The Ottawa 67’s lost a tough overtime game in their wild and physical OHL playoff opener against the Sudbury Wolves on Saturday at Scotiabank Place.
Andrey Kuchin scored three minutes into the extra session to give the Wolves an 8-7 victory.
The tone was set early when Marcus Foligno dropped 67’s captain Thomas Nesbitt with a nasty spear just 11 seconds into the first period.
From start to finish the game was big hits, big penalties, and lots of trash talking between plays.
“It’s definitely a lot of fun out there, but it’s been a circus,” said the Wolves’ Michael Sgarbossa in a TV broadcast interview after the second period. “The first period, we weren’t happy with our discipline.”
The Wolves picked up hitting-from-behind penalties on back-to-back plays, handing Ottawa a two-man advantage midway through the first. The Wolves managed to hold off the 67’s, but as soon as time expired on the penalties, the Wolves’ Eric O’Dell slashed Tyler Toffoli hard enough to draw blood.
O’Dell, an Ottawa native, was handed a five-minute major for the slash and earned himself an ejection for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Toffoli would get his revenge on the five-minute advantage, scoring a power-play goal with 17 seconds left in the first to give the 67’s a 2-1 lead heading into the second.
The 67’s couldn’t take that momentum with them into the second, though. The Wolves were all over them to start the second, scoring two early goals to take the lead.
Ryan Martindale made a big splash in his return to the lineup with a hat trick, including the all important seventh goal that pulled the 67’s back to even after a shaky third period, and sent the teams to overtime.
Ottawa coach Chris Byrne called a timeout to slow things down halfway into the second period. The regroup seemed to help; Toffoli sniped a wrist shot into the back of the net after the timeout and Nesbitt added another just 11 seconds later to once again give his team the lead, 5-4, after two periods.
But once again the 67’s lost their edge during the intermission. Sudbury scored three goals in the first four minutes, including a pair just 11 seconds apart.
Ottawa goalie Petr Mrazek looked shaken by the rapid fire goals. He was pulled after the seventh goal, giving Shayne Campbell his first taste of OHL playoff hockey.
The 67’s travel to Sudbury for the next two games in the series, playing back-to-back nights starting Monday before returning to Ottawa for Game 4 Thursday.
More to follow.