The Ottawa 67’s and Mitchell Hoelscher had yet to lose a playoff game through the first three rounds of the 2019 Ontario Hockey League playoffs. They had won 12 straight games and tonight they began the OHL Final against the Guelph Storm and, once again, rolled on to victory. They beat Guelph by a score of 7-2 at TD Place in Ottawa. Ottawa now takes a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Sasha Chmelevski scored to give Ottawa the early 1-0 lead at 3:46 of the first period. He would go on to score two for the 67’s and be named the game’s third star of the night. Tye Felhaber added one late in the first, he too would score two on the night and be named the game’s second star. Felhaber’s first came on the power play for the 67’s.
The second period saw Lucas Chiodo score just 54 seconds in off an assist from Hoelscher. That made it 3-0 Ottawa.
But the Storm would fight back into things in the second frame. Isaac Ratcliffe scored at 1:50 and Nick Suzuki scored at the 10:16 mark to make it 3-2 67’s. Suzuki’s goal was on the power play.
That was as close as Guelph would get. Ottawa poured it on in the late-second and third periods scoring four unanswered from Marco Rossi (15:24 of the second), Chmelevski (10:36 of the third on the power play), Noel Hoefenmayer (11:31 of the third on the power play) and Felhaber (12:12 of the third on the power play) to give us our final of 7-2.
In a game filled with penalties, there was a scrap at the 6:34 mark of the second with Sam Bitten (Ottawa) going at it with Alexey Toropchenko (Guelph). Both received five minutes for fighting with Bitten taking the instigator and a ten-minute misconduct as well. Kody Clark of Ottawa was also assessed a goalie interference minor on the same play. In addition, at 8:14 of the third period, Guelph’s Fedor Gordeev took a five minute boarding major that also drew a game misconduct.
The goalies saw the Storm’s Anthony Popovich make 19 saves on 26 Ottawa shots. For the 67’s, Michael DiPietro turned aside a huge 37 of 39 shots against. He was named the game’s first star. Guelph was 1-for-8 on the power play while Ottawa was actually 4-for-3, scoring three times on the Gordeev boarding major.
Hoelscher’s stats saw him with the assist for a point, a plus-1 plus/minus, one shots on goal, four penalty minutes (a hooking penalty at 15:50 of the second and a tripping minor at 12:41 of the third) and ten faceoffs won on 17 taken.
Game two will take place on Saturday, May 4 at 2 PM ET from Ottawa.
A little bit east of Ottawa, game one of the Quebec League finals was also taking place tonight, pitting the Halifax Mooseheads and Jocktan Chainey against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Halifax dropped this one 5-2 to go down in this best-of-seven series 1-0.
The Huskies scored just 4:01 into the game when Rafael Harvey-Pinard made it 1-0. Felix Bibeau made it 2-0 at 9:34, but Justin Barron would get Halifax on the board before the first was out, scoring at 14:50 of the opening frame.
Noah Dobson scored on the power play to make it 3-1 at 7:38 of the second. But the Mooseheads would stay in things when Raphael Lavoie scored shorthanded at 13:57. Halifax was killing an Arnaud Durandeau elbowing minor penalty at the time. That made it 3-2.
But In the third period, Rouyn-Noranda got one more goal each from Harvey-Pinard and Bibeau (on the power play) to cap it off at 5-2.
This was another penalty-heavy game leaning towards the Mooseheads, with Halifax going 0-for-1 on the man advantage plus the shorthanded goal, while the Huskies were 2-for-9.
In goal, Alexis Gravel made 32 saves on 37 shots for Halifax while Rouyn-Noranda’s Samuel Harvey stopped 34 of 36 Mooseheads shots in getting the win.
Chainey was a minus-1 plus/minus and registered one hit in the game.
Game two of the President Cup Final will come to us from Rouyn-Noranda at 7 PM ET tomorrow, May 3.
Also of note was that the Western Hockey League recently named Devils prospect Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs their 2018-19 WHL Defenseman of the Year. Congratulations to him and it will be great to likely see him in a Devils uniform next season.
In addition to all of that, the 2019 IIHF World Championship is quickly coming up on us, starting May 10 from Slovakia. Nico Hischier will be representing Switzerland and Cory Schneider and coach John Hynes will be a part of the United States squad. In addition, other Devils-related players involved with the tournament will be Jesper Bratt and Jesper Boqvist of Sweden and Mackenzie Blackwood and Damon Severson of Canada.
In addition, possible future Devils first overall picks Jack Hughes (USA) and Kaapo Kakku (Finland) will be participating. It should be a great tournament and we will have coverage of it right here for you.