This is it. The 67’s are back in St. Catharines facing elimination and must defeat the IceDogs tonight at 7 p.m. to keep their opening round series going.
After dropping a heartbreaker at home on Wednesday night, Ottawa finds themselves down three games to one to Niagara in the best of seven series. The Barber Poles had all the momentum nearing the end of Game 4, tying it up 1-1 with just over three minutes left in the contest.
Nathan Todd continued his postseason dominance, scoring his third goal in four playoff games and sending Game 4 into overtime. The crowd at TD Place once again gave the team a huge boost, as the 5000+ fans erupted into elation when Todd potted the tying goal.
Once into overtime, the game did not last long. 46 seconds in, Niagara forward Jordan Maletta beat Leo Lazarev on a partial breakaway to end it and put Ottawa on the ropes in the series.
The boys will need to put that tough loss beind them and focus on just winning one game. If they can down the ‘Dogs in Niagara tonight, they’ll force a Game 6 back in Ottawa tomorrow night at 7 p.m.
This rare occurrence of back-to-back OHL playoff games could be a blessing in disguise for the team, as if the 67’s can get a victory, they’ll have an enormous amount of momentum to carry them into Saturday’s contest.
To secure Game 6 though, they’ll have to do something they’ve only done once in the past 18 months. They’ll need to beat the IceDogs in Niagara. They did so back in November, doubling them up 6-3.
Both teams have gone through significant changes since then though, so this may be a tall order for the Barber Poles. The biggest difference between November’s IceDogs team and tonight’s must be netminder Alex Nedeljkovic.
The goaltender had a rough start to the postseason, giving up 11 goals in the first three matches, though he rebounded in a big way in Game 4. Nedeljkovic turned away 30 of 31 shots fired his way and looked like the goalie Ottawa is used to facing.
It looks as though this series will decided between the pipes. If the 67’s can get to Nedeljkovic then they stand a chance at sending it to Game 6, though they’ll also help from their netminder. Lazarev put together another impressive performance in Game 4 and if it hadn’t been for Maletta’s breakaway winner, this series could be down to a best of three.
Where to Watch
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If the boys can pull out a win tonight in Game 5, they’ll head home riding high and ready for a quick turnaround. Game 6 will be played Saturday night at 7 p.m. Sweet seats are available by clicking here, calling 613-232-6767 x1, or in person at the TD Place Box Office.