By Jared Crozier, SenShot
With the 67's on the outside looking in in terms of a playoff berth, they needed a win over the 8th place Kingston Frontenacs on Friday night and that is exactly what they got. It wasn't the prettiest of games, but at this point the 67's will take wins any way they can get them. After falling behind 3-0 before the second period was three minutes old, Cody Ceci started and then ended a four goal in ten minute outburst to get his 67's club back in the game with a pair of goals. Tyler Graovac notched his second hat trick of the season, scoring the winning goal with 2:14 remaining to break a 6-6 tie, and then adding the empty netter for an exciting 8-6 win. Graovac also chipped in a pair of assists for a five point night while Sean Monahan contributed a goal and three assists as Ottawa's best players were indeed Ottawa's best players on the night.
Nevin Guy earned his first OHL point, an assist on Graovac's second period goal. The two Taylors, Fielding and Davis, rounded out the scoring for the 67's. Kingston's Spencer Watson had three points in the third period, including a penalty shot goal, to try to will the Frontenacs back into the game, but in the end it wasn't enough.
Jacob Blair got the win in net, after replacing Keegan Wilson following the goal that gave Kingston a 3-0 lead.
In addition to all the scoring, this game also had its share of nastiness. There were major penalties, instigators and a couple of fights as 67's players stood up for each other after a couple of perceived liberties taken by Frontenac players. In fact, it was the Frontenacs Mike Moffat's charging major that was the turning point for Ottawa. The 67's scored twice on the ensuing power play to get within a goal, in a game that they had no business being in up to that point.
Graovac's hat trick gives him 14 goals on the season, in just 12 games. He moved 3 goals ahead of Anthony Camara for the OHL lead. Monahan's 4 points moved him into a tie for 3rd in scoring, just one point back of Mark Scheifele and Nick Cousins. Graovac is one point back of Monahan, tied for 6th in league scoring.
This was a big win for Ottawa on a number of fronts. They passed the Peterborough Petes to get out of the basement in the Eastern Conference, and also moved within two points of Kingston for the 8th and final playoff spot. It is still early in the season, but being able to catch and pass teams now makes it easier to stay ahead of them later on.
This sets up what should be a very entertaining game Monday morning as the 67's host Kingston in the annual school day game. Puck drop for what is sure to be the largest crowd of screaming youngsters this season is 10:30 am.