After a disappointing game 4 loss at home, the Ottawa 67’s found themselves in a hole looking at a 3-1 series deficit. A deficit they were able to overcome in round 2, but this time it was against a team that was relatively healthy and could roll a full four lines no problem.
It was not the start Ottawa wanted. With Dalton Smith in the box for boarding, Freddie Hamilton set up Ryan Strome in the high slot and wired it past Petr Mrazek at the 2:02 mark of the first period to end his 6 game goalless drought.
Ottawa would respond with just over one minute later on the powerplay. Mark Visentin made a huge save off a Mike Cajkovsky point shot, but let out a big rebound. Sean Monahan was right in front and redirected the rebound into the back of the net.
The fans at the Gatorade Garden City Complex were treated to a nearly 20 minute delay well before the halfway mark of the game with a malfunctioning penalty box door. Perhaps the IceDogs may have caught a break, as the 67’s were starting to get back into the game with a sense of urgency. Play resumed for the 14 minute mark and Mrazek came up big stopping 17 of 19 shots fired his way in the first period as Niagara dominated the last half of the period. Freddie Hamilton added a late goal after the 67’s got caught flatfooted creating a clean breakaway and Hamilton slid the puck through the fivehole on Mrazek.
The 67’s would come out for the second period until they ran into some penalty trouble. Just as the powerplay expired, Alex Friesen would give the IceDogs a two-goal lead after tipping in a Dougie Hamilton shot from the short side. Mrazek and Visentin were solid the rest of the period.
A powerplay midway through the third period would give the 67’s some life. Tyler Toffoli fed Jake Cardwell who was all alone out front and made no mistake to tap it into a wide open net.
The 67’s caught another break as Freddie Hamilton took a bad penalty in the last two minutes. The 67’s fired everything they could at Visentin, but despite two extra attackers and the scrambles out front – the buzzer horned signalling the end of the game. The end of the series and the end of junior hockey careers for Marc Zanetti, Daniel Broussard and Mike Cazzola.
The 67’s fell 3-2 to the Ice Dogs in regulation and fall 4 games to 1 in the series. The Ice Dogs advance to the OHL Finals vs the London Knights for the first time in their club history.