Mikey Ma­nia on the way

23-game reg­u­la­tion-time un­beaten streak ends for 67’s, but DiPi­etro hopes for new one

Ottawa Sun - - SPORTS - DON CAMP­BELL

GATINEAU, Que. — From stand­ing at cen­tre ice at the WFCU Cen­tre in Wind­sor, Ont., for an emo­tional stand­ing ova­tion Thurs­day evening to the end of the vis­i­tors’ bench at the Robert Guertin Arena in Gatineau, Que., Fri­day night.

That’s just the kind of whirl­wind few days it’s been for the big­gest trade ac­qui­si­tion in Ot­tawa 67’s fran­chise his­tory.

Mikey DiPi­etro only hopes things get back to nor­mal Satur­day just af­ter 2 p.m. when he takes the net at TD Place for his much-her­alded 67’s de­but just five days af­ter ar­riv­ing in a block­buster deal from the Wind­sor Spit­fires and tries to get the 67’s on an­other streak.

For just one night, DiPi­etro served as a backup to Cedric An­dree as he and the rest of the 67’s were hum­bled by the Gatineau Olympiques, los­ing 2-1 in front of a turnout of 2,838 at the Bob to end the 67’s streak of games with­out a loss in reg­u­la­tion time at 23.

The teams skated through a score­less first be­fore Gatineau’s Gior­dano Fi­nora and 67’s for­ward Tye Fel­haber ex­changed sec­ond-pe­riod goals with Fel­haber’s 30th in 30 games.

Jef­frey Durocher gave Gatineau the game-win­ner at 11:47 as Gatineau goalie Tris­tan Berube stole the show with 33 saves.

Back to DiPi­etro, his visit in Ot­tawa will amount to just the one start be­fore he heads to Team Canada train­ing camp in Vic­to­ria on Sun­day in prepa­ra­tion for the world junior cham­pi­onships.

The long flight may give him time to catch his breath.

The 24-hour trip back to Wind­sor was spe­cial. It was also emo­tional. “It was nice be­ing able to say good­bye with my par­ents in the seats, my girl­friend and her par­ents too,” said DiPi­etro, who was ful­fill­ing a prom­ise to ap­pear in sup­port of his favourite char­ity in Wind­sor, the Ronald McDon­ald House Night to hon­our three Spit­fire Me­mo­rial Cup wins. “The Me­mo­rial Cup was out there at cen­tre ice with us and I got to wave to all the fans.”

Then it was up early for one-stop ser­vice back to Ot­tawa where 67’s head coach An­dre Tou­ruigny was wait­ing to pick him up.

DiPi­etro was un­sure if he would play Fri­day. Tourigny, too, wres­tled with the idea.

So they talked it out on the Air­port Park­way.

“I would never dic­tate when I want to play,” said DiPi­etro. “I told coach if he wanted me to play, I was 100% ready and we had a di­a­logue. He said it had been an emo­tional week and maybe it was bet­ter not to play back-to­back games and just go Satur­day. I was fine with that.

“Re­ally, it’s just an­other game. But I’m ea­ger to put my foot for­ward and I’ll do any­thing to help make this team suc­cess­ful.

“Things might be dif­fer­ent when I walked in the (dress­ing) room Satur­day and see all the red, white and black. Wind­sor was red, blue and white. The colours are close ... but not quite the same.

“I’m go­ing to have to wait and see how it all feels. But I’m al­ways pretty re­laxed, and then when the game starts, I get di­alled in and pretty in­tense.”

DiPi­etro is a shutout away from break­ing the OHL’s all­time record for ca­reer shutouts. He has 16.

He also heard Con­nor McDavid was the last junior star to fill the rink at TD Place. “Let’s fill it again,” he said. That said, the rink may not be full but he might be re­spon­si­ble for one of the largest home 67’s crowds since the team moved back to Bank St. in 2014.

“We’ve al­ways had big walk ups for big games and this is a very big game ... his­toric,” said OSEG vice-pres­i­dent Randy Burgess. “Since the trade, tick­ets have been mov­ing three or more times faster than for a reg­u­lar game day so walk-up will likely be the same on Satur­day.

“Best way to avoid a lineup is pur­chase on­line but if you prefer to buy in per­son, come early and take in the bonus alumni game, which is in­cluded in the ticket price, start­ing at noon.”

67’s for­ward Tye Fel­haber tal­lied a goal as Ot­tawa fell to the QMJHL’s Olymiques last night in Gatineau. VA­LERIE WUTTI PHOTO

DIPI­ETRO De­buts to­day

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