The last regular season game played at the J. Benson Cartage Center was an emotional night for many longtime fans. The near sellout attendance of 9,250 were thanked for their support with a pre-game video montage on the score board, before being treated to a wild 6-4 win over the Sudbury Wolves, who eliminated the 67's last season in the playoffs.
Sudbury got on the board first. Josh McFadden scored just under five minutes into the first period, a goal which originally had an assist given to Michael Sgarbossa. The assist was later taken away, and Sgarbossa's OHL points lead didn't increase. By the end of the night, he would no longer have sole possession of the league lead in points.
Ottawa answered back in a hurry. Tyler Graovac chipped the puck by a falling McFadden, setting up a shorthanded 2-on-0 where he fed Cody Ceci for a tap-in to tie the game.
The home side wasted no time getting started in the second. Sean Callaghan scored his third career goal and first as a defenceman (he scored two while playing forward) just over a minute into the middle period. Tyler Toffoli's slow-roller ten minutes later stretched the lead to 3-1, and with that, for the second year in a row, Toffoli became a 50-goal scorer.
In the third, Ottawa continued piling onto their lead, as Steven Janes scored his 16th of the year. After that, however, the momentum completely shifted. Nathan Pancel scored on the powerplay just over a minute later to cut the lead in half, and before the halfway point of the third, Sudbury had tied the game thanks to goals from Justin Sefton and Michael Kantor.
Shane Prince wouldn't allow the Wolves to ruin this night, though. The Senators prospect dragged the puck through the Sudbury defence, scoring a beautiful goal on an individual effort. Toffoli topped it off with his 51st of the season, on a 5-on-3, putting the game out of reach for the visitors and tying himself with Sgarbossa with 98 points.
Petr Mrazek was solid early in the game and shut the door as the game drew to a close, finishing the night with 41 saves. At the other end, Johan Mattson received some much needed help from his goalposts several times throughout the night, he stopped 26 shots in the losing cause.
Although the Eastern Conference has already been decided in the favour of the Niagara Ice Dogs, the 67's take on Niagara tomorrow in their home arena, finishing off the final weekend of the 2011-2012 season on Sunday in Brampton.
The game sheet can be found here.
Random Thoughts from Behind the Lens:
- Tyler Toffoli's 50th goal was a less than - he was the last 67's player to touch the puck as a Sudbury player put it in his own net. That's why his celebration is rather subdued. But, a goal's a goal!
- I thought Steven Janes was the most enthusiastic player for all the goals of his team mates. He looked the happiest for all of them.
While Monahan's stick has gone cold lately, he's still working hard in all the tough places and making the other teams pay attention to him.
- Players are starting to get healthy again which is good timing. I believe Broussard is the only remaining player without a known schedule for returning.
- The Eastern Coaches poll was released earlier this week and a few Ottawa 67's were among the noted players: Tyler Toffoli for most dangerous around the net, best shot, and best shoot out shooter; Cody Ceci for the hardest shot, second for best offensive defenceman and third for best shot blocker; and Petr Mrazek third for shoot-out goalie.
- Cody Ceci made a dramatic jump in the eyes of Craig Button.