The obvious embarrassment of it all aside, nothing ruins a rally quite like giving up a goal while owning a two-man advantage.
Ask any member of the Ottawa 67's this morning.
Trailing the Mississauga IceDogs 4-1 entering the third period yesterday, they bounced back hard into the game when Matt Lahey and Jamie McGinn hit pay dirt 111 seconds apart before the four-minute mark.
Mere moments later, Mississauga's Jadran Beljo took a boarding major for running Tyler Cuma and, after the ensuing scrum, the 67's were left with a 5-on-3 power play for a full two minutes.
But in trying to answer the opportunity that was knocking, they stubbed their toe on the door.
Trying to set up inside the offensive zone rather than dump the puck into the corner, Ottawa's Jakub Vojta was stripped by defenceman Alex Pietrangelo, a highly regarded prospect.
Pietrangelo was allowed to skate the length of the ice and circle the net before setting up Jordan Owens for a successful one-timer.
The 67's made nary a whimper after that, losing 6-3 in front of 8,648 at the Civic Centre.
"They had the momentum, for sure," said IceDogs centre Michael Swift, who had three goals and an assist on the day. "That was the game, right there."
The view was similar from the other side.
"We came out hard in the third period, we knew we were still in the game," said 67's captain Derek Joslin, who had the other Ottawa goal plus a pair of helpers. "A goal like that, after a bad turnover and a bad break, just took the wind out of our sails. It was tough to come back from that."
The defeat was No. 5 in a row for the 67's, who lost centre Logan Couture to a knee injury five games ago.
While Couture hopes to be back for next weekend's three-stop road trip, coach and GM Brian Kilrea is losing Cuma and centre Cody Lindsay to Ontario's under-17 team at the Canada Winter Games for the next two weeks.
Cuma's plans might now change, pending x-rays on the shoulder he hurt when drilled by Beljo.
"Hopefully it isn't serious and hopefully he's able to play," said Kilrea. "He's been looking forward to going."
The 67's wound up outshooting Mississauga 47-37 on the day.
The loss leaves them with a 24-29-0-3 record with 12 games to go. Barring a sudden surge (and provided they don't suffer a complete collapse that leaves them out of the playoffs) they are likely to meet either Barrie, Belleville or Mississauga in the first round.
While they did lose a pair to the Bulls this weekend, the 67's have to be least interested in facing an IceDogs team that has handled them in all three meetings of the teams this weekend -- by a total score now of 18-7.
"We can't dwell on this game," said Joslin. "Definitely, we've had more success against Belleville and Barrie ... and the way it looks we're going to play one of the top end teams.
"But the playoffs is a different season ... we saw it two years ago. I hope the guys realize that."