BY: Kathryn Jean
OTTAWA – It’s all over for the Ottawa 67’s. The Wolves scored 4 straight goals to beat the 67’s 5-3 in front of a disappointed home crowd of 6,047. The win ended the 67’s playoff run as the Wolves swept the first round series 4-0 to secure a birth into the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
The 67’s came out of the gate with a lot of energy and controlling much of the pace of the game. Shane Prince was left wide open on a 3-on-2 rush and made a great move to beat Valiquette to get the 67’s on the board first.
There was no love lost between these two Eastern Conference opponents as both teams continued to play very physical. Jake Cardwell got into a lengthy tilt with Mike MacDonald. With them still in the box, Marcus Foligno gets tossed out of the game after taking a 5 minute major for a check to the head of defenceman Adam Sedlak. Sedlak was helped off the ice and did not return. The hit will be reviewed and Foligno could face further disciplinary action.
The 5 minute penalty kill didn’t phase the Wolves as Michael Sgarbossa continued his dominance and scored shorthanded 2 minutes in to tie the game at 1 from a big one-timer from the point. The Wolves would continue to kill off the major until Frank Corrado takes a penalty for holding. The 67’s would get the lead back when Dalton Smith scored right off the face-off.
Things were looking up for the 67’s. Dalton Smith would score his second of the game at 14:03 in the second period to extend the 67’s lead to 3-1. However, a couple minutes later, Joshua Leivo would score the Wolves second short-handed goal of the game to cut the lead to one.
Just under 6 minutes into the 3rd period, Sgarbossa continued his hot hand and wrists one in from the slot for his second goal of the game. This tied up the game and marked the second straight game the 67’s gave up a two goal lead. Things would continue to get worse for the 67’s when the Wolves went up 4-3 midway through the 3rd. Josh McFadden notched his 4th of the playoffs off a shot from the point which deflected off of Martindale's stick and in behind Petr Mrazek.
A solid performance by Valiquette and a bit of help from the posts, from then on in the Wolves shut the door and dominated most of the play. With the final seconds looming, Ottawa-native Eric O’Dell would seal the deal with an empty net goal. As final buzzer sounded to end the game, it also sounded on the OHL careers of 67’s Captain Thomas Nesbitt and veteran leaders Cody Lindsay and Travis Gibbons.
The Sudbury Wolves move on to face the top ranked Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The Wolves will open up round two on the road. Dates and times will be announced by the OHL by Monday.