The Ottawa 67’s have been unstoppable these playoffs.
The Oshawa Generals will have to find a way, otherwise their OHL season is over.
Tye Felhaber scored twice and Marco Rossi added a goal and assist to help the 67’s push the Generals to the brink of playoff elimination with a 5-1 win, Apr. 21st, at the Tribute Communities Centre.
Ottawa now leads the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final, 3-0, and can complete the sweep with a win Wednesday night (Apr. 23) back in Oshawa.
Generals defenceman Nicolas Mattinen plans to leave it all out there in Game 4. He’s not ready to have his junior career end, nor does he believe fellow overagers Anthony Salinitri and Brandon Saigeon want it to end here either.
“I’m going to fight for my life.” said Mattinen, who helped lead the Hamilton Bulldogs to an OHL championship last season. “Every game could be my last, so I’ll be working my bag off and I’m sure Salinitri and Saigeon will do the same thing.
“We’ll lead by example and the guys will join the train.”
It was the first loss on home ice these playoffs for the Generals, but it comes against an Ottawa team that finished first overall in the regular season and is looking for its third-straight series sweep after winning 11 playoff games in a row.
“They’re the best team in the league for a reason and they keep showing it,” Walters said of Ottawa. “We’ve got to find a way to compete, to skate with them and to stop making mistakes. It’s obviously a battle coming forward at us, but we got real good character and I know that our guys will come out with their best on Wednesday.”
Goals by Felhaber and Jack Quinn, shorthanded, put Ottawa in front after the opening period. Mattinen gave the home crowd so hope midway through the second when Kyle MacLean dropped a pass back into the slot to the trailing veteran, who snapped a high-rising shot over the glove of 67’s goaltender Michael DiPietro.
It would be as close as Oshawa would get though. Rossi, with Ottawa on the power play, restored the two-goal lead less than two minutes later and then overager Lucas Chiodo made it 4-1 in the final minute of the frame when Kyle Maksimovich found him alone in the slot.
Felhaber scored at 3:51 of the third to put the 67’s in command of this one and just a win away from reach the OHL championship.
“I think having these two days off is going to be good for us,” Mattinen said. “We can sit back, watch video and see where our mental breakdowns are. At times, we’re good. We can compete with them, we can outchance them in some periods, but we just got to be more consistent and compete at every opportunity we have.”
Game time Wednesday is 7:05 p.m.
photo: Head coach Greg Walters and the Oshawa Generals find themselves a game away from playoff elimination after dropping a 5-1 decision to the Ottawa 67’s, Apr. 21, at the Tribute Communities Centre. Terry Wilson/OHL Images