It may be the last time the Ottawa 67's head on a northern road trip that only lasts two games, but the Ottawa 67's were able to sweep their two games up north before dropping a weekday decision to their familiar foes the Kingston Frontenacs. While the groundwork was being set for the Sudbury Wolves and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to get a new neighboring team in North Bay, Ottawa handily beat the Hounds before taking a shootout win out of Sudbury.
Matt Fuller opened the scoring in a dominant first period for the Greyhounds on Friday night, but that was all the offence the home side could muster. Steven Janes evened the scoring towards the end of the opening frame, which got the ball rolling for Ottawa's attack.
Jake Cardwell, Remy Giftopoulos and Tyler Graovac had a trio of powerplay markers for the 67's on the evening. Graovac also had an even-strength goal, as did Ryan van Stralen.
Although an impressive blowout win for a struggling 67's team, the game was marred by a questionable hit from the Soo's Chris Buonomo, questionable enough to garner a 15-game suspension from the Ontario Hockey League. Buonomo left his feet, driving Connor Brown's head into the glass with his elbow.
Brown didn't stay down for long and didn't miss any time, in fact he dropped the gloves with Nathan Cull of the Sudbury Wolves the following night.
Again, Ottawa found themselves behind a 1-0 deficit early in the game, but tied the game before the end of the first, starting a three-goal burst. Sean Monahan had the first two goals of the game, his second of the night on the powerplay, while Ryan Van Stralen had his second goal in as many nights, again giving his team a 3-1 advantage.
However, the 67's faced an issue they've had for a few years now; holding a late lead against Sudbury. Michael Kantor had a pair of goals in the final three minutes for the Wolves to send the game to overtime. After Ottawa's powerplay was shut out in the extra frame, the two teams headed to a shootout.
Graovac and Sudbury's Josh Leivo traded goals before Taylor Fielding finished things off, giving Ottawa their first shootout win of the season.
Tuesday night's game followed a similar trend of recent games against Kingston, a high-scoring, last-goal-wins type of night.
Graovac had another pair of goals to improve on his league lead in goals with 18, but a second-period meltdown gave Kingston a commanding 5-2 lead.
Andrew Abou-Assaly scored his first career goal and Michal Cajkovsky scored on a knuckling, elusive point shot, but that was all Ottawa could come up with as Kingston added a pair to take a 7-5 decision.
Although he started his 11th straight game, Keegan Wilson was pulled for the second time in three meetings with the Fronts. Jacob Blair played the third period, and one has to wonder how long it is until the Kanata native gets some formidable playing time.
Michael Nishi, who was beat out by Wilson, isn't faring much better in neighboring Gatineau, however, with a 4-9-1 record and GAA over 4.00. While some 67's fans look for answers at the goaltending position, it's not as though they had a better solution to start the season.
Ottawa plays a trio of home games in the next week, taking on Saginaw, Belleville and Mississauga in the next week.