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After a bumpy start, the new-look Ottawa 67’s have found some chemistry

By on October 27, 2021 0

A team full of uncertainties due to the massive turnover of the powerful 2019-20 team, the 67’s managed to shake off that ugly opening night loss and now own a 5-3-0 record. .

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Will Cranley can now remember the unforgettable Ottawa 67’s opener three weeks ago against the Kingston Frontenacs and laugh a little.

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“It was a bit of a wake-up call,” said the 67’s goaltender of the 8-1 loss, where he was pulled out early. “The team has grown a lot. We have continued to improve every game here and constantly build on our execution, and I think that will only get better.

As the 67’s gear up for another run of weekends at home and away against 2022 NHL consensus No.1 pick Shane Wright and the Frontenacs – they will meet a dozen times before it ends of the season – they have some confidence in their stride.

A team full of uncertainties due to the massive turnover of the powerful 2019-20 team, the 67’s managed to shake off that ugly opening night loss and now own a 5-3-0 record. .

That includes two of three wins last weekend. In Sunday’s 5-4 shootout win over Oshawa, the 67’s scored three goals in 56 seconds in the third period to erase a 3-0 deficit. In Saturday’s 3-0 win over Barrie, Cranley made 28 saves for his first shutout of the season, rebounding from a Friday loss to Mississauga.

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“A little of the team chemistry has set in,” said Cranley, a 2020 sixth-round pick for the St. Louis Blues who was in his first NHL rookie camp in September. “There were some team-building (victories). (At first) we had a lot of extra guys bustling about and once we sorted that out everyone felt a bit more comfortable. We’re just continuing to build with Dave here and get to know the system a bit better here. “

It’s Dave, as in Dave Cameron, the former head coach of the Ottawa Senators who returns to OHL life after coaching in the NHL and Austria.

Watching Cameron’s practice Wednesday morning, where the exercises were constantly paused and repeated over and over again, was a reminder of his focus on the little details.

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“It’s still a work in progress,” he said. “You never get to the point where a player is a complete player. That’s the essence of the game. They have to keep doing the job. We have to keep training them. It’s at every level. The NHL , AHL, level II (junior).

Having said that, Cameron says the 67’s are a “coachable” group. While he says there were “inconsistencies” in the style of play he ultimately wants the team to play, he likes the way they have responded so far.

“Three games in three days on the road have been a very good test for us,” he said. “We weren’t ready for Mississauga and the next two games we played the right way. We played very far from the puck. We followed hard. We blocked the shots. We competed.

The late return against Oshawa reinforced the messages Cameron tried to get across.

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“It changes everything from the neck down,” he said. “Now the day off (Monday) is nicer. They arrive the next day and the video is nicer. You just have to keep building on it.

There was also a good deal of good individual performance at the start.

Calgary Flames draft pick Jack Beck is tied for the OHL league lead with eight goals, including three game-winners. In his previous season with the 67’s, in 2019-20, he scored a total of seven goals.

Cameron Tolnai has three goals and six assists in eight games and Austrian import Vinzenz Rohrer is scoring at a points per game pace, with two goals and six assists.

Cranley also rebounded from the opening night loss and the tandem with Collin MacKenzie gave Cameron options as a goalie for the busy weekend schedules.

With Friday night and Saturday afternoon games against Kingston, the two will likely play again.

“Twelve times, or whatever,” Cranley said of the season’s challenge against Kingston. “It’s okay. We’re going to have a good rivalry here and I’m excited to go out this weekend and prove something.

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Twitter.com/Citizenkwarren

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