OTTAWA– For the Ottawa 67’s this postseason, their mantra has been “No Quit.” It’s not just a convenient hashtag. It’s a mindset that the Ottawa 67’s adapted in Game 2 in their OHL Championship Series against the Guelph Storm.
The Guelph Storm were pouncing on the league-leading 67’s early on. With two goals from Alexey Toropchenko and Keegan Stevenson in the span of a minute, the Storm was looking to surge their way to secure Game 2. To make matters worse for Ottawa, their starting goalie, Vancouver Canucks prospect Michael DiPietro, went down with a lower-body injury and was done for the game.
Enter 18-year-old Cedrick Andree. The Ottawa 67’s goalie who had 34 wins, a 2.48 goals-against average and a 0.91 save percentage this season, came in relief and stole the show. Generating 26 saves and surviving the onslaught of chances from Guelph in the third period, Andree would propel his team to history. With the Game 2 win Saturday afternoon, the Ottawa 67’s become the first team in OHL history to go 14-0 to start the playoffs.
A moment that young Cedric will never forget.
“I always say one thing in my head: watch the puck,” said Andree after the game. “While the fan support was awesome, I was tuning it out as best I can to watch the puck and make big saves for my team.”
Cedrick Andree Patiently Waited for His Moment And Got It
Getting over 8,000 fans to chant your name was not in the cards for Cedrick Andree. There was a moment, where he was considering leaving the game of hockey altogether.
Growing up as a Dutch Canadian in the town of Orleans, Andree dreamt of the opportunity to sport the red and white jersey of the Ottawa 67’s. But he did not grow up in a family that eats and breathes hockey. His father was a skier, and that influence to pursue competitive skiing weighed on young Cedrick. But when the goalie got selected to play for the Cumberland Jr. grads, he solely focused on the game of hockey. And the rest is history.
In 2016, Andree was a 12th round pick in the OHL Draft. He joined the Ottawa 67’s in the 2017-2018 season, only to finish the season with a 1-10 record as the backup goalie. This adversity did not hinder Cedrick. He invested tremendous time and energy to get better and to improve. This season, with being one of a handful of OHL goalies to get over 30 wins, Andree proved that not giving up was well worth the obstacle-ridden journey.
“I never thought I could play competitive hockey at this level,” stated Andree.
Cedrick Andree Shines in Relief for Ottawa 67’s
It’s never easy for a goalie of Cedrick Andree’s caliber to hear that they are going to be a backup. But Andree never complained or whined about his position. He was a teacher and a supportive teammate for DiPietro, allowing him to transition effortlessly into the Ottawa 67’s locker room. It is no wonder why Ottawa 67’s head coach Andre Tourigny is proud of his two stellar goalies.
“We have great depth in net. Two number one goalies,” said Tourigny after Game 2. “Cedrick is a top CHL goalie. He proved it again today the quality of goaltender he is.”
When Andree was substituted into the net, the Ottawa 67’s immediately galvanized. They started playing their physical brand of hockey. Four different 67’s scored goals today, including Dallas Stars prospect Tye Felhaber and San Jose Sharks prospect Sasha Chmelevski. Despite only registering nine shots on net in the second period, the Guelph Storm picked up their play in the third period. Their intensity and ability to win faceoffs meant that Cedrick Andree was facing more shots on goal.
In the dying minutes of the third, Andree made not one, but two, remarkable, championship worthy saves. Sending TD Place in Ottawa into a frenzy. It is the kind of saves in big games that a young kid would dream of. For Cedrick, he was able to make his dream become a reality.
“After the first save, I was shocked I got it,” said Andree. “There was puck luck on my side. I found a way to make those saves. It was pretty special to hear all the fans chanting my name and to have the support of my teammates.”
The 67’s, fresh off of making history, head to Guelph hoping to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. The Storm is looking to repeat the recent history of coming back from series deficits. For Cedrick Andree, his goal is to help his team win. And with the way he performed under tremendous pressure on Saturday afternoon, perhaps a Memorial Cup is in his sights in the not too distant future.