BRAMPTON, Ont. – Cody Ceci, who scored one goal and added two assists, scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Ottawa 67’s a 6-5 comeback victory over the Brampton Battalion in Ontario Hockey League action Sunday.
Sergey Kuptsov scored two goals and had one assist, while Taylor Fielding and Michal Cajkovsky also scored for Ottawa, which erased 3-1 and 5-3 deficits, and Sean Monahan contributed four assists.
Starting goaltender Clint Windsor allowed three goals on 15 shots before being replaced by Jacob Blair, who made 27 saves through overtime for the victory as Ottawa moved its won-lost-extended record to 12-27-3 for 27 points, tied with the idle Peterborough Petes for fourth place in the East Division.
Mathew Santos and Nick Paul each had one goal and one assist, while Nicholas Foglia, Connor Jarvis and Blake Clarke also scored for the Battalion. Goaltender Jake Smith faced 21 shots through overtime. The Troops, who have lost their last three games, are 19-16-7 for 45 points, third in the Central Division.
“It’s a very disappointing game,” said Battalion coach Stan Butler. “We had a 5-3 lead going into the third period. I thought we dominated most of it, but obviously we didn’t score.
“We’re digging ourselves into a big hole here. We’ve talked about it all year that our inconsistencies continue to bite us. We’ve got players who need to figure out that they need to play the same way every game. Until they do, we’re going to be that roller-coaster type of team.”
Shooting after Smith denied Monahan in the shootout, Ceci faked a shot before pulling the puck to his backhand and sliding it around the goaltender. Blair closed the door on Clarke, Paul and Brandon Robinson.
Kuptsov scored the tying goal at 19:29 of the third period, redirecting a right-point shot by Ceci through a crowd.
“I’ll take the credit on that one,” said Cameron Wind. “I just wanted to flip it past their defencemen, but I got too much on it and it went for icing and set them up for that goal.
“We’ve got to do a better job with 20 seconds left on clogging shooting lanes because, at that point in the game, that shouldn’t have even made it to the net.”
Defenceman Cajkovsky pulled Ottawa within one at 8:40, connecting on a snap shot from the mid slot.
“It’s most definitely heartbreaking,” said Foglia, who played the last two seasons with the 67’s. “Being in the lead for most of the game and then falling apart in the last 10 minutes is tough to swallow, especially against my old team.”
Jamie Lewis nearly gave the Troops a 6-3 lead in the eighth minute after a rush by Santos generated a loose puck to the right of the net, but Lewis and Paul failed to jam the puck behind Blair.
Clarke broke a 3-3 tie on the power play at 9:08 of the second period, redirecting the puck behind Blair while battling in front of the net.
Paul made it 5-3 at 12:21 after a strong individual rush up the left boards. His deke attempt was interrupted, but Santos picked up the puck while streaking through the slot. He took a shot, and Paul converted the rebound.
Defenceman Ceci scored on a wrister from the high point 43 seconds into the period, and Kuptsov tied it 3-3 at 2:41 with Foglia off for hooking. Monahan passed the puck across to Kuptsov in the right circle, where he one-timed it.
Santos opened the scoring 21 seconds into the first period, shoveling home a rebound on his backhand from the right of the crease.
Foglia gave the Troops a 2-0 lead at 11:04, poking the puck between the legs of Windsor, who wrongly felt that he had it covered.
Fielding answered at 14:30, receiving a pass from Kuptsov in the high slot and scoring from between the circles.
Jarvis made it 3-1 one minute later, converting a one-timer from the left circle on a drop pass by Mike Amadio. Jarvis beat Windsor on the short side, chasing him from the net in favour of Blair.
The Battalion was without Matej Machovsky and Barclay Goodrow. Ottawa scratched Trevor Dulong, Alex Morgan, Taylor Davis, Doug Harvey, Brett Gustavsen and Kevin Groulx.
The Battalion visits the Windsor Spitfires at 7:05 p.m. Thursday.
BATTALION NOTEBOOK: Attendance was 1,846 … The Battalion went 1-for-3 with the man advantage. Ottawa, which boasts the league’s best power play, was 1-for-2 … The Battalion is 11-6-3 at home. The 67’s are 8-14-1 on the road … Lewis missed three games after suffering a knee injury in a 5-4 loss via shootout to the host Mississauga Steelheads last Sunday … Opening line combinations included Patrik Machac centring left winger Robinson and right winger Brendan Childerley, Lewis pivoting left winger Paul and right winger Santos and Foglia centring left winger Clarke and right winger Matt MacLeod. Amadio centred left winger Jarvis and right winger Calvin Gomes … Foglia, who faced his former mates for the first time, was acquired from Ottawa on June 1 for goaltender Keegan Wilson … Amadio hit the crossbar with a wrist shot in the 12th minute of the first period … Machovsky is to return Wednesday from playing for the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championship at Ufa, Russia. Machovsky last dressed for the Troops in a 5-2 win Dec. 9 over the visiting Erie Otters. Smith has gone 4-3-2 during Machovsky’s absence … The 67’s traded leading goal scorer and Brampton resident Tyler Graovac to the Belleville Bulls on Saturday for right winger Kuptsov, a second-round pick in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection and a third-rounder in 2015. The deal also included a conditional seventh-rounder in 2014 … Monahan, Ottawa’s leading scorer with 14 goals and 33 assists for 47 points in 32 games, is a Brampton resident, and 67’s defenceman Jonathan Duchesne also is from Brampton … Ceci ranks second among OHL defencemen in scoring with 11 goals and 29 assists for 40 points in 42 games.