Playoff bound: new 67’s forwards help lead Ottawa to two wins and a postseason berth
Photo credit: John Rennison (The Hamilton Spectator)
Though it was not exactly in doubt, the first-place Ottawa 67’s clinched a playoff spot this past week with wins over Peterborough and Hamilton. They picked up five points over their three games.
Trade deadline acquisitions Lucas Chiodo and Kyle Maksimovich led the way in Thursday’s 4-3 win over the Petes. Maksimovich finished with three points and a shootout goal. He helped the 67’s strike first with a goal on the power play midway through the first period.
Maksimovich was assisted by Chiodo. Just four minutes later, Maksimovich helped setup Chiodo for a goal of his own to put Ottawa up 2-0. Chiodo turned on the jets down the boards in the offensive zone, dipping around the Peterborough net before finishing with a wrap-around backhand.
Peterborough found the net soon after to get back within striking distance heading into the second period. Maksimovich scored again in the late stages of the second with the period’s lone goal.
The Petes then scored the only two goals of the third period to send the game into extra time. After a scoreless overtime in which the 67’s had to kill-off a penalty, Ottawa capitalized in the shootout on all three of their opportunities. Maksimovich, Marco Rossi and Tye Felhaber, the 67’s first three shooters, all scored in the shootout.
Ottawa’s ninth straight win helped them secure a playoff berth for the fifth straight season. Cedrick Andree started in goal and faced 37 Peterborough shots.
The 67’s were on the wrong side of the shootout on Friday night however, going 0/3 in the shootout and losing 2-1 to the Mississauga Steelheads.
Once again it was Andree shining in goal and once again it was Chiodo making a difference offensively. He scored the only goal of the opening two periods off a beautiful feed from defenseman Merrick Rippon.
Mississauga’s Liam Ham scored on the power play early in the third to finally draw the Steelheads even in a defensive struggle. It was the last goal scored for the remaining 20 minutes of game time before the shootout.
The Steelheads scored the only goal of the six attempts between the two teams in the shootout to claim the upset victory. It was a crucial two points for Mississauga, as they remain in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The 67’s got back in the win column the following day in Hamilton. A third period goal from Kody Clark proved to be the game winner in the 4-3 Ottawa win.
Ottawa again jumped out to a 2-0 lead, with goals from Chiodo and Sasha Chmelevski, but also allowed their opponents back into the game. The two teams traded goals to end the second period and begin the third. Ottawa’s came courtesy of Alec Belanger before the Bulldogs scored twice to tie the game.
When Hamilton made it 3-3 with just over eight minutes left in regulation, it appeared that the 67’s were heading to their third straight overtime contest. Then with just over six minutes left, the 67’s drew a penalty and capitalized on a game-winning power play opportunity.
Clark found the net with a one-timer off a cross-ice pass from Marco Rossi. Cedrick Andree picked up his second win in three days to put him over the impressive 30-win mark this season as the 67’s starting goaltender.
Michael DiPietro, the other star goaltender in Ottawa, was recently called up by the Vancouver Canucks on an emergency basis. Andree will likely be the workhorse for the 67’s until DiPietro returns.
The 67’s will finish their road trip in Kingston on Wednesday night against the Frontenacs, before returning home for a Friday night game with Hamilton and Sunday afternoon game against Kitchener.