December 06, 2013

Consecutive First Overall Picks Go Toe-To-Toe On National TV

On a night where the 67’s top line and defensive pairing smothered the Erie Otters’ dynamic duo of Connor McDavid and Andre Burakovsky, it was an Erie powerplay that saw the top lines separated, leading to the winning goal in a 2-0 Ottawa loss.

In the second period, with Taylor Fielding and Sam Studnicka in the penalty box, and five Otters forwards on the ice, Dane Fox took a pass at the point from Burakovsky, burying his OHL-leading 35th goal of the year.

“For a long time the 5-on-3 goal was the difference,” said Chris Byrne.  “We asked our guys to play hard and work right to the end, and they did that.”

“We don't like losing.  It's a room right now that doesn't like losing.  But you can appreciate the effort and hard work.”

For the majority of the night, Byrne stuck with the head-to-head matchup that pinned his top line, Ryan Van Stralen, Joseph Blandisi and Travis Konecny, with Jonathan Duchesne and Jake Middleton on defence, against the McDavid-Burakovsky duo that swapped wingers throughout the night.

Burakovsky, who hit the post twice in the third period, finally put the game away with less than two minutes to go.

Aside from the visitors’ two powerplays, McDavid, the 2012 first overall pick, didn’t play a shift where he was away from 2013 first overall selection Konecny.

“He's obviously an unbelievable player,” McDavid said of Konecny.  “It was a lot of fun to play against him.  He played a pretty good game and with a couple of bounces, I think he could've had a couple points.”

McDavid, who had put up points in his last five games, was held off the scoresheet.

“They did a good job of shutting down our offensive zone.  There wasn't a lot of room to move.  Full credit to them, they played a great game.”

Konecny, the first player to be drafted over an exceptional status player in the priority draft, got his first up-close look at the last exceptional player to be taken first overall in McDavid.

“It was pretty neat playing against him,” said Konecny.  “I never really got to play against him growing up but playing against him here, and seeing him play, watching what he can bring to the table, I can use some of that to help myself.”

Oscar Dansk, who made a number of saves on two goalmouth scrambles generated by Ottawa’s top unit, finished the night with 32 stops and the first star.

Philippe Trudeau made 31 saves at the other end in his 16th consecutive start.

The 67’s take on Barrie on Sunday in their annual Teddy Bear Toss game.

Game sheet can be found here.

Assorted notes:
  • This was the best possible showing Ottawa could've given on a national broadcast.  They may not be able to beat top teams yet -- they're 2-12-1 against teams ranked fifth or higher in their conference -- but they can certainly hang in with them now.
  • Middleton and Duchesne haven't played a lot together after finishing last season together, but this was the best game of the year for them.  Duchesne was all over Burakovsky the entire game.  They smothered the top line, but ultimately, the powerplay spelled the end.
  • The officials didn't make the wrong calls per se leading to the decisive 5-on-3, but a pair of very minor stick infractions leading to the winning goal can't sit well with the 67's.
Shot tracker
Shot chart tracked by Kathryn Jean.  'X' marks Erie shooter.

First Period

Second Period

Third Period

Three Stars as Selected by TSN1200

 Hardest Working 67's:  Travis Konecny Hardest Working 67's: Travis Konecny 

Some Pictures from the game: 

 The night's main attraction - two outstanding 16 year old players in the OHL
The main attractions, Travis Konecny and Connor McDavid line up for the opening face off.  
Sam Studnicka playing a physical game.
 One of many scoring chances thwarted by Dansk.
Click here to see more pictures from the game.

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