"It was a good start for sure,” said Graovac of his three early goals. “I wanted to come into this game and bring some momentum for the boys and I thought I did that. I'm just sick of losing, we have a winning team here and we're very competitive.”
Graovac’s opened the scoring on the first shot of the game just 28 seconds in. He added to his goal total at the 3:40 mark and finished the hattrick with a shorthanded goal less than five minutes later.
After taking a 3-1 lead into the second, Ottawa didn’t take their pedal off the gas, firing 17 shots at the Erie net before the visitors had a shot on goal in the period. Remy Giftopoulos and Sean Monahan scored 30 seconds apart to open up a four-goal lead, and Graovac appeared to score a fourth goal that ended up being waved off.
The disallowed marker wouldn’t matter, however, as the 67’s piled it on in the third period, adding another three goals to win by a touchdown.
In a confusing twist to the game, both teams dressed a Connor Brown, and both namesakes wore #28 to make matters worse. Both had a goal on the afternoon, with Ottawa’s being a +1 and Erie’s being a -4. Erie rookie sensation Connor McDavid had an assist on the goal, but was also a -4 on the day.
Jacob Blair made 22 stops for his first career OHL win. Head coach Chris Byrne liked what he saw from Blair, but also gave a lot of credit to the defence. "I thought the guys played well in front of him. There were stretches where he didn't have too much action, but when he was called upon, I thought he made some pretty good stops.” Oscar Dansk made 33 saves for the Otters, who fall to 1-3-1.
The game sheet can be found here.
The 67’s have the day off tomorrow, before heading back to practice on Monday afternoon and heading to Belleville to play the Bulls next Saturday night. They return home to play Sudbury the next day.
Three Stars as Selected by the Team1200
Hardest Working 67's as Selected by the Team1200: Brett GustavsonAssorted Notes:
- The game reached a boiling point with several scrums and a pair of fights. Sean Callaghan and Daniel Walsh each have nine fights remaining before an imminent suspension comes into place, as they dropped the gloves with Connor Crisp and Nick Betz respectively from Erie.
- Graovac appeared to have a fourth goal, as the puck clearly caused the net to bulge, but it was still disallowed. "I saw it go in, but it's not my call. It would've been nice to have that fourth one, but what can you do?" A picture that's worth the thousand words in this case (courtesy of Robert Lefebvre of Ice Level Photography:
- Byrne made a point to talk about Graovac's play on the other side of the puck as well. "He played well defencively, it was his line's job to match up against their top line and they did a good job of that today."
- It looks like the players are starting to get used to each other on the ice - more passes to guys in the same jerseys in the right spot.
- Strong play on the PK - during the stretch where the 67's had a 5-min penalty and another 2 minute penalty was added (for a full 2 minutes of 5-on-3) Erie didn't get a single shot on goal.
- Firsts for the weekend: Dante notched his first OHL goal and his first OHL penalty.
- Another first today, Taylor Davis made his OHL debut. He was even for the day which is a good way to start.
Taylor Davis' first game.