To say that the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s are on a tear would be an understatement.
After sweeping the Hamilton Bulldogs in the opening round of the OHL playoffs and then shutting out the Sudbury Wolves in the exact same fashion in the second round, the 67’s are now just one win away from handing the same fate to the Oshawa Generals thanks to their 3-0 series lead.
A record of 11-0. That’s not too shabby, I suppose.
Dallas Stars prospect Tye Felhaber has been a huge part of Ottawa’s success thus far, scoring nine goals and 10 assists in 19 games, which is good for second on the team. His production has ticked up a bit in this series against the Generals as well, with three goals and six points in the three games. On top of all of that, he’s also riding an eight-game point streak.
Part of that recent success might have come from an unlikely source: Claude Giroux.
As reported by the London Free Press:
When Ottawa 67’s star Tye Felhaber’s good friend Claude Giroux came to check out the action Thursday, he liked what he saw and heard.
“He said it was nice to be back in a junior environment and he really likes our fans, how the turnout was and how loud they were,” Felhaber said of Giroux, the Philadelphia Flyers’ captain and former Gatineau Olympiques star.
Felhaber says the TD Place crowd of 6,522 was definitely a factor in the come-from-behind 6-4 Game 1 victory over the Oshawa Generals. The 67’s are optimistic that the crowd will be even larger for Saturday’s Game 2, a 2 p.m. start.
“It makes a huge difference,” said Felhaber. “(Trailing) 4-2, we were coming back, trying to make a push and the crowd was going as loud as possible and helping us. It wasn’t our best game, but they stuck with us the whole way. We’ve had a couple of tough years here so fans definitely deserve to see what it used to be like coming to a 67’s game, and we’re going to give them that show.”
Felhaber also said that how the team prepares — honing their identity and developing unique gameplans for each new opponent — has been huge, as reported by the Montreal Gazette.
“Everybody (has been) buying into our systems. We have a game plan for every team we play and we know (what to do) when we study the other team” Felhaber said. “With that being said, focusing on what we do right and what we’ve been doing right all season, is focusing on our skills and make plays.
“We’re not forcing anything but if there’s a play to be made don’t be afraid to make it and you have to trust what you know best.”
Felhaber and the 67’s will have the chance to make it 12-0 and punch their ticket to the OHL finals in Game 4 on Wednesday.
North American Juniors
Over in the other ongoing series in the OHL playoffs, forward Liam Hawel and the Guelph Storm find themselves down 2-0 against the Saginaw Spirit. Hawel has one assist in the series, which came in a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 2. After playing wing for most of the year and all throughout the playoffs, Hawel was moved back to the pivot position for Game 2.
2017 fifth rounder Jacob Peterson hit a pretty cool career marker on Sunday, scoring the opening goal of the 2019 SHL finals. He played 12:42 of ice time as his Frolunda team won the game 5-3 over Djurgarden to take a 1-0 series lead.
Peterson is now up to six points in 11 playoff games this spring.
The only other non-NHL playoff action going on right now that involves Dallas Stars prospects is in the ECHL. The always dangerous Idaho Steelheads defeated the Utah Grizzlies in the opening round in five games and are awaiting their next opponent.
The 21-year-old Colton Point spent half of his season with the Steelheads, but isn’t playing right now in the playoffs, as 24-year-old netminder (and likely ECHL Goaltender of the Year) Tomas Sholl is the team’s starter, with the experienced 28-year-old Ryan Faragher backing him up.
Big defenseman Ondrej Vala has played all five Idaho games so far in a shutdown role. Winger Tony Calderone is also eligible to play for the team, but is currently out with an injury.