Hot Start: 67’s Win Twice on Season’s First Road Trip
Photo credit: Ottawa 67's
The chosen mantra for the 67’s this season is #NoQuit. They certainly embodied that saying on their first road trip of the season, winning two one-goal games in a three-day span, including a 4-3 overtime victory over the defending OHL champion Hamilton Bulldogs.
To wrap up the weekend slate on Sunday, Ottawa battled the Bulldogs down to the wire. Hamilton had gotten the best of Ottawa throughout the 2017-18 season. The Bulldogs beat the 67’s in nine of their 10 meetings, including winning their first round playoff series 4-1.
The teams traded the lead three times in regulation in a back-and-forth affair. Ottawa’s Jack Quinn recorded his first goal as a 67 to open the scoring late in the first period with a beautiful deke and finish; first around a Bulldog defenseman and then past goalie Nick Donofrio. Hamilton answered with the next two goals, including a short-handed mark from Brandon Saigeon.
The 67’s went back on the attack however. Lucas Peric and Tye Felhaber capitalized on their chances to end the second frame. Hamilton tied the game midway through the third on a power play mark that knotted the teams all the way into overtime.
For the second time already this season, Ottawa scored hurriedly to win an overtime matchup. Austen Keating scored in the first minute of overtime last weekend against Mississauga.
In overtime against Hamilton, Felhaber finished a fantastic individual effort for his second goal of the game to win it just nine seconds into the extra frame. Ottawa is now 2-0 in overtime games this season.
The night before needed a full-game effort as well from the 67’s to come out on top over the Owen Sound Attack. Ottawa jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, including another goal from Felhaber, but were forced to overcome a remarkable stretch from the Attack’s Nick Suzuki.
Suzuki, a Vegas Golden Knights prospect, scored a natural hat trick to give Owen Sound a 3-2 lead. Ottawa needed a Quinn Yule equalizer with under four minutes left in the third period. Noel Hoefenmayer scored the go-ahead goal less than two minutes later to help Ottawa escape with a one-goal victory.
Rookie goaltender Will Cranley stopped 41 shots to pick up the win in his first career OHL start. That performance proved critical, given that the 67’s were outshot 44-25 by the Attack.
Friday night’s game in Kitchener was a different story for the 67’s. Against the Rangers, Ottawa fell 5-1 despite outshooting their opponent.
Kitchener exploded in the second period, scoring four answered goals to enter the third frame up 4-0. Ranger wingers Chase Campbell and Jonathan Yantsis finished with a goal and assist apiece in the Kitchener victory. Ottawa defenseman Kevin Bahl broke through late in the third period for his first goal of the season and the lone 67’s goal of the game.
Kitchener goaltender Luke Richardson let in only one goal on 32 shots faced. He robbed Sasha Chmelevski in the third period on an Ottawa opportunity that could have cut the Ranger lead to two.
Chmelevski was the leading scorer for Ottawa last season. After spending time with the San Jose Sharks’ AHL affiliate to start the season, he rejoined the 67’s this weekend.
Through Sunday, Kitchener remains undefeated (3-0) on the season and is outscoring opponents 15-4 thus far.
Although finishing 2-1 on the weekend, the power play remains an issue for the 67’s. They gave up their fifth short-handed goal of the season and went a combined 0-7 on the man advantage. Ottawa was perfect on the penalty kill last week, stopping all eight opportunities, but allowed a power play goal in each of this weekend’s games.
The 67’s were sub-.500 for nearly all of last season. Through the first two weekends of the new OHL season, they sit at 3-2.
The team will stay on the road for a Wednesday night matchup with the North Bay Battalion, before returning home for this weekend’s games. The 67’s will then host the Barrie Colts (Saturday afternoon) and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (Sunday afternoon) at TD Place.