Frontenacs 5, 67’s 4
Tye Felhaber and Jack Quinn sort of spoiled a new generation of Ottawa 67’s fans into thinking 50-goal scorers showed up every year, what with Felhaber’s electrifying 59 goals in 2018-19 and Quinn’s prolific 52 in 62 (games) in the 2019-20 campaign.
That said, the current young and rebuilding edition of the 67’s will not have a 50-goal scorer.
That’s not to suggest the wait will be too long for the next one to join the illustrious 67’s 50-goal club. It’s just that 20, it seems, will have to be the new 50 for the 67’s… for this season only.
Vinzenz Rohrer, the rookie Austrian sensation, hit the 20-goal plateau with his second consecutive two-goal game in a thrilling 5-4 loss to the mighty Kingston Frontenacs on Wednesday afternoon in a St. Patrick’s Day warmup in The Arena at TD Place .
Rohrer is on a tear with five goals in his last four games as he heads to the NHL Top Prospects game next Wednesday in Kitchener where he will play with, and against, the best 40 draft-eligible players in the Canadian Hockey League.
“As an Austrian, you don’t grow up even knowing about a CHL Top Prospects game,” said the engaging Rohrer. “But the first thing you think is it’s going to be an unbelievable experience, especially after what some of the guys have told me about it.”
Rohrer’s father, Stefan, is flying to Ottawa on Friday as the 67’s continue seven straight at TD Place with matinées Saturday and Sunday, both against the Ontario Hockey League’s best, the Hamilton Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs are ranked second in the CHL rankings, behind only the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Then Stefan and his son’s billet will make their way to Kitchener and see first-hand the 2022 draft class at a time when his son’s stock is soaring every time he hits the ice.
Rohrer is sitting on 20 and not one thought to get him the puck.
“I had no clue I hit 20,” said the kid. “For sure (20) is nice, but a win would be nicer.”
He also has another 11 regular-season games to play and 30 would seem to be a given, and all the while he doesn’t turn 18 until Sept 9.
And the comparisons to Felhaber and Quinn are not without merit, not when you consider Felhaber was putting together an 18-goal season as a second-year, 17-year-old with the Saginaw Spirit.
Or that Quinn was posting a 12-goal season as a rookie 17-year-old with the 67’s before busting out at 18.
“The best way to describe Vinny is that he has no weaknesses,” said 67’s head coach Dave Cameron. “There’s nothing you can say that he has to get better at him. He has a real passion for the game. He has that special competitiveness.
“You can just see how now he’s coming into his own. I have no idea how high he will be drafted. He’s one of those guys in any given game won’t draw you out of your seat, but the more you watch him, the more you realize how good he really is.”
Facing Kingston for the 10th time this season — with two more games to go — naturally, most of the scouts were getting their umpteenth look at certain No. 1 pick Shane Wright, and he rarely disappointed, this time with the game-winner 9: 01 into the third.
But the 67’s were full marks against a team now 18 points ahead of them in the standings.
This despite being outshot 42-21 and the game’s officiating crew somehow coming up with a way to hand the Frontenacs seven power plays to just two for Ottawa.
Cameron wouldn’t bite on the officiating, though he had grounds for more than some displeasure. It was what it was.
But there were positives, and a big one was the performance of goalie Will Cranley, making his first start since Feb. 20 and since signing his NHL entry-level contract with the St. Louis Blues.
Cranley was nothing short of outstanding, even spectacular at times, making 37 saves in his strongest outing in three months.
The teams were tied 1-1 after one and 3-3 after 40 minutes before Wright broke a 4-4 tie with the winner.
With Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion in the seats, 2021 first-round pick (10th overall) Tyler Boucher scored his fourth in 13 games with the 67’s, while rookie Steven Laforme scored his first career OHL goal.
Other Kingston scorers were Jordan Frasca with a pair for 38 on the season, Martin Chromiak and ex-67 Alec Belanger.