The Eastern Conference Final matchup has been set and the Ottawa 67’s and the Oshawa Generals will go head-to-head in the third round of the 2019 OHL playoffs, starting Thursday night at The Arena at TD Place.
After sweeping the Hamilton Bulldogs and Sudbury Wolves in back-to-back series, the 67’s draw Oshawa in the third round after the Generals came back from a 2-0 series deficit against Niagara to win the series in six games.
This series marks the first time the 67’s have reached the Conference Final since 2012, when the Barber Poles fell in five games to, ironically, Niagara. Holding home ice advantage throughout the playoffs after finishing first overall in the OHL this year, the 67’s will host Games 1 and 2 at home (Thursday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m.)
The 67’s and Generals met eight times this season, with Ottawa winning five of those games. The last time they met, Ottawa shutout the Generals 4-0 in front of an Oshawa home crowd.
Michael DiPietro will be back between the pipes for Ottawa after posting an 8-0 record to go along with a 0.915 SAV% and a 2.26 GAA through the first two rounds. In Game 4 against Sudbury, DiPietro stopped 58 of 60 shots as the 67’s won in triple overtime, while Tye Felhaber put an end to the longest game ever in 67’s history, scoring his sixth goal of the playoffs. Felhaber was once again a scoring machine in Round 2, scoring one of two hat tricks in Game 1, with the other coming from.
Scouting the opposition
The Generals coasted through the first round against Peterborough but found themselves facing a tougher opponent after losing Games 1 and 2 against Niagara. But Oshawa goalie Kyle Keyser was a huge part in the team’s success in coming back to win the series and the Florida native enters the series against Ottawa with a 0.943 SAV% and a 2.09 GAA in 11 playoff games. Keyser was a key piece for the Generals all year, helping them place third in the Eastern Conference with 92 points, three points behind Niagara and 14 behind Ottawa. Brandon Saigeon, their leading scorer in the playoffs, has three goals and 10 assists and sits 15th in the league for playoff points. Two other Generals to look out for are forwards Kyle MacLean and Anthony Salinitri. MacLean has 12 points in 11 games and has maintained a 1.09 points-per-game average and had 60 points in the regular season, while Salinitri has proven to be a valuable asset for Oshawa after being traded from Sarnia. The Philadelphia Flyers draft pick has been busy in the playoffs with 10 points, 45 shots on net and three game-winning goals.
- Lyndon Slewidge, Ottawa’s most renowned anthem singer, will sing O’Canada prior to Game 1 on Thursday.
- The last time the 67’s played Game 1 of the Eastern Final, goalie Petr Mrazek stopped 49-51 shots in a 2-1 overtime loss to Niagara.
- Sasha Chmelevski will play his 20th career OHL playoff game on Thursday. He has six goals and 16 assists for 22 points in 19 games to date.
- Kyle Maksimovich, who has 14 points in six games in the playoffs this year, needs four points to hit 50 for his OHL career. Thursday will be his 62nd OHL playoff game.
- The 67’s and Generals are second and third in the league, respectively, on the powerplay in the playoffs, with Ottawa at 35.9% and Oshawa at 27.7%.
Full series schedule:
Game 1, Thurs., April 18 at Ottawa, 7:00
Game 2, Sat., April 20 at Ottawa, 2:00
Game 3, Sun., April 21 at Oshawa, 6:05
Game 4, Wed., April 24 at Oshawa, 7:05
Game 5, Fri., April 26 at Ottawa, 7:00*
Game 6, Sun., April 28 at Oshawa, 6:05*
Game 7, Mon., April 29 at Ottawa, 7:00*