Ottawa 6, Brantford 1

The Ottawa 67’s are now looking forward to a second playoff round against the Oshawa Generals on Friday after a solid win over Brantford at TD Place Arena on Sunday. The 67’s dominated the Generals in the regular season.

“We played our best game tonight.” said 67’s Head Coach Dave Cameron, after the close out win over Brantford.

After Saturday’s chippy game ended in a 4-2 loss to Ottawa, Brantford had hoped to force a Game 7 with a win in Ottawa Sunday. They failed to do so.

“We were disappointed not to end it (Saturday) but we knew that coming back to home ice would be huge,” said 67’s defenceman Thomas Sirman. “Both teams were going to be struggling with the long travel last night and we just came out with a lot of energy.”

Saturday both teams took a combined 108 penalty minutes including 10, 10 minute misconduct penalties.

One of the misconducts resulted in a three game suspension for St. Louis Blues prospect and 67’s defenceman Matthew Mayich for what the OHL described as an “inappropriate gesture and comment towards a Brantford Bulldogs player.”

Sunday’s game was a different story. At least, for the 67’s.

Ottawa only took three minor penalties with their penalty kill stopping two of the three. That one was spoiled by an impressive, top-corner shot from Bulldogs forward Zakary Lavoie early in the third period. He was the lone goal scorer in Brantford’s last game of the season.

“No passengers tonight, our defence always made the simple play and they all had a defence first mentality” said Cameron when talking about his team’s discipline. “There’s going to be penalties but we don’t want the referees to be a factor by doing anything that’s outside of regular competition or outside the course of the game.”

Jack Dever only had 21 points in 55 games during the OHL’s regular season but right now he’s the 67’s playoff scoring leader with eight points including a goal and an assist in the close game over Brantford on Sunday. [Photo @ Tim Austen]

“It’s tough [not to take penalties] when [playing against] an emotional team like them,” said Ottawa’s Will Gerroir, “but obviously, with a big lead, we couldn’t afford to take penalties or retaliate against stuff they do.”

Brantford, on the other hand, picked up 20 penalty minutes, including a misconduct penalty handed to Montreal Canadiens prospect Florian Xhekaj. He seemed to want a piece of every 67’s player after Ottawa’s Bradley Horner secured the win with an empty net goal.

While being escorted off the ice, Xhekaj wasn’t done and skated over to say a few words to 67’s goaltender Colin MacKenzie.

“We’ve been battling all series and he’s a really good player. I think we were just giving it to each other out there and I’m glad we got the best of him.” Said MacKenzie. 

“I think it’s my cologne,” said the netminder with a smirk when asked what he and Xhekaj were talking about. “I was smelling really good and he wanted to ask me ‘Yo! What kind of cologne are you wearing?’ and I said ‘I can’t tell you that, I have to keep that a secret’.”

For the first time in the playoff round, the 67’s scored the first goal in a game. Just under five minutes in, Jack Dever froze Brantford goalie Matteo Drobac with a deft fake before putting the puck on a tee for Will Gerroir who did not miss the open net. 

About 10 minutes later, Dever tapped in a goal of his own after Brady Stonehouse’s shot had hit the post and ended up in front of the net.

Ottawa’s Chris Barlas also recorded a goal with less than a minute left in the game while Gerroir and Horner each scored a second goal.