As mentioned, Mississauga jumped out to a two-goal lead with a pair of goals 46 seconds apart. Mika Partanen opened the scoring for the visitors with Steven Janes in the box for a scary check from behind, before Ottawa native Doug Harvey potted the second goal of his OHL career. Ottawa would come right back and erase this lead. Shane Prince’s 42nd goal of the year cut the lead in half, and in the final seconds of the opening frame, Mike Cazzola banked in a rebound to tie the game.
Ottawa also came out flying for the middle period. Their newly formed line of Tyler Graovac, Daniel Walsh and Nicholas Foglia had Mississauga pinned in their own end for a good two minutes, but were unable to convert. The strong play of Majors goaltender Brandon Maxwell seemed to spark the visitors for the second half of the period. Spenser Cobbold and Trevor Carrick restored the two goal advantage before the period was up.
It didn’t take long for St. Mike’s to extend the lead, as Sergey Kuptsov wired a wrister past Michael Nishi, topping off the insurance goal with an exuberant goal celebration clearly aimed at the Ottawa bench. The showboating didn’t go unnoticed, with Sean Callaghan standing Kuptsov up at the line shortly thereafter.
Cazzola scored his second of the game and tenth of the season, a powerplay marker seven and a half minutes into the third period to make it 5-3, but that’s as close as the home team would get. In the final twenty seconds, Cobbold went in on a slow, dragged-out 3-on-0 on Ottawa’s empty net with Riley Brace and Jamie Wise, the latter of which eventually scored the goal. Jake Cardwell took exception to the Majors’ showing up Ottawa with a late shot at Brace, but that’s would be all, as the 67’s sent more than 7,700 fans home disappointed. Nishi made 29 saves in a losing effort, while Maxwell made 35 at the other end.
The loss, to go along with Niagara’s 5-2 win against Kingston, all but assure that the 67’s will finish second place in the Eastern Conference for a third consecutive year. To win the conference, Ottawa would have to win out, including a game against the Ice Dogs next Saturday, and Niagara would have to lose the rest of the way.
As mentioned, this could be a playoff matchup in the first round should Mississauga stumble a little towards the end of the year. As of right now, the Oshawa Generals would be the first round matchup. The first round opponent will either be Oshawa, Mississauga, or the Belleville Bulls, who recently clinched a playoff spot.
Either way, it’s apparent that performances like this won’t give Ottawa a good chance, no matter who they play in the first round.
Click here for the game sheet.
Some pictures from the game:
Click here to see more pictures.