November 16, 2014

There's no place like home: Studnicka's hat trick leads 67's to 6th straight win at home

Sam Studnicka’s 3-goal game led the Ottawa 67’s to an 8-5 victory over the visiting Guelph Storm. The victory adds to Ottawa’s undefeated home streak of 6 straight wins and puts the team over .500.

“We want to build a home identity and I think we’re doing a really good job at that,“ said Studnicka who’s hat-trick was the first of his OHL career.

“Any time I get three goals, it’s a rare night, but it feels good.  I just shot the puck tonight and things worked out for us.”

After a couple slow starts this season, the Ottawa 67’s came out strong outshooting the Guelph Storm 19-9 in the opening frame. Sam Studnicka opened the scoring just 2:20 in after finally knocking in his third consecutive rebound. Rebound control was an issue early on for Storm netminder Justin Nichols. Nathan Todd notched his first OHL career goal after knocking in rebound from a quick Travis Barron shot. Todd was left wide open at the side of the net and gave Ottawa an early 2-0 lead 6:38 into the game.

“It’s been a team effort every game this year. All our wins, different guys step up. [Studnicka]’s a great player. He’s one of those guys that earns everything he gets. I’ll have a guy like that in my lineup any time. He’s a character guy, honest, has integrity, works, never cheats in anything and he deserves [the hat trick],” said 67’s coach Jeff Brown.

Outshot 11-2 by the second goal, Storm coaching staff quickly called a time out to settle his team down. His team responded by tying the game at 2 by the two-minute mark in the first period. Blues’ prospect Robby Fabbri started the comeback with a beautiful shorthanded marker. He picked up the puck on a giveaway at centre ice and honed in on a breakaway – forehand to backhand and fired the puck into the back of the net. Late in the first, Wings’ prospect Tyler Bertuzzi capitalized on a powerplay netting his 10th goal of the season and beating 67’s netminder Liam Herbst to end the period with a 2-2 tie.

“You score early sometimes and it put the guys in the wrong mind frame. We worked really hard to get that two goal lead and then we worked really hard at giving them a lot of opportunities after that,” explained a slightly disappointed Jeff Brown.

The 67’s came out strong again in the second when a Studnicka shot squeezed past Nichols’ glove side. That momentum was short lived. The Storm tied the game again just 31 seconds later. Ottawa native and Kings’ prospect Zac Leslie tallied his first of the season.

As the game went on, the momentum continued to shift. Suddenly, Ottawa had a 3-goal cushion early in the third period. Kings’ prospect Jake Middleton scored on the powerplay midway through the second, Sam Studnicka scored his third of the game 26 seconds into the third period and Jeremiah Addison scored the eventual game winner for a 6-3 lead.

“It never felt like we were ok tonight. Not one time did I feel until about 20 seconds left in the game,” said Jeff Brown.

Leslie added his second goal of the game midway through the second but Ottawa quickly responded as Dante Salituro scored just under a minute later. It was a bit of a relief for Salituro as he hit two (possibly three) consecutive posts earlier on a lengthy 5-on-3 advantage where the 67’s could not capitalize. Robby Fabbri and Nathan Todd would round out the scoring their second goals of the game.

"We have a lot to work on in the defensive end of the rink. But a lot of good things, obviously, offensively a lot of guys are stepping up and getting confidence and starting to play great. Guys that you wouldn’t expect to be leading the way, they are. It’s a tribute to them working hard and buying into the system,” said Jeff Brown.

The 67’s will continue to defend their undefeated streak this upcoming weekend when they host the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds on Friday night and the Kingston Frontenacs on Saturday afternoon.

NOTES: Ottawa went 1 for 6 while Guelph went 1 for 5 on the powerplay … Nathan Todd’s second goal of the game was an empty netter … Travis Konecny, Erik Bradford and Brendan Bell finished with a team low of -3 … Guelph switched their goaltenders three times during the game. Each time, backup goaltender Bradley Van Schubert was only in nets for a couple of seconds at a time … Mike Vlajkov had a minor repair on his hip and expects to be skating in December and potentially returning to the line-up in January. Vlajkov has been sidelined since pre-season after re-injuring his hip from last season.

Three Stars as Selected by TSN1200:

 (Guelph player did not come out for a turn) 

Hardest Working 67's: Nathan Todd Hardest Working 67's: Nathan Todd 

 Some pictures from the game:

Dante Salituro

Erik Bradford
Ben Fanjoy

Click here to see more pictures from the game.

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