The quest for the Memorial Cup continued in the Canadian Hockey League for a handful of Devils prospects today. All three were in action as the third rounds of the OHL, QMJHL and WHL moved to game two.
We begin in Ontario where Mitchell Hoelscher and the Ottawa 67’s put their perfect record in these playoffs up against the Oshawa Generals in their game two. This was the earliest of today’s three games, beginning at 2 PM in Ottawa.
The 67’s remained unbeaten as they defeated the Generals in a 7-3 rout.
It was a close affair early on as Oshawa surprised the 67’s by scoring just 28 seconds into the game. The Generals got a goal off the stick of Brandon Saigeon. It was 1-0 just like that but it would be back-and-forth through the second period.
Ottawa tied it at 7:03 when Sasha Chmelevski potted one from Graeme Clarke. That duo would give the 67’s the lead a little under six minutes later. This time it was Clarke scoring off an assist from Chmelevski. That made it 2-1 67’s.
The Generals’ Serron Noel tied it up before the first break when he beat Ottawa goalie Michael DiPietro. It was 2-2 going into the intermission.
Only one goal was scored in the second period and that came off the stick of Ottawa’s Tye Felhaber on the power play. Oshawa’s Danil Antropov was called for hooking and Ottawa capitalized on the power play opportunity, their first of two power play goals on the afternoon. The goal came at the 17:14 mark of the second.
The Generals tied things up just 37 seconds into the third frame when Allan McShane scored, but from there the 67’s took control, scoring four straight unanswered for the win.
Marco Rossi scored at 3:11 on the power play to put Ottawa back in front in what would prove to be the game-winning goal. Hoelscher scored 4:01 later to make it 5-3. Chmelevski scored at 8:44 to make it 6-3 and finally, Kyle Maksimovich made it 7-3 at 11:16, which was the final.
Things got a little bit crazy penalty-wise in the third period when the Generals’ Giovanni Vallati and Chmelevski were assessed matching unsportsmanlike conduct minors at 12:00 of the frame.
In goal, DiPietro made 25 saves on 28 Oshawa shots while Kyle Keyser started for the Generals but only played 51:16. stopping 29 of 36. Aidan Hughes came on in relief with 8:44 left in the game and stopped all six shots he saw. Ottawa out shot Oshawa 42-28. For reference, Oshawa had the first three shots of the game, scoring on one, but Ottawa came back to take the next eight shots.
On the man advantage, the Generals were 0-for-3 while the 67’s converted on two of four opportunities.
Hoelscher’s stat line read: the goal for a point, two shots, an even plus/minus, two penalty minutes (a hooking penalty at 13:42 of the third which was obviously killed off) and won 12 of the 19 faceoffs he took. He was also named the game’s third star.
Game three of this series takes place on Easter Sunday, the 21st at 6:05 PM from the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa. The 67’s will try to continue to remain undefeated through the playoffs tomorrow.
For game two of today’s triple-header, we move east to Drummondville in the Quebec League where Jocktan Chainey and the Halifax Mooseheads were down 1-0 in their series with the Drummondville Voltigeurs.
This was an exciting one that took two overtimes to determine, with Halifax winning 5-4 and tying up the series at a game apiece.
Drummondville’s Dawson Mercer kicked off this high-scoring affair when he found the back of the net at 17:05 of the first period. The Voltigeurs went into the first intermission with this 1-0 lead and would double it up 3;43 into the second. The second goal was scored by Cedric Desruisseaux.
From there, the Mooseheads came roaring back, courtesy of one Raphael Lavoie. He scored twice less than 1:30 apart with both goals coming on separate power plays to make the game level at two apiece. His goals came at 6:54 and 8:01 of the second frame.
Maxime Comtois gave Drummondville back the 3-2 lead midway through second at 13:30, but Lavoie would complete the hat trick with less than one minute remaining in the second to knot the score again, this time at three.
The Voltigeurs again retook the lead at the 11:25 mark of the third period to set up a frantic finish.
But Halifax would never need to pull goaltender Alexis Gravel. Drummondville’s Comtois took a hooking penalty at 17:28 of the third and the Mooseheads were on the power play.
They would make the most of it when Samuel Asselin scored at 18:41 to tie the game up at four and we were headed to OT.
After a scoreless first OT period, we went to double OT and it was here, at 5:45, that Arnaud Durandeau scored the game-winner to tie the best-of-seven series up at one game each.
In the end, it was special teams that helped win the game for Halifax. The Mooseheads were 3-for-4 on the their power play opportunities but kept Drummondville to 0-for-3.
Between the pipes, Gravel stopped 38 of 42 Voltigeur shots while Anthony Morrone turned aside 50 of 55 Moosehead shots. Each goalie played 85:45 during this contest.
Jocktan Chainey’s stat line saw him a minus-2 plus/minus with one shot (classified as a high chance shot) and one hit.
Next up for these weary combatants: game three on Tuesday the 23rd at 6 PM ET from the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.
Our final stop on our tour across Canada took us to Langley, British Columbia for game two between the Spokane Chiefs and the Vancouver Giants. Vancouver was up 1-0 in this WHL semifinal series.
This one turned into a shocker late as the Giants were down 2-0 for the first two periods before staging a comeback in the third to win the game 4-2 and take a 2-0 series lead.
Noah King got Spokane on the board in the first when he scored with less than 20 seconds remaining in the opening frame at 19:41. Jaret Anderson-Dolan then scored 19 seconds into the second period to make it 2-0 Chiefs. The Chiefs had essentially scored 40 seconds apart on their two goals.
Spokane seemed like it was cruising to evening up the series when disaster struck, namely the third period.
It began 5:15 in when Dawson Holt scored to get the Giants within one. Then, number 22, Jared Dmytriw, scored two goals 22 seconds apart to tie the game and then give the lead to Vancouver. He beat Bailey Brkin at 7:11 and 7:33.
The Chiefs’ Bear Hughes was called for high sticking at 8:19 and Yannik Valenti converted on the power play opportunity to put the icing on the cake for the Giants. That goal, at 8:36, put Vancouver up 4-2 and that was our final.
The game ended with some fireworks as Jake McGrew (Spokane) and Bowen Byram (Vancouver) were each assessed roughing minors at the 20 minute mark of the third.
Spokane ended the game 0-for-2 on the power play while the Giants were clicking at 50-percent (1-for-2) with the man advantage.
Brkin made 40 saves on a 44 shot onslaught by the Giants. He was pulled with about 3:30 to go in regulation but Spokane could not get anything going offensively. For Vancouver, David Tendeck made 24 saves on 26 shots against.
Ty Smith had a stat line of a plus-1 plus/minus and three shots on goal.
Next for these teams, game three will take place Tuesday, April 23 from Spokane, Washington with a 10:05 PM ET puck drop.
To finish up with some news from the big club, Marc Ciampa of NewJerseyDevils.com is reporting that Cory Schneider has been one of the first 17 players named to the squad for Team USA at the upcoming IIHF World Championships. In addition, Jesper Bratt will be representing Sweden at the tournament, which begins on May 10.