KANATA, Ontario - Ryan Hartman's power play goal at 1:26 of the third period snapped a 2-2 tie and the Plymouth Whalers defeated the Ottawa 67's, 3-2, in an Ontario Hockey League game played before an announced crowd of 6,364 at Scotiabank Place.
Plymouth's victory - coupled with Sarnia's 9-2 loss in Sault Ste. Marie on Sunday - gives the Whalers a share of first place in the OHL's West Division. The Whalers improve to 11-7-3-1, good for 26 points. Sarnia is now 12-9-0-2, also with 26 points.
Ottawa - with a league worst home record of 2-10-0-2 at Scotiabank Place - is now 6-15-0-2 and in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. The 67's do not practice at Scotiabank Place as their home rink, the Ottawa Civic Arena, is part of the Landsdowne Park renovation project in Downtown Ottawa.
First star Rickard Rakell scored his 10th goal of the season for the Whalers and play a strong two-way game. Matt Mistele scored his seventh of the season an added an assist. Defenseman Simon Karlsson contributed two assists for Plymouth.
It was Teddy Bear Day at Scotibank Place and the teddy bears came raining down at 3:45 of the first period when Ottawa's league-leading power play clicked to give them a 1-0 lead. Ryan Van Stralen completed pressure in the Plymouth zone, backhanding a shot from the right circle past Plymouth goaltender Matt Mahalak.
Plymouth came back later in the period with a pair of goals 1:28 apart to lead 2-1. Rakell was hauled down on a partial breakaway and awarded a penalty shot by referees Korey Bannerman and Jason Goldenberg at 8:07. Rakell took his time on the penalty shot, drifting to the top of left left ciircle, then gathered speed and snapped a shot at the hash-marks, mid-shelf, past Ottawa goaltender Clint Windsor.
Mistele gave Plymouth their first lead at 9:35 of the period, backhanding a rebound through traffic for his third goal in three games. Hartman and Karlsson drew assists.
Plymouth carried the play in the second period, outshooting Ottawa, 17-8, but Steven Janes scored the only goal of the period for Ottawa at 1:48 when he skated out of the right corner and rifled a shot past Mahalak to tie the game at 2-2 after forty minutes.
Hartman scored the eventual game-winning goal, getting a good bounce off the back boards. Karlsson's point shot was wide off the back wall and pinballed to Hartman of the left side of the Ottawa goal. Unguarded, Hartman tapped it in to give the Whalers the lead.
Ottawa head coach Chris Byrne pulled goaltender Windsor for the extra attacker in the final minute, but the Whalers held on to take three points out of four over the weekend.
Plymouth outshot Ottawa, 35-33, in the game.