Ottawa 67’s Finish Regular Season Atop the OHL, Now Look Towards Playoff Matchup With Hamilton
Photo credit: Ottawa 67's
The 2018-19 season has quite literally been a year for the history books for the Ottawa 67’s. On Sunday, the 67’s completed the regular season as the gold standard in Ontario junior hockey.
For the fourth time in franchise history, Ottawa won the Hamilton Spectator Trophy, awarded to the OHL’s regular season champion. They finished with 50 wins and 106 points, the former tying a team record and the latter setting a brand-new one.
“It’s special. We don’t want to look back right away but down the road we will look back at what was done here and we’ll be really proud of it,” said 67’s head coach Andre Tourigny.
The 67’s wrapped-up the regular season with a good old fashioned rout of the Kingston Frontenacs on Sunday afternoon, winning 8-3. Ottawa put 53 shots on goal.
Among the eight goals, Ottawa scored three times on the power play. Those PP goals were scored by Tye Felhaber, Marco Rossi and Sasha Chmelevski. Chmelevski scored a hat trick against Kingston, including his 100th career OHL goal. Also finding the net were Lucas Chiodo, Graeme Clark and Merrick Rippon.
Ottawa finished the campaign with an impressive amount of depth scoring. There are seven 67’s players who finished the regular season with 20 or more goals. Leading the way of course is Felhaber. He finishes the season second in the OHL with 59 goals, missing out by only two for the league lead, and third in points. Austen Keating, Felhaber’s usual line mate, notched five assists in the win over Hamilton.
67’s goaltender Alex Zoutis, an Ottawa native appearing in his first career OHL game, got the chance to man the crease at the end of the third period. He filled in for a minute and a half, making a single save.
The weekend began with a two-game slate against the playoff-bound Peterborough Petes. The teams split the two matchups, with both games going to overtime. Ottawa emerged victorious in the first meeting in Peterborough Thursday night.
The Petes capitalized early with the game’s first goal in the opening frame. A puck redirected off an Ottawa skater’s stick into the 67’s own goal. Ottawa defenseman Nikita Okhotyuk then tied the game midway through the first period with a blazing slap shot. It was just his second goal of the season.
Peterborough scored the lone goal of the second period with a power play mark from Christopher Paquette, the team’s leading goal-scorer. It was also the only goal scored by either team on the man advantage. Peterborough and Ottawa went a combined 1/9 on the power play.
The Petes were able to keep their one-goal lead for nearly the entire third period but Ottawa finally broke through with just seconds remaining in regulation. Kevin Bahl blasted the puck in from the point with 15 seconds left to send the game to overtime.
Marco Rossi found the back of the net with a wrist shot in overtime to complete the comeback for Ottawa. The 67’s peppered Peterborough goaltender Hunter Jones with 43 shots on goal. Despite the loss, Jones finished with a save percentage of 0.930.
The next night in Ottawa, it was the Petes that came away with the overtime victory even though they once again were heavily outshot. The 67’s put 47 shots on goal, 19 more than their opponents.
Once again, it was Peterborough that struck first. Petes forward Nick Robertson scored the only goal of the first period and his 27th of the season when Ottawa gave up a juicy rebound in front of their own net.
Kevin Bahl scored his second goal in as many games to tie it up in the second period but the Petes got their power play going once again with a goal from Zach Gallant.
Sasha Chmelevski then found the net on a 67’s power play opportunity to square the game at two. It was Peterborough that capitalized in extra time however, scoring less than a minute into overtime to take the game. Adam Timleck found space for a wrist shot on the far side of Cedrick Andree.
Andree started twice last week. Between him and Mike DiPietro, the 67’s boast two goaltenders that finished this season top five in the OHL in goals against average, save percentage and shutouts.
For Ottawa, it is now onto the postseason. The top-seeded 67’s have a first round matchup with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Game one is in Ottawa at TD Place this Friday night at 7:00.