In their first game without Travis Konecny and Sam Studnicka, the 67’s produced a gritty effort and edged the Peterborough Petes by a 3-2 count on Friday night.
The win ended a three-game losing skid for Ottawa, but more importantly marked a new beginning and era for the club, which acquired late Wednesday a boatload of draft picks from the Sarnia Sting for Konecny and Studnicka, along with a pair of players – Chase Campbell and Sasha Chmelevski.
For Chmelevski, a first-round draftee for Sarnia in the 2015 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection who shows flash and signs of a promising hockey future, his first game in the barber pole jersey set the bar high and provided Ottawa fans in attendance a glimpse of what could be in store in the years to come.
The kid from Northfield in Michigan, wearing jersey No. 89, had a good shot on his first shift in the game’s opening minute, and later scored his first goal as a member of the 67’s (his 10th of his rookie campaign). He circled the left side of the Peterborough zone late in the second period and rifled a shot through traffic that beat Petes goalie Dylan Wells.
The teams were tied 2-2 heading into the third and remained deadlocked until Nevin Guy, who scored Ottawa’s opening goal, set up Ben Fanjoy who tipped home the winner (his OHL career-best 10th goal of the season) with under eight minutes remaining.
The 67’s had a 35-22 advantage, but 67’s netminder Leo Lazarev was tested and made a key glove stop against pinching Petes defenceman Kyle Jenkins late in the third to preserve the advantage and, eventually, the win.
The win improves Ottawa’s record to 19-19-1-0 and drops Peterborough’s to 17-17-2-4.
With files from the Ottawa 67’s.