The final game of the Ottawa 67’s three-games-in-three-nights swing ended in success. With road games against the Hamilton Bulldogs and the Oshawa Generals on the weekend, a split would have been good enough given the quality of their opponents. Playing with house money after beating the Bulldogs on Saturday, the 67’s turned in one of their best efforts of the season and hung on to a 7-5 win over the Generals on Sunday. If you missed the game, here’s what you need to know.
67’s Played One of Their Best Games
It would be difficult to find a game that the 67’s played better overall than they did on Sunday. The first period was one of their best periods of the season, and the second was even better. They fired 31 shots on Generals goaltender Patrick Leaver in the first 40 minutes, beating him five times for a 5-2 lead after two. They found themselves in trouble in the third, but they put their foot down when they needed to.
Pointing out who was good on the night would mean talking about every player that dressed save for Colin MacKenzie, who sat on the bench the entire night. But there were a couple of particularly strong performances, starting with Brenden Sirizzotti, who had a couple of good chances but was denied by the post or the crossbar a couple of times. He was strong on the puck and looked much better away from the puck, which head coach Dave Cameron has been harping on. He picked up a couple of assists and was a big part of the win.
Vsevolod Gaidamak was again outstanding for Ottawa, scoring two goals and an assist. He is quickly becoming a force that few teams can stop. Through 16 games, Gaidamak has 11 goals and seven assists, which is tied with Jack Beck for the team lead in goals and is second in scoring. It’s hard to imagine where the 67’s would be without him.
Finally, Nashville Predators prospect Jack Matier was also key for the 67’s, especially late in the game when the Generals put together their furious comeback effort. He wasn’t the only solid defenceman (Teddy Sawyer blocked a couple of big shots), but Matier was phenomenal. He won’t wow you with his offensive output or skating ability, but good luck getting around him. He’s a shut-down defenseman, and that’s exactly what he did against Ottawa.
Another Flurry of Goals For 67’s
In their last outing in Oshawa, the 67’s mounted a rapid and impressive comeback late in the game to steal the win. Again on Sunday, they scored a bunch of goals in a short span, with three in just under two minutes late in the second period. Adam Varga scored his second goal of the game after a nice centring pass from Gaidamak to give them a 3-2 lead.
Cam Tolnai took a slightly tipped pass from Sirizzotti and banged the puck into the top corner 51 seconds later, and it completely changed the complexion of the game. The 67’s finally took control after outplaying the Generals for the first 40 minutes.
There was more offence to come. One minute and six seconds later, Dylan Robinson scored against his former team after two Generals pinched down on Brady Stonehouse in the corner, who found Robinson alone in the slot. Robinson made no mistake on this one, burying it past Leaver and extending Ottawa’s lead to three. It was another offensive explosion that likely secured the win.
67’s Survive Generals Rally
In the third period, the two teams traded goals, courtesy of Thomas Stewart for the Generals and Vinzenz Rohrer for the 67’s, before the 67’s found themselves in hot water after taking a couple of penalties. Brad Gardiner received a questionable unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that put the Generals on the power play. Ottawa was doing a great job of killing it off when Thomas Johnston received a slew foot penalty.
A five-on-three power play brought the Generals back into the game. It was a questionable call, but the 67’s needed to buckle down and stop Oshawa’s attack. They had a quick chance when Lleyton Moore squeaked one in behind Will Cranley, but it was ruled no goal. Soon after, Ty Tullio fired one home, but after review, the refs determined that the puck had crossed the line behind Cranley 20 seconds earlier. Moore’s goal cut the 67’s lead to two with over four minutes left on the power play.
The Generals struck again with nine minutes to go in the game, cutting the lead to one. Brett Harrison scored his eighth of the season, and with plenty of time left on the power play, the Generals seemed on the verge of finding the tying goal. That’s when the 67’s put their foot down and thwarted the Gennies’ attack.
When Oshawa pulled the goalie looking for a late goal, Gaidamak flipped the puck high into the open cage, cementing another road win for Ottawa. At this point, it’s almost a cliche to mention their #NoQuit motto, but it’s true. The team embodies the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” They were dealt a pretty poor hand at the end of the game but put their heads down and powered through to pick up another two critical points in the standings.
Ottawa’s Road Success
This weekend on the road would have been a success with a split after the loss on Friday night against the Mississauga Steelheads, but the 67’s went out and took the bull by the horns, playing two of their best games of the season and taking full points against two tough opponents. They get full marks for their effort, and hopefully, they can enjoy it a little before another tough weekend ahead.