Rossi puts on a show for 67’s again Spitfires

Aus­trian rookie for­ward stays on a roll scor­ing an­other two goals in vic­tory

Ottawa Citizen - - SPORTS - DON CAMP­BELL

67’S 4, SPITFIRES 1 A wise, some­what older ju­nior hockey leg­end watched 5-9 dy­namo Marco Rossi score a jaw-drop­ping goal dur­ing an in­tra-squad game at Ot­tawa 67’s train­ing camp and turned to his side­kicks and said: “That kid is go­ing to lead the (67’s) in scor­ing one day.”

Then, af­ter clear­ing his throat a lit­tle: “On sec­ond thought .... maybe even THIS year” and asked that the re­mark be off the record.

Well 10 games into his still fledg­ing ju­nior hockey ca­reer, the just-turned 17-year-old is be­gin­ning to make that as­sess­ment prophetic.

Rossi scored his fifth and sixth goals in his past four games of the 10-game-old 2018-19 sea­son as the 67’s ran their win streak to four with an im­pres­sive 4-1 win over the Wind­sor Spitfires on Fri­day night with 2,153 wit­nesses in the Arena at TD Place.

The two-goal game leaves Rossi lead­ing all OHL rook­ies in scor­ing with nine points. And he’s a le­git­i­mate threat to be­come the first 67’s rookie to do so since Travis Konecny in 2013-14 with 26 goals and 60 points in 63 games to eas­ily beat out cur­rent Toronto Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner, who was sec­ond with half Konecny’s goal to­tal and 59 points.

Rossi is cur­rently on a fourgame goal-scor­ing run which be­gan Oct. 6 with his first twogoal per­for­mance and he also has an as­sist dur­ing the stretch for seven points in his last 12 pe­ri­ods.

“It started in Bar­rie with my first goal and it seems I’ve started to get more con­fi­dence,” said Rossi af­ter his first of many first star se­lec­tions to come.

Dare the hunt for a nick­name be­gin. Right now, he’s just “Marco” but “Marco the Mag­nif­i­cent” or “Rocket Rossi” could eas­ily ap­ply.

And Rossi is re­ally only get­ting started as he builds a re­sume to­wards a po­ten­tial top two pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

Rossi will at­tempt to ex­tend his run Sun­day af­ter­noon against the Erie Ot­ters with the 67s don­ning spe­cial jer­seys with the Red­blacks logo.

As for Rossi, who only turned 17 late last month, he hails from the tiny Aus­trian town of Feld­kirch, and Rossi is al­ready mak­ing a case to­ward be­com­ing Feld­kirch’s best ath­lete since ski leg­end Wil­trud Drexel in the 1950s.

Feld­kirch bor­ders on Aus­tria and Liecht­en­stein, which is fit­ting be­cause since ar­riv­ing in Ot­tawa in late Au­gust, Rossi has bor­dered on ei­ther side of the spec­tac­u­lar ev­ery time he takes the ice. He lines up be­tween Tye Fel­haber and Austen Keat­ing to form the league’s most pro­lific line to date.

“Keats and Felly are so good to play with,” said Rossi. “Af­ter ev­ery shift we’re al­ways talk­ing and it’s great that I’m able to play with them.”

The three have been to­gether as a line for four full games plus one pe­riod and just could be a ma­jor rea­son for the 67’s cur­rent streak.

Both Fel­haber and Keat­ing rave con­stantly about Rossi’s “hockey IQ” and while maybe the two vet­er­ans don’t have an IQ on the same level, they are cer­tainly smart enough to take full ad­van­tage of a good thing and Rossi is the one who makes the line go.

“Marco’s the real deal,” said Fel­haber. “He re­ally is.”

Af­ter a score­less open­ing pe­riod, Rossi opened the scor­ing with a nifty tip on a shot fired from the point by 67’s de­fence­man Hud­son Wil­son at 7:55.

A lit­tle more than six min­utes later, Keat­ing fed a pass across the ice and Rossi buried it past the league’s best goal­tender in Michael DiPi­etro.

Wind­sor’s Kyle McDon­ald halved the lead on a 67’s give­away late in the pe­riod but the 67’s found a way to put it away in the third with Cedrick An­dree con­tin­u­ing his strong play with 23saves.

Soon-to-be 67’s cap­tain Sasha Ch­melevski counted his sec­ond in his last two games, rim­ming a pass around the boards to Mer­rick Rip­pon at the point then get­ting the puck back be­hind the Wind­sor net and scor­ing on a wra­paround.

Fel­haber scored his ninth into an empty net to com­plete things

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