Generally, the 67's week in review comes out on Wednesdays, but with the 67's themselves playing on continuous wednesdays, it's thrown off the weekly write-ups. Now, it's in order to cover a good portion of the month of February.
Perhaps it's fitting that Wednesday games threw off the 67's Week In Review - these games threw off the team themselves, too. Ottawa dropped a pair of Wednesday decisions with the Peterborough Petes and Barrie Colts respectively by an aggregate score of 20-7.
Those two matchups just happened to be the lowest of the low; two complete blowouts in front of an empty building as fans didn't want to travel to the suburbs during a weekday.
Ottawa did start the month off right on Do It For Daron (Richardson) Night. Mike Vlajkov scored two late third-period goals after the 67's had squandered a pair of leads in the game's final frame.
While still buried in last place thanks to the hot streak of the Peterborough Petes, it looked as though this stretch of home games would at least be entertaining and competitive for the 67's.
"We start a seven-game homestand here and that's a great way to start it," said Byrne the night of the win over Sarnia. "There's still lots of hockey left and we play at home for a while. You never know."
This became a common answer for Byrne after games win or lose. Understandably so, he isn't ruling out the chance of a miraculous run that would put the Barberpoles in the eighth and final playoff spot.
Perhaps Peterborough's winning ways was one nail in the 67's coffin. Perhaps losing to Barrie, allowing the Colts to be the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the east, was another, but don't expect Byrne to tip his hat towards his team just being "spoilers".
Five days after the win, it was the Petes coming to town, putting up five goals in the first period and ultimately causing the 67's to make three separate goaltending changes.
Had the Petes not stopped skating when the score was 8-1 in the second period, this could have been a monumental blowout. The home side actually made a game of it with three goals to finish the middle frame, but just when Ottawa gained any momentum, another goal was buried in their net.
Sean Monahan did have a pair of goals to reach 20 on the season, but Peterborough was just too much to handle. If the 67's were playing spoilers, they didn't do so on this night. Peterborough took it 10-6 and, at the time, moved to within four points of the eighth place Kingston Frontenacs. They're now two back.
Last weekend's snowstorm caused the 67's matchup against the Windsor Spitfires to be moved from Friday to Saturday, a double-bill after the Ottawa Senators took on the Jets. While the NHL squads only managed one goal between them, a 1-0 Jets win, the Junior clubs put up 13, an 8-5 win for the 67's.
Monahan followed up his two-goal third period from the Peterborough game with a hattrick in this one. Daniel Walsh also added his first career OHL goal, while his former linemate and now Spitfire forward Remy Giftopoulos also answered with one.
Every time the Spitfires touched the puck, it seemed to be an individual effort. It's something that hasn't been said a lot this year, but on this night, the 67's played the better team game.
"We're only concerned with our game," said Byrne. "I thought our guys competed well."
Giftopoulos wasn't the only ex-67 to burn his former team, as Tyler Graovac also tallied in Ottawa the next day. The 67's held on to make this one interesting, but three third-period goals from the Belleville Bulls sunk the hometown squad.
"It's not the best result, but they hung in there with a division leader, that's all you can ask for," said former coach and Ottawa legend Brian Kilrea after the game.
"That’s a good hockey team and an older hockey team,” added current coach Byrne. “I told our guys, if we have that effort every night and play that hard, good things are going to happen for us.”
Unfortunately for his squad, the total opposite happened when the 67's welcomed the east's other divisional leader. They put up a good effort in the first period, out-hitting, outshooting and out-chancing the Barrie Colts, but were down 3-1 after one and 8-1 after two.
Mark Scheifele lit up the 67's with three goals and three assists, while Zach Hall picked up two of each, as the Colts clinched a playoff berth with a 10-1 victory.
"Scheifele and Hall were real good with the puck," said Byrne, who doesn't often acknowledge the opposing team. "Some of the matchups tonight certainly weren't in our favour."
Ottawa closes out the homestand with a game tonight against Peterborough and Family Day Monday against Brampton.
With today being the deadline for exceptional players to file for their exception, 67's fans are hoping for Sean Day to get into the draft a year early. Six points back of the Erie Otters for last, it looks as though he could be the new face of the franchise in a couple months' time.