Cody Lindsay is looking out for No. 1.
After posting a career-high 82 points last season as the 67’s No. 1 pivot, a role he relinquished this year in favour of Ryan Martindale, Lindsay is catching fire at exactly the right time, scoring his second straight hat trick with all three goals in a 3-2 win over the visiting Kingston Frontenacs on Saturday.
The 67’s almost found a way to spoil the party, however, nearly blowing another third-period lead to make for some tense times for the 6,244 fans late in the game.
After Lindsay completed a natural hat trick, staking Ottawa to a 3-0 lead with his 25th goal of the season in the second period, the 67’s took their foot off the pedal once again, allowing a pair of goals in the final six minutes and barely hanging on for the win.
“I thought we had chances to score (in the third), but we caught a tough break with (Tyler Brown’s) goal off a faceoff and then blown coverage (on Michal Cajkovsky’s late goal),” said 67’s coach Chris Byrne. “We’re not going to get many games where the other team doesn’t score or doesn’t get chances, so for our guys I think it was great that they bore down and found a way to win.”
Lindsay marked a happy anniversary.
He scored his first career OHL hat trick on Jan. 29, 2010 against Oshawa, and upped the ante this year by turning the trick in back-to-back games, also scoring three against Barrie on Friday.
“It was probably in minor,” laughed Lindsay when asked about the last time he recorded back-to-back hatties. “Or in practice.”
Lindsay admitted the first half of his overage season has been a frustrating one, but he’s found new life after shifting to left wing on a line with fellow overager Thomas Nesbitt on the right side with 16-year-old rookie Sean Monahan in the middle.
“Me and (Nesbitt) have had chemistry since we came into the league as 16-year-olds here, and (Monahan) is a real good playmaker,” said Lindsay. “He’s very mature, he’s telling me and Nes what to do on the bench.”
Monahan said his confidence has been growing by leaps and bounds since his dominating performance at the world under-17 challenge in late December, where he helped Ontario to a gold medal.
“That kind of (high-pressure) hockey is my favourite kind to play, and you just want to rise to the occasion,” said Monahan, who has a goal and five assists in his last two games.
“For sure, I’m gaining more confidence, and being bumped up to the second line helps, getting more ice time helps your confidence as well.
“(Lindsay and Nesbitt) have a lot of experience in this league and they’ve been helping me adjust my game. We’re having some success right now.”
Nesbitt recorded his 100th career assist setting up Lindsay’s opening goal.
“That line has had two good games, and other teams have their top defensive pairing or their top guys up against our top guys (Martindale, Tyler Toffoli and the injured Shane Prince),” said Byrne. “When that happens, it’s up to other guys to take over.”
Ottawa hosts Peterborough Friday as its homestand continues with a rare 7 p.m. start to accommodate a Rogers Sportsnet broadcast.