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Ottawa 67's 3-in-4 Review; Another Perfect Weekend

by Alex Quevillon

When Shane Prince was cut from Team USA at the Under-20 World Junior Hockey Championships, he was very vocal about it. But at the same time, he couldn't just talk the talk. In order to follow in the footsteps of past World Junior snubs from the 67's, such as Logan Couture or last year's Tyler Toffoli, he had to produce at a torrid pace and stick it to the American squad.

If this weekend didn't make an impression, nothing will. Lining up once againwith Ottawa's two newest faces, Mike Cazzola and John McFarland, Prince scored eight points in three games, moving into seventh in the OHL scoring race. The New York native topped it all off by potting a late winning goal against his former team, the Kitchener Rangers, on Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, January 19th @Peterborough

After a tough end to last Friday's game against the Petes (21-19-3-3), Ottawa had a great bounce-back game this Thursday. The strongest of the three games for this recently formed line, Prince, Cazzola and McFarland combined for 6 goals as the 67's blow out the Peterborough Petes 9-4. Michael Nishi made 30 saves to preserve the win while Mike Morrisson and Andrew D'Agostini combined for 22 stops.

The two teams traded goals in the first period, trading leads back and forth. Prince, Cazzola and McFarland all had a goal in the first, as well as Cody Ceci, as the 67's lead 4-3 at the break. Joey West, Derek Mathers and Andrew Yogan had answered for Peterborough. In the second, McFarland and Prince helped open up a 6-3 lead and Ottawa never looked back.

Cazzola's second marker of the game, to go along with goals from Dalton Smith and Nicholas Foglia, topped off a dominant third period. Stephen Pierog had the fourth Peterborough goal.

Friday, January 20th vs. Oshawa

Once again, the 67's flexed their offencive muscles, putting on another scoring clinic and winning once again via blowout, an 8-3 win over the Oshawa Generals. As was the case with the previous night's game, Ottawa chased the opposing goalie, Oshawa switched goaltenders three times on the night between Kevin Bailie and Daniel Altshuller.

Nicklas Jensen opened the scoring for the Generals (20-21-1-3), a shorthanded marker with just 30 seconds to go in an extremely physical first period. The frame saw Marc-Anthony Zanetti drop the gloves with Scott Sabourin early on. Sean Callaghan threw a booming hit on Boone Jenner, a hit heard around the rink. Josh Brown answered the bell by dropping the gloves with Callaghan.

It didn't take long for the 67's to chase Ottawa native Daniel Altshuller from the Oshawa net. Zanetti and John McFarland scored in the first 85 seconds of the period, giving Ottawa a 2-1 lead and bringing in Kevin Bailie. Perhaps it was an equipment issue, as Altshuller came back after Lucas Lessio tied the game at two, but the timing was suspect to say the least.

Cody Ceci, Steven Janes and Jake Cardwell scored in the late stages of the period to give Ottawa a 5-2 lead, and once again, Altshuller came out. Bailie started the third period and Ottawa continued their scoring parade. Tyler Toffoli, Dalton Smith and Janes rounded out the scoring while Sebastian Uvira answered for Oshawa.

The game was won and lost in the special teams department as the officials let the game get out of hand in the first two periods. After a rough showing on their first two powerplays, including the Jensen goal, Ottawa's powerplay scored on four of their final six attempts with the man advantage. Oshawa only had one powerplay marker on six attempts.

Sunday, January 22nd vs. Kitchener

Ottawa topped off the weekend by narrowly beating a tired Kitchener Rangers squad that had beat Kingston 9-1 and Belleville 5-4 in the two previous nights. Plenty of Rangers fans made the trip, most likely a three-game roadtrip, filling nearly an entire section behind their bench. Always great to see so many fans travel to other buildings.

Again, Ottawa gave up the opening goal. A great rush by Ryan Murphy was thwarted, but Murphy stayed with the play, taking a feed from Tobias Rieder and roofing it past Petr Mrazek.

Before the first period was up, however, Tyler Toffoli scored his league-leading 36th goal and Tyler Graovac, who has had a tough season dealing with a long illness and absence from the lineup, scored just his fifth of the season. Toffoli added to his league-leading total with his 74th point in the second period, setting up Sean Monahan for his 26th of the season. Monahan joins Prince and Toffoli in the top-seven in scoring, sitting in fifth with 61.

The Rangers stormed back, as Radek Faksa scored a powerplay goal while Andrew Crescenzi was in the net behind Mrazek, finishing the second-period scoring. In the third, Crescenzi had a powerplay marker of his own to tie it.

But it was Prince, who the Rangers sent to Ottawa for a 3rd-round draft choice two years and two weeks ago today, that made the difference against his former team. Finding the rebound from Cody Ceci's point shot, Prince buried the puck past John Gibson and jumped into the corner glass, a celebration we've seen in many third periods this season in Ottawa.

Mrazek shut the door the rest of the way, registering 29 saves in his 20th win of the season. Gibson also had 29 stops for the Rangers (30-13-1-0), who appear to be sticking in the Western Conference's third spot.

The 67's (29-11-4-1) are still the top ranked team in the Eastern Conference, although by a narrow marigin. Ottawa holds two points and a game in hand on the Brampton Battalion, while the Niagara Ice Dogs are just four points back. They face a tough task next weekend. First up, Sarnia comes to town for a national broadcast. Former Sting Shayne Campbell (injury) and Daniel Broussard (suspension) will unfortunately be out of the lineup. The Barberpoles head to Barrie and Owen Sound to close out their 3-in-3 weekend.

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