, had made 31 saves for the Attack who fall to 22-21-2-4.

Standings Watch

Despite having their six-game win streak snapped by the Colts, Ottawa (31-12-4-1) still lead their division and conference. The Niagara Ice Dogs seem to be the biggest threat in the conference, sitting four points behind the 67's. Brampton is also four points behind, but Ottawa holds a game in hand on them.

Barrie sits in fourth place, but being 12 points back of first, don't look like too much of a threat to the 67's. Peterborough, second in Ottawa's division, is 17 back. This should surely strike up the discussion about which divisions and conferences are more difficult, not in in the Barberpoles' favour.

With exactly 20 games left, Ottawa has exactly 20 points on the 9th place Oshawa Generals. That close to clinching a playoff spot. The 67's now head home to Ottawa where they will face the Generals and Kingston Frontenacs on Friday and Saturday.

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