67’s will have to find a way to stop Laughton
Flyers’ first-rounder nets hat trick, adds assist in rout
Generals 6, 67’s 0
If this was indeed an opening round playoff preview, the Ottawa 67’s have exactly one month to devise a way to shut down Scott Laughton and even that may not be enough time.
The Philadelphia Flyers’ No. 1 pick in 2012 was a one-man wrecking crew, scoring three times and assisting on another to lead the Oshawa Generals to a relatively easy 6-zip win over the 67’s Friday night at the General Motors Centre.
Only the work of Philippe Trudeau in the 67’s net kept things close as the Generals, who lead the Ontario Hockey League’s Eastern Conference, fired at will against the 67’s, who sit 8th overall, now 31 points behind the Generals.
Trudeau, the league’s busiest shot-stopper, tied his season-high for saves with 53 and couldn’t be faulted for any of the six goals he allowed.
The one saving grace of the evening was that the Mississauga Steelheads were upset 5-0 by the Kitchener Rangers, leaving the Steelheads just two points ahead of the 67’s in the battle for seventh-place overall with the 67’s holding a game in hand.
Facing the Generals, who the 67’s beat 4-1 just 13 days before in Kanata, the 67’s were fortunate to escape the first period down just 1-0 with Trudeau, once again, the best player on the ice stopping 19 of 20 Oshawa shots.
The only one that got by Trudeau was a rebound by Laughton just eight seconds past the midway point of the period.
The 67’s, on the other hand, failed to convert on a two-man advantage of over a minute and that may have been their best chance to score all night.
The second period wasn’t nearly as kind to the 67’s as the Generals struck for two goals in a span of 26 seconds early in the period on their way to four unanswered goals, two by Laughton, including one short-handed, and others by Josh Sterk and Dylan Smoskowitz.
The shots on goal after 40 minutes of play were indicative of the score in that they read 44-11 to the Generals’ advantage.
Bradley Latour stretched the lead to 6-0 1:21 into the third.
The 67’s, again, played without leading goal-scorer Ryan Van Stralen, who is out with an upper-body injury. They also suffered a scare with the team’s leading point-producer Travis Konecny left the ice early in the opening period with an undisclosed injury though he did return.
The 67’s can ill afford the absence of either as they run down the stretch for their final 13 games with only four of them on home ice.
Ottawa plays a Family Day game Monday at 2 p.m. against the Owen Sound Attack before going on the road for six straight. The 67’s do not return to the Canadian Tire Centre until March 4.
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