• By: OLM Staff

67’s Improve to 5-3 with Strong Weekend Homestand

Photo credit: Valerie Wutti

Home cooking has been a winning recipe for the 67’s. With victories over Barrie and Sault Ste. Marie this weekend, Ottawa is now 3-1 at TD Place and 5-3 on the season.

Sunday’s win against the Greyhounds was fueled by a red-hot start. Tye Felhaber opened the scoring with a redirection from the boards behind the Sault Ste. Marie net.

Felhaber has seven goals already this season, good enough for second in the league. After the win over the Greyhounds, Felhaber, who played in his 250th OHL game the day before, acknowledged his hot start to the year.

“All four years I’ve had trouble with my starts so that’s one thing I focused on coming into the season,” said Felhaber.

The 67’s scored four more goals following Felhaber’s by the time the opening frame was complete.

The 20-minute stretch also included goals from Quinn Yule, Austen Keating and Kody Clark. Sault Ste. Marie chipped away in between with two goals of their own, including one on the power play courtesy of Morgan Frost, but Ottawa led 4-2 heading into the second period and only built on their lead from there.

Marco Rossi, with his third of the weekend, and Felhaber, with his second of the game, scored insurance goals in the second period. The 67’s topped the Greyhounds 6-2. Ottawa goaltender Cedrick Andree won his second game in as many days and now sits at 4-2 as a starter on the season.

Saturday’s matchup with the Barrie Colts provided a little more drama.

Barrie broke through while on a two-man advantage halfway through the opening frame with a perfectly placed wrist shot from Ben Hawerchuk but Ottawa answered while on a power play of their own. Keating whiffed on a shot in close but was able to get the puck over to Clark who buried it.

The 67’s took a 2-1 lead with Rossi’s first career OHL goal. Rossi found space and stuck with the opportunity with multiple shots on goal before finally sealing the deal. Following a goal from Barrie’s Lucas Chiodo, Rossi scored his second of the afternoon on a two-on-one rush.

The 67’s went on the power play in the third period looking to take a two-goal lead, but the Colts stepped up with a play of their own.

Matej Pekar stole the puck from Sasha Chmelevski near the boards in the Barrie zone and turned on the jets for an offensive rush. Pekar used his speed to beat defenseman Kevin Bahl down ice. He finished off the breakaway attempt with a dazzling forehand to backhand, one-handed goal.

It is the third weekend in a row that Ottawa has given up at least one short-handed goal and have now seceded six on the season.

Chmelevski had the chance to redeem himself however later in the final frame. He showed tremendous patience in waiting out Colts defenders before feeding Clark in front of the net for the game-winning goal with less than five minutes to play.

Clark and Rossi had two goals apiece in the 4-3 win. Keating tallied two assists and is now second in the OHL with 13 points.

Andree was on his game against Barrie, making big saves in key moments. That included a second-period robbing of Ryan Suzuki, who is tied for the OHL lead in points, on a Colts two-on-one opportunity.

Ottawa has consistently been winning face-offs at a high-rate. They have won more face-offs than their opponents in six of their eight games this season and won 66% of their face-offs in this weekend’s two victories.

The penalty kill remains an area of improvement for the 67’s. They have given up the most power play goals against (eight) and are second last in power play percentage (73.3%). The penalty kill cost them in Wednesday night’s 4-3 loss to the Battalion, despite outshooting Brampton 44-26.

Brampton was able to win the game thanks in large part to the success of their power play unit. They went 3/5 on the man advantage. Matthew Struthers scored twice on the power play at the end of the first period.

Although Ottawa received a short-handed goal from Yule, a power-play marker from Felhaber and a late score from Noel Hoefenmayer, the comeback bid fell short. Rookie Will Cranley was in net for his first career OHL loss.

For the second week in a row, Ottawa has finished a seven-day stretch with a solid record of 2-1. They now sit at 5-3 on the season and in first place of the East Division.

The 67’s will be at home all next week, hosting the Kingston Frontenacs (Wednesday), Windsor Spitfires (Friday) and Erie Otters (Sunday).