Tuesday, Jan. 16, 10:50 a.m.: Practice had officially ended a little more than an hour before for the Ottawa 67’s, but defencemen, Bradley Horner and Matthew Mayich, were still on the ice.

Their extra work followed a three-game road trip that proved to have been a hit with Ottawa winning two of three games. 

Now, the 67’s are gearing up for the latter half of the season, starting with a home game Friday against the Saginaw Spirit. The team is third in the East Division with 43 points after 39 games.

Captain Luca Pinelli said it felt great to snap a lengthy losing streak on the road. He added it comes at a good time with the latest additions to the team.

“It was great,” he said. “Getting on the road with them, creating bonds with them. I think we did that and they got pretty comfortable right away.”

After a successful road trip, the 67’s are back at home getting ready for a match against Saginaw. [Photo @ Devon Tredinnick]

In the past three games — victories over Brantford and Owen Sound before a loss to Kitchener — Ottawa scored 14 goals. New players to the team, like Braeden Kressler and Samuel Mayer, were immediately part of that upturn in scoring. 

Kressler picked up four points in three games, split evenly between goals and assists. Mayer, who plays defence, also produced offensively with one goal and four assists in three games. 

Pinelli spoke about how all the team’s newest pick-ups have been a force for good.

“I think they made our line up a little more deep. They’re really good add ons, solid players, guys who can make plays.”

Before Horner and Mayich were left to themselves, working on some smaller details like deflecting pucks from the blueline and hitting one-timers at the point, head coach Dave Cameron finished practice with a challenge. 

A player — in this case, Pinelli — had three chances to fire a puck from one end of the ice into an empty net on the other side.

If he makes two of three, practice ends. If he doesn’t, the team goes for a skate. It’s the little moments of tension like these that matter, said Pinelli.

“It adds suspense to the end of the practice,” he said. “It’s kind of fun.”

A reassuring ‘ping’ echoed throughout TD Place once Pinelli had scored his second, saving his team from some added cardio. They expressed their gratitude with a team huddle — with him at the centre. 

The captain had already tied his record in goals on the road at 29. On Friday against Saginaw, he has a chance for a new personal best.

As for Horner and Mayich, their extended practice would come to an end, trading places with the city’s professional women’s team, who began a practice of their own.