On the verge of missing the playoffs for the third time in five seasons, the Ottawa 67’s put forward a good team effort on home ice defeating the Oshawa Generals 3-2 in regulation. The win helped them secure sole possession of seventh in the Eastern Conference but there is a lot more work ahead of them to ensure they can stay there.
Oshawa’s best draft-eligible prospect this season is Jack Studnicka while Ottawa should see three of their four prospects drafted this upcoming draft – Sasha Chmelevski, Noel Hoefenmayer and Austen Keating. These four prospects combined for four assists on the night.
Jack Studnicka – He did not reach the scoresheet in the game and was caught on the ice for just one goal against. Studnicka was in the right position on his man and ready to intercept any pass coming his way – he’s been no stranger to creating turnovers. Offensively, he had a couple great scoring chances in the game driving to the net with traffic in front. He has a nose for the net and often looks for loose pucks, a deflection or a tip in. Studnicka did not have his strongest game but was responsible defensively and came up close to contributing offensively.
Allan McShane – It was Allan McShane, 2018 NHL Draft eligible, who stole the spotlight from Studnicka, scoring the two lone Oshawa Generals goals on the night. On his first goal, McShane forced a turnover and used his big strides allowing him to get on a clean breakaway. He showed some quick hands down low and flipped the puck top shelf behind the netminder.
McShane is a solid two-way player with a wicked shot. He is able to play the point on the power play effectively and his second goal showed the power behind his shot.
He was only caught on the ice for one goal, which was a highlight-reel goal from Kody Clark who side-stepped McShane’s teammate. McShane attempted to move over, but was unable to after defending his man on the other end of the ice.
His speed, shot, and ability to play on both ends of the ice are already some attributes we’ve seen in his rookie season. If he keeps progressing the way he has, he’s going to find himself moving up the ranks for the 2018 NHL Draft. Don’t be surprised to see him in the top 10 of OHL prospects next season.
Mason Kohn – I felt that it was the undrafted Kohn who was the most dangerous forward for the Oshawa Generals in this game. Despite not reaching the scoresheet, he created quite a few odd man rushes on both the penalty kill and five-on-five. His quick feet allows him the ability to separate himself from the opposition and tenacity makes him successful around the net and helps him create space for himself. Consistently one of the hardest workers on the ice, it’s hard to believe no one has taken a chance on Kohn. If he can bulk up a little more in the off-season, there may be a couple NHL teams expressing interest.
Sasha Chmelevski – Chmelevski is one of the better prospects the 67’s have had in recent years, but he’s struggled with consistency throughout the season. Chmelevski was moved to the second line centering two rookies and was not very noticeable in the first half of the game. He appears to be having confidence issues. He had really been clicking on a line with Artur Tyanulin (NHL Draft re-entry), but for whatever reasons they have been separated.
While he’s not contributing on the scoresheet, he has not been as much of a defensive liability as his plus-minus might indicate. His best chance was in the second period where he smoothly stickhandled through traffic but was unable to get a great shot off. His puckhandling, playmaking skills, shot and face-off prowless (55.5%) are some of his best strengths and we see flashes of it throughout the game. Chmelevski is goalless in 13 games and is likely looking forward to getting the monkey off his back. His talent is all there, he just needs to gain his confidence back.
Noel Hoefenmayer – He tallied two assists on the first two Ottawa goals and was on the ice for Oshawa’s first. Hoefenmayer has risen in a lot of draft rankings and for good reason. He was thrown into a defensive mess in his rookie season and quickly earned the trust of his coach. He’s still logging a ton of ice time – probably the most of any Ottawa defenceman and has been put into many key situations (PP, PK, five-on-five).
Hoefenmayer keeps it simple and sage when he brings up the puck. He sees the ice well and can find his teammates for a set up. He plays well when he uses the body and/or isn’t afraid to get hit – adding some muscle will help in this respect. His skating isn’t perfect, but he has shown some improvement in terms of his twists and turns while in motion.
Austen Keating – He tallied two assists in the 67’s win including a primary assist on the opening goal and a secondary assist on the game winning goal. Keating is looking stronger than ever in his sophomore season. Keating immediately had some good scoring chances in his first couple of shifts of the game – this led to the 67’s first goal.
He took a shot from the bottom of the face-off circle and followed the play to try and tap in his own rebound – his teammate was able to do this with the puck loose in front. On his second goal, Keating started a perfect tic-tac-toe play feeding his teammate with a crisp pass on tape-to-tape. He is comfortable using his body and using his strength to stick in front of the net waiting for those greasy goals. He has a very active stick which led to a couple takeaways in the neutral zone to leading to couple good scoring chances. Keating won’t dazzle you with skill but plays his best when he’s aggressive with and without the puck.
Kody Clark – The 2018 NHL draft eligible OHL rookie scored two goals, including a highlight reel tally in the first, and the game-winning goal to help lead his team to their first win in 7 games. His first goal came early in the game after he side-stepped the Oshawa defender for a partial break and a big shot that looked a little like his dad’s (Wendel). Clark’s second goal shows him going to the net on a three-on-two with his stick ready on the ice for a one-timer. Other than his goals, there wasn’t a lot from him but he shows enough flashes throughout games at this point in his career to be recognized. He’s a smart, speedy with a strong shot who player who can play a 200-foot game. He skates well and has an explosive first step which you can see from his first goal. Clark hasn’t been consistent but continues to improve as the season progresses – which is the most you can ask for a first-year player.
Check out three more video clips from the game.