OTTAWA — It isn’t as if Cody Ceci hadn’t heard the advice before, some of it unsolicited. “S-H-O-O-T.”
Time and time again, it’s what people, everyone it seems, told the Ottawa 67’s defenceman. “S-H-O-O-T.”
Head coach Chris Byrne began to sound like a broken record. His teammates wouldn’t stop reminding him. At home in Orléans, his father Parri and sister Chelsea couldn’t let go of it.
And, of course, the fans in the upper reaches of Rona Centre were thinking it, if not yelling it.
“Yeah, everyone was telling me,” Ceci said Thursday, a day after assisting on the first 67’s goal in Belleville and then, yes, shooting and scoring the game-winner en route to a 5-3 Ottawa win.
“I’m a little stubborn … But I finally just figured, ‘OK, I’ll shoot all the time and just see what happens.’”
Well, what happened is the 17-year-old went on a tear, rocketing up the scoring charts among Ontario Hockey League defenceman during the last 10 games, moving into a tie for 22nd.
During that time, Ceci has racked up two goals and eight points and is plus-nine. Go back to his last 20, and he has three goals and 13 points while playing at a plus-7 rate.
Those are breakout kind of numbers for a player who won’t be eligible for the National Hockey League draft until 2012 because of his late 1993 birth date.
The numbers are especially impressive when you consider Ceci scored his first goal on Oct. 24 in Game 12, and then went without a goal all of November and December before scoring No. 2 Jan. 16 in Game 44.
At the halfway point (34 games) of the season, his totals stood at one goal and 10 points and his plus-minus was a bust. That’s ancient history.
His second half numbers (3-12-15) have already allowed him to more than double his point production from his rookie year.
The difference, Ceci says, is
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