Young guns help 67's rout Majors

AEDAN HELMER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:25 AM ET

The 67’s rode hot goaltending, a potent power play and breakout performances from their young stars as they cruised to a 7-2 win over the visiting Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors on Sunday.

The big win evened the 67’s record at 2-2-0, and was a measure of redemption for returning veterans who watched the Majors celebrate a Game 7 elimination victory on Ottawa ice in the Eastern Conference semi-final last April.

But Sunday’s game at the Rona Centre was all about the 67’s young stars, highlighted by 17-year-old Tyler Graovac’s first hat trick, and 15-year-old rookie Sean Monahan’s first OHL goal.

“You can’t complain about an OHL hat trick,” said Graovac, who has already bested his career output of two OHL goals, set in 52 games during his rookie 2009-10 campaign.

“The offence is coming quickly, but it’s all about patience and making the most of an opportunity.”

Graovac, usually slotted in as the third-line centre behind Ryan Martindale and Cody Lindsay, was given ample opportunity and ice time to showcase his skills, picking up his hat-trick goal on a 5-on-3 power play in the third period.

Monahan said it was “a great relief” to score his first OHL goal — on a highlight-reel breakaway — after lighting the lamp 46 times in 47 games with the minor midget Mississauga Rebels last season.

“It’s nice to get that first goal and get that monkey off my back,” said Monahan, who turns 16 next week. “It feels better to get some more ice time and get some confidence, knowing I can play well (at this level).”

The difference between Friday’s home-opening 6-3 loss to the Oshawa Generals and Sunday’s dismantling of the Majors was about work ethic, said 67’s coach Chris Byrne.

“We worked hard, we threw some hits, we got pucks in deep and we capitalized on our chances,” said Byrne. “We didn’t play hard enough on Friday.”

Byrne “got back to basics” during a hard practice Saturday after dropping the home opener.

Despite the win, he said there is still plenty of work to do on defence.

For the second straight game, the 67’s allowed more than 40 shots — 42 to the Majors after 45 to the Generals — and had to rely on goaltender Chris Perugini.

He was solid when needed, and made some outstanding saves to frustrate the Majors late in the game. Mississauga outshot Ottawa 19-12 in the third period.

“Full marks to Ottawa,” said Majors coach Dave Cameron, whose team played its third game in three days. “We weren’t ready for them. It was one of those games where the mistakes we did make were huge, and Ottawa capitalized on them.”

The 67’s took a 4-1 lead into the first intermission, thanks largely to the strong play of newcomer Adam Sedlak, the big Czech defender, who had a hand in each of the first three 67’s tallies.

His first goal of the season, and third point of the game, came midway through the first with a power-play blast that went right through Majors goalie J.P. Anderson.

The 67’s power play connected twice more with Sedlak manning the point.

Martindale had a pair of goals, including a second period power-play marker, and linemate Shane Prince had three assists to up his team-leading points total to nine.

aedan.helmer@sunmedia.ca


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