After winning all three of their games two weekends ago, the 67’s hit a bump in the road this past weekend, picking up just one of a possible six points. This comes as their schedule sees them facing some of the Eastern Conference’s top teams, but it was far from being entirely negative despite the losses. There was a lot to like about their game.
67’s Play Well, Come Up Empty
The 67’s lost back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday night against the Peterborough Petes and Oshawa Generals respectively where they produced a mixed bag of results. Head coach Dave Cameron was pleased with the team’s effort in both contests, but their biggest test of the weekend was on Sunday afternoon against the Mississauga Steelheads.
“They are a first-place club for a reason,” said Cameron. “For the first 10 minutes, it was a good game, the shots were 4-2. They took over the last 10 minutes of that first period. Outside of that, I thought we were really good in the second period, we hit a couple of posts there, and I really liked our period. That fourth goal took the winds out of our sails, but we stuck with it.”
“Three games this weekend if you count Thursday and we only got one point, but I really liked a lot of what our team did,” he said. “I liked our structure, I liked our compete, and if we keep playing like that, which I think we will, we will eventually get rewarded with points. There was a lot of good this weekend.”
If there was one area to criticize the team, it would be their special teams. Neither their power play nor penalty kill was very good, and it was ultimately the reason that they came up with just a single point on the weekend. Outside of that, the effort was there. They would have liked to earn the points in the standings, but for a young team, growing and learning can be just as important.
Jack Beck’s Return
For the first time since the 67’s beat the North Bay Battalion on November 7th, Jack Beck was able to return to the lineup. His injury was described simply as “banged up” for a while and he wasn’t supposed to be out for an extended period of time, but that return date kept getting further and further away. Finally, he was back on the ice and making a difference on Sunday afternoon.
“Becker is drafted to the National Hockey League for a reason,” Cameron said. “It’s his skill set, and we missed it, we missed it big time. The first game back, there’s some adrenaline there, but there’s going to be that one or two-game adrenaline rush, and then the reality of the fact is that they have been out for a long period of time.”
While Beck can make a difference five-on-five and will score plenty of goals at even strength, the place the 67’s have missed him the most is on the power play, a unit that has struggled since he went down with an injury. He had a couple of chances to score on the power play on Sunday, but hit the crossbar and came up just short.
“He’s smart, but the biggest thing that he brings is a pure shooter,” said Cameron. “He missed an opportunity there today that when he’s back, and the rust has been shaken off, he will bury.”
His return comes at the perfect time for the 67’s. As they continue to get healthy, they should be able to continue their quest to clinch a playoff spot, and with that, they should also be getting a couple more pieces back that could help them finally find a way to beat the Steelheads in the event that they do meet in the playoffs.
Good Injury News
Beck’s return is a big milestone for the 67’s, however, they still have two more players who have missed a significant amount of time. Ottawa Senators prospect, Tyler Boucher has already made his debut with the team, but it lasted just 12 minutes, but once again, it looks like he will imminently be returning to the lineup. Additionally, over-age forward Adam Varga is well on his way back.
“Boucher for sure unless there is some kind of setback there,” Cameron said. “Varga is probably a little iffier, but we will just kinda wait. I’d say he’s probably 50/50 if I had to put odds on it for him.”
There was some concern when Beck left the game in the third period that he may have reaggravated his previous injury, but thankfully, Cameron had some more good news after the game regarding his situation. It appears that there is nothing to worry about.
“That was just kinda precautionary,” said Cameron. “Obviously, he’s a big part of our club, and we’re just getting him back.”
More Good News
When the 67’s return home next weekend, they will be allowed to do so with 50% capacity. After playing a handful of games with no fans and some with 500 fans, it’s going to be good to have more energy in the building. There should be a solid contingent of Senators fans in attendance to see Boucher play for the first time, but the weekend won’t be easy. They will see the Kingston Frontenacs twice on the road, and their home game will see the North Bay Battalion come to town.