Photo| Valerie Wutti/Blitzen Photography/Ottawa 67’s
Relentless. That’s the only word to describe the 67’s recent home ice performances. They proved it again on Valentine’s Day with a three-goal comeback against one of the top teams in the OHL’s eastern conference.
For the second straight game, the 67’s erased a 3-0 deficit with four unanswered goals and won 4-3. This one came over the Kingston Frontenacs, and vaults the 67’s into a tie for fifth in the east – four points back of Niagara for home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.
After the Frontenacs won a puck race into the corner, Ted Nichol walked in front of the Ottawa net and fired home the game’s opening goal for the visitors – it was 1-0 Kingston toward the end of the first period.
Kingston had the second goal too, and it was right off the bat in the second period. Jason Robertson notched his first of the game at 1:30 of the second on the power play. Ottawa ran into some penalty trouble in the second half of the period and the Frontenacs made them pay for it at 14:22. Robertson took a cross-crease pass from Gabriel Villardi and buried a high shot on the short side of Olivier Tremblay to pace the Fronts to a 3-0 lead.
The 67’s then pulled out their never-say-die attitude for a second straight game and mounted a comeback. It began with a Mitch Hoelscher goal when he took a pass from Austen Keating in the slot and one-timed it past Jeremy Helvig to cut the deficit to 3-1 after two periods.
Right off the bat in the third the 67’s went to the power play, and a familiar goal-scorer got his 21st of the season. Felhaber waited patiently at the back door, and took a cross-ice pass and made no mistake to pull the 67’s to within a goal.
Then, Felhaber struck again at 7:19, and the game was tied at 3-3.
The teams played even, end-to-end hockey for the duration of the third untilFelhaber put the cherry on top of his magical night completing both the natural hat trick and, more importantly, the 67’s victory scoring with less than four minutes remaining to extend Ottawa’s winning streak to five games and running their point streak to nine games.
Ottawahead out on the road to visit Guelph (Friday) and Owen Sound (Saturday) before hosting the Kitchener Rangers on Monday on a special Family Day matinee.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Head coach André Tourigny
On the 67’s changed mindset… “We are proud of the way we play. On the bench, we have players who cheer for guys who play the right way. Not because they made a highlight-reel play, not because he scored a goal – but because he took his guy on the tracking, or because he took his guy on the breakout. Before we weren’t proud of ourselves, but now we’re being confident.”
On conditioning late in games… “We think (conditioning) is the difference. Sean Young has done an unbelievable job as strength and conditioning coach, we are working every day and they do a fantastic job. In the third period today, we were all over them and it’s been like that every game.”
F Tye Felhaber
On staying positive on the bench… “We have a philosophy called W.I.N. – what’s important now. You can’t let stuff bother you because you can’t change what happened. You can learn from it, and you have to focus on what’s important now. And that was getting the two points. We were down by three, we needed to come back, and we did.”
- With today’s goal in the first period, 67’s F Mitch Hoelscher has now compiled a six-game point streak. He also has scored four of his seven goals in the last five games.
- Felhaber also now has a six-game point streak and surpassed his career-high in goals on his first of the game. After the hat trick,
- Felhaber has 23 goals on the season – his previous high was 20. Felhaber now has 11 goals in his last nine games.
- Tremblay turned aside 33 of 36 shots to claim his fifth straight win. He hasn’t lost a game in regulation since January 20.
- The 67’s are now winners of five straight games and hold a 9-2-4-1 record in 2018.