The 67's may be getting their 1-2 scoring punch down the middle back after their two representatives Tyler Graovac and Sean Monahan were cut from Team Canada, but that does little to ease the pain of a team that was only able to muster up three regulation goals in four games this past week.
Thursday night in Niagara, in what was believed by some to be Ryan Strome and Dougie Hamilton's "last games as IceDogs", the two stars stole the show in a 9-0 blowout. Ottawa never had a fighting chance. With two Jr. B callups in Alex Morgan and Doug Harvey joining the lineup that day, the team looked disorganized all night.
Strome had two goals and an assist, while Hamilton had one of each, helping the home side chase Clint Windsor. Chris Festarini had to make 27 saves, most of which from long range, for the shutout.
The 67's won't reap the benefits of a weakened Niagara team, either. They won't play them again after Strome and Hamilton leave, if they do. Furthermore, if those two get traded, it drives down the value of Graovac and Cody Ceci respectively.
Friday night's effort wasn't any better in a battle between the two conference's bottom-feeders. Once again, the starting netminder was pullled, this time Jacob Blair left the net in favour of Windsor.
Erie jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Ottawa finally got on the board. Dante Salituro got the marker, continuing to be a bright spot on this struggling team.
The Barberpoles finally caught a break on Sunday, playing against a Kitchener team that hadn't beat the 67's since January of 2007, and had as many injuries as them.
Steven Janes had the lone goal in regulation, while Ceci and Salituro scored in the shootout to win the game 2-1.
Wednesday, the 67's news went from bad to worse. While the Belleville Bulls were coasting to a 2-0 win in Ottawa, it was also announced that Graovac and Monahan had been cut from Team Canada.
Head coach Chris Byrne played down the news. "I have enough to worry about here, I just finished coaching a game and I'm not concerned with what Hockey Canada does."
The Bulls played a low-key style, and Ottawa didn't seem to have any urgency either. The 46-15 shot total was a testament to Belleville's dominant play and Clint Windsor's ability to stand tall and hold his team in it.
With the 67's lack of production, Byrne hopes that the return of his top two centers can bring some more firepower. "We've lacked offencive punch, and those two guys bring a lot of offence."
Janes was injured in practice on Tuesday, while Brett Gustavsen was injured from a low hit in the Niagara game. Both players have confirmed that they will be out until after Christmas.
Monahan has served the last of his ten-game suspension and will be in the lineup on Friday when the 67's take on the Petes.