Oshawa, ON – Tye Felhaber (10, 11) forced overtime, scoring on the power play with 34 seconds to spare in the third period before striking for the game winner 20 seconds into the extra frame as the Ottawa 67’s won 2-1 and claimed the Bobby Orr Trophy as Eastern Conference Champions for the first time since 2005.
Felhaber’s second-straight two-goal contest helped the 67’s snatch victory from the clutches of defeat as they completed a four-game sweep of the Oshawa Generals to capture their fourth Bobby Orr Trophy (2001, 2003, 2005, 2019).
“Everybody wants to be that guy to step up,” said a smiling Felhaber post-game. “It could’ve been anybody on this team, I’m just lucky I have a great group of guys supporting me. On the winner Kyle Maksimovich just hit me with a great pass and I put it in the net. It’s a great feeling.”
Oshawa led 1-0 after rookie Ty Tullio (3) finished a play in the slot 1:20 into the second period. The 67’s had the Generals under siege for much of the third period tough, outshooting them 19-4 for a game total of 44-22. The Generals ran into penalty trouble late in regulation, giving the Ottawa power play a chance to make a game of things. Felhaber’s tying goal came with goaltender Michael DiPietro on the bench for the extra attacker.
“Felly took a perfect shot and then he took another really good one in overtime,” said 67’s head coach Andre Tourigny. “The game was on the line and I liked the composure of our guys, they stuck to the process and scored big goals in clutch time.”
DiPietro turned aside 21 of 22 shots for the win, coming up big late in the second as the 67’s killed off a 5-on-3 disadvantage. The Vancouver Canucks prospect kept the Barber Poles within one inside the final minute of the second period, diving to deny Brandon Saigeon an empty net.
Ottawa joins the 1988 OHL Champion Windsor Spitfires as just the second team in OHL history to start the playoffs with a perfect 12-0 record. They sit one win shy of equalling the London Knights’ 2016 league record of 13 consecutive playoff victories.
“We’re a very opportunistic team,” Felhaber added. “We see an opportunity and we rise to it. Even if we’re down or whatever the score is there’s no quit in our locker room from the whole training staff to the players. Everyone believes in the group that we have and other than the three acquisitions that we got at the deadline everyone’s been with it every step of the way.
“It’s nice tonight but the job’s not done yet.”
Generals netminder Kyle Keyser turned in a sterling performance with 42 saves to keep his team in the game until the bitter end. Oshawa was 34 seconds from handing Ottawa its first shutout loss of the season before things took a disappointing turn.
“There’s lots of tears and sweat from our players and it’s a tough way to go out,” said Generals head coach Greg Walters. “They played hard until the last whistle. I’m proud of the way the guys competed.”
“We put ourselves in a tough situation tonight,” added Generals captain Kyle MacLean post-game. “In the last minute there it’s difficult to go down two men against that team, but we never quit.”
Oshawa played to a 44-20-4-0 record during the regular season, eliminating the Peterborough Petes and Central Division champion Niagara IceDogs in the postseason. Overagers Nicolas Mattinen, Brandon Saigeon and Anthony Salinitri see their OHL careers come to an end while the aforementioned 19-year-old Keyser is signed to an NHL contract with the Boston Bruins.
The 67’s advance to their first Rogers OHL Championship Series since 2005 and are in the hunt for the fourth Robertson Cup title in franchise history as they await the winner of a Western Conference Championship Series clash between the Saginaw Spirit and Guelph Storm.
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