• By: Liam Fox

Ottawa 67’s Clinch Top Spot in the East While Tye Felhaber Has a Week For the Books

The Ottawa 67’s will have home ice throughout the first three rounds of the OHL playoffs (at the very least) and as he has done all season, star scorer Tye Felhaber helped the team clinch their position.

It was quite the week for Felhaber. On Friday, he signed a three-year professional contract with the Dallas Stars. Felhaber went undrafted by the NHL, but now, after a breakthrough season in which he leads the OHL in goals, he will get his chance to join the professional ranks.

“With the whole team here that we have, it’s hard not to have success for yourself,” said Felhaber after the game. “It feels good. It’s something I’ve been working my whole life for and my family has sacrificed a lot of time for me to accomplish this and I’m just trying to soak it all in.”

On Sunday against the Mississauga Steelheads, Felhaber scored his 100th point of the season. He is the first 67’s player to do so since Tyler Toffoli (current Los Angeles King) reached that mark in 2013.

Not only did Felhaber pass the century mark on Sunday, but the 67’s clinched the Eastern Conference with their 3-0 win over Mississauga. The 2002-03 season was the last time that Ottawa finished in the top spot of the conference.

After a scoreless first period between the 67’s and Steelheads, Kody Clark found the net in the second with a perfect one-timer from one knee to put Ottawa ahead. Then in the third, Felhaber scored his 56th goal of the season. Graeme Clark added an empty-netter.

Michael DiPietro started in goal and was brilliant. He recorded his third shutout of the season, second with Ottawa.

The 67’s not only dominated scoring, but the face-off dot as well. They won 33 face-offs to Mississauga’s 18. Sasha Chmelevski himself won 14 of his 15 face-offs.

The week’s slate for Ottawa began in Barrie on Thursday night, where the 67’s fell to the Colts.

Barrie beat up on the 67’s penalty kill unit, scoring on all four of their power play opportunities. Forward Tyson Foerster scored twice, once on the power play, as the Colts went on a 4-0 run from the start of the contest through to the midpoint of the second period. The first goal was a Barrie dump-in attempt that took a strange bounce past goaltender Cedrick Andree and into the net.

Sam Bitten stopped the bleeding with a goal in the second and then Austen Keating struck on the power play early in the third to give Ottawa a prayer at a comeback. But the 67’s took two more penalties and the Colts made them pay twice more.

The Barrie power play once again put the game out of reach for Ottawa. Sasha Chmelevski tapped in a goal late but the 67’s fell 6-3, despite outshooting their opponents 34-16.

Lucas Chiodo picked up an assist in his return to Barrie. He spent 3.5 seasons there before being acquired by the 67’s at this year’s trade deadline.

Ottawa bounced back from that defeat with a 5-3 win in Hamilton on Friday night, despite again falling into an early hole.

The Bulldogs made the game 2-0 in the first period with an early power play mark, followed up by an even strength goal. The 67’s were down early but far from out. By the end of the opening period, Ottawa had scored three straight and taken the lead.

D-man Noel Hoefenmayer scored first with a beauty of a wrist shot. Two goals on the man advantage came next from Graeme Clarke and Lucas Chiodo. The latter seized a loose puck and slammed a slap shot into the wide-open net. Hamilton scored the lone goal of the second period to tie the game but the 67’s outplayed the Bulldogs late.

Marco Rossi scored the go-ahead goal with less than four minutes remaining in the final frame. Chmelevski scored an empty-netter and the 67’s rolled to a big road victory. Chmelevski totaled three points and Kyle Maksimovich was the setup man with three assists.

Despite the loss, Kingston’s Arthur Kaliyev potted two goals and added an assist, helping to account for all three of the Bulldogs’ goals. Kaliyev also put six shots on goal and now sits tied for third in the OHL in individual goals. With 50 on the season, he now trails only North Bay’s Justin Brazeau and the 67’s very own Tye Felhaber.

The 67’s will have a full three-game slate this weekend, starting with a trip to Kingston for a Friday night matchup with the Frontenacs. They will then have a home-and-home against the Oshawa Generals, first in Ottawa on Saturday afternoon and then in Oshawa on Sunday.