Despite trailing the Oshawa Generals by a pair heading into the third period on Thursday night, an Ottawa rally in the final frame pushed the 67’s to a 6-4 win and a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Noel Hoefenmayer scored what would stand as the winner with a little more than five minutes to go in what was a four-goal third period for the Barber Poles, who have won all nine games they have played in the post-season this year.
Sasha Chmelevski and Mitchell Hoelscher, an unsung hero for the club throughout the playoffs, scored seven minutes apart in the third to erase a 4-2 Oshawa lead, while Kody Clark provided some insurance with an empty net goal. Rookie Marco Rossi, meanwhile, finished with two goals and two assists following a big first period.
Mikey DiPietro record his ninth-straight playoff win while making 16 saves on the night. Generals goalie Kyle Keyser turned away 31 shots.
The game started tentatively as both teams felt each other out for the first few minutes before Oshawa opened the scoring in the series courtesy of Brett Neumann’s fifth of the post-season. That lead didn’t last long as Marco Rossi scored his first of two goals three minutes later, before giving the 67’s the lead three minutes after that.
The next three goals came from the Generals as Danil Antropov and Brandon Saigeon, with two, each scored to give Oshawa the lead heading into the third period.
The Barber Poles return to the ice at The Arena at TD Place for Game 2 on Saturday at 2 p.m.
What they’re saying
Andre Tourigny, 67’s Head Coach
They showed a lot of character but I’m realty proud of the attitude of the boys. They stayed composed and in the moment and didn’t panic. We will make a few adjustments, they will make a few, they will get better and we need to get better as well. The team that improves the most will have the best chance to win the series. They’ve shown how resilient they can be so we need to stay focused on the task ahead.”
Noel Hoefenmayer, 67’s defenceman
We’re deep all the way through he lineup, that’s been a huge part of what’s made us successful all year.
(The crowd) today was unbelievable. All playoffs it’s been a huge factor and given us the extra boost when we need it. A good example is when we were going into the third period, they were loud and they had our backs the whole time and it helped us out a lot.”
- Chmelevski, Rossi, Hoefenmayer, Clark and Felhaber all had multi-point nights.
- 67’s defenceman Kevin Bahl was a team-best plus-4 on the night.
- Hoefenmayer led the way with six shots, while Rossi and Felhaber were close behind with five each.
- Each team scored once on the powerplay in the game.
The 67’s once again had the edge in face-offs, going 36-22 against Oshawa.