Another pair of home losses to end a lengthy homestand have dropped the Ottawa 67's further into the Eastern Conference and OHL's basement, and by the time this upcoming week is complete, they could be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
The two biggest stories of the 67's remaining 11 games will be the future in net, with rookie Jacob Blair appearing in eight of Ottawa's last nine games, and the play of Sean Monahan, who heads into his NHL draft.
Although they appear to be the only scouting agency to have him this low, International Scouting Services had Ottawa's leading scorer ranked eighth in the upcoming draft in their rankings released on Friday.
"If I'm getting ranked lower, I guess I've got to play better," said Monahan later on Friday. "I try to play the same game and build on that. I'm trying to get better every day."
Monahan, Ottawa's leading scorer, also said that the ranking didn't affect him, but he came out firing that night, scoring the first and only 67's goal on the night early in the first period against Peterborough.
In the first half of the game, Monahan generated countless scoring opportunities, but was stymied by fellow former St. Thomas Aquinas student and Petes goaltender Michael Giugovaz. Peterborough stormed back to pot three quick goals before the end of the second, and the 67's offence dried up in the final 20 minutes.
Peterborough added two more late markers in the third period to seal the victory. "Every game, you have a choice of how hard you want to work," said head coach Chris Byrne after the game. "If we play a full game the way we played two periods here, that's a solid game for us."
On Family Day Monday, Ottawa came out with another solid start, but again, it was a late collapse that cost them a victory.
"It's about getting a 60-minute game where we don't have a lapse and we don't break down in our own zone," said Byrne, who had just watched his team allow three goals in under three minutes in consecutive games. "We played well for about 45 minutes today."
Ottawa headed into the third period of this one knotted up, although both goals in the 2-2 tie where on great individual efforts from Sergey Kuptsov and Joseph Blandisi (penalty shot) respectively, and Brampton's defence wouldn't let the home side walk through them in the final frame.
Zach Bell, Matt MacLeod and Barclay Goodrow scored for Brampton, as the visitors took a three-goal lead just over five minutes into the third. Ottawa only put five pucks on Brampton netminder Matej Machovsky after the scoring outburst, and only Ryan Van Stralen was able to beat him.
The Erie Otters are struggling, but they still have eight points on the 67's. Playoff possibilities are almost mathematically gone, and it's very possible that the team could mathematically clinch the first overall pick in a matter of weeks.
To close out the year, the bench boss only wants to see a stellar effort.
"This doesn't mean you get to skate without effort like we did in the third period (on Friday)."