Ottawa 5, Brantford 2

After tying their first round OHL Eastern Conference playoff series 1-1 on the road in Brantford, the 67’s put up a dominating performance at home Tuesday to take down the Bulldogs 5-2 in Game 3. 

The 67’s kicked off the series in Brantford with a disappointing 5-2 loss. Ottawa suffered through an unrelenting forecheck by the Bulldogs similar to the last game of the regular season when the 67’s lost 5-1 to Brantford.

In Game 2, the 67’s bounced back big time with a statement 6-3 win in. the physical contest which saw Ottawa defenceman, Matthew Mayich dropped the gloves against Brantford forward and Montreal draft pick Florian Xhekaj at the end of the second period. Xhekaj’s brother Arber is a hard-nosed defenceman with the Habs too.

Back at home, 67’s Head Coach Dave Cameron was extremely happy with his team’s performance.

“The whole game was good today, all three zones,” he said. “We didn’t turn pucks over, we didn’t give up a lot of odd man rushes, we were solid all through.” 

The crowd was silenced early in the first period with a Brandford goal just over a minute in, but they were brought back into the game with a key save by 67’s goalie Colin MacKenzie on a two man breakaway in on the Ottawa net. So too were the 67’s players, who were stirred up by the save.

“Everyone got up and started banging the boards,” said 67’s captain Luca Pinelli. “That was a good momentum changer for us.”

Pinelli would go on to score both the equalizer and followed up with a spectacular game winner. He has four goals and five points in the three games of the series.

Forward Caden Kelly is emerging as a surprising hero for Ottawa with two goals and four points against Brantford. [Photo @ Cody Gaudreault]

After a difficult regular season, 67’s forward Caden Kelly has been a surprise contributor in the first round. He now has two goals and four points in the series after scoring in the second period. The goal originated with Brady Stonehouse, who took a hard hit to make a pass to an open Kelly in the slot and he rifled it into the net. 

“He’s [Stonehouse] fun to play with,” Kelly said, acknowledging the effort of his teammate.

Braeden Kessler also contributed, scoring two goals, one in the second period and an empty netter to seal the win. Marek Vanacker and Jake O’Brien scored for Brantford.

Next game in the round is also in Ottawa on Thursday at TD Place Arena.