The Ottawa 67’s kicked off their 2017 home schedule in style on Saturday afternoon, downing the rival Kingston Frontenacs 6-2 at the Arena at TD Place.
Austen Keating, on a penalty shot, and Nolan Gardiner opened the scoring in the first period, while captain Travis Barron and leading-scorer Artur Tyanulin extended the Barber Poles’ lead in the middle frame as Ottawa moved to within a point of the Frontenacs for fifth spot in the OHL’s Eastern Conference. Tye Felhaber, who scored in the third, finished with a three-point night. Overage forward Patrick White added more insurance late in the game with his 13th of the year.
As the 67’s got scoring from throughout their lineup in this one, they also came up big in the blue paint as goalie Leo Lazarev stopped 43 shots, including 16 in the first period and 17 in the second, to preserve the win.
“He was on his game, that’s what we expect of him,” said 67’s Coach and General Manager Jeff Brown, who was back behind the bench after taking some time off from his coaching duties for health reasons. “It was a great start for him. But we have confidence in both guys, we’ll see Olivier (Lafreniere) on Sunday, Leo’s a little tired after all the shots today.”
Saturday’s game was a back-and-forth, fast-paced affair that started right from opening face-off. Though Ottawa was doubled up in the shots department in the first, the strong play of Lazarev allowed the 67’s to head into the intermission up a pair of goals. The first came courtesy of Nolan Gardiner, who banged in a rebound off a Kody Clark shot less than seven minutes into the game. Keating made it 2-0 after beating Frontenacs goalie Jeremy Helvig on a penalty shot, awarded after Ottawa’s sophomore forward was hauled down on a breakaway.
While Brown wasn’t happy to have given up the shots that his team did in this one, he was pleased with the offensive output.
“We were joking that we had them right where we wanted them, giving up 45 shots and winning 6-2,” Brown said with a chuckle. “It’s not ideal but we want to celebrate the victories. Offensively we were good but we have to continue to find ways to clamp down defensively.”
The second featured more of the same excitement, though it was Kingston who scored first in the middle frame, spoiling Lazarev’s shutout bid as Stephen Desrocher scored three minutes in. But Ottawa wasted little time restoring the two-goal cushion as Travis Barron, breaking in alone on Helvig, stretched the lead to 3-1 just three minutes later. Tyanulin, with his 17th of the year, scored with five minutes to go into the second to chase Helvig from the Kingston net.
The 67’s return to action on Sunday afternoon when they close out the weekend homestand against the North Bay Battalion at 2 p.m. at the Arena at TD Place.
Tickets for all Ottawa 67’s home games are available at Ottawa67s.com, calling 613.232.6767 X1, or in person at The Box Office at TD Place. All minor hockey players part of the 67’s Prospect Program presented by Enercare get in for FREE. For more information on the 67’s Prospect Program click here.
Click here for the complete 2016-17 Ottawa 67’s schedule.