IN THE NEWS
From SLAM! Sports, 67's break Spirit.
From Saginaw’s site, 67's 5, Spirit 3, Kvapil Extends Points Streak to 14 Games. And from the Ottawa Sun, Barre Campbell writes, 67's survive hardy Spirit. A snippet:
"It didn't seem like we played 60 minutes like we should have," Akeson said. "When we came out for the first 20, we came out flat and they were all over us.
They [Ottawa] struggled against the cellar-dwelling Saginaw Spirit last night -- even had to endure a bit of booing from the 7,949 fans at the Civic Centre -- but managed to escape with a 5-3 victory.
"For a better part of the game, they outworked us," said 67's coach Brian Kilrea, who has complained about his team's focus throughout the season. "So it was one of those situations where we were fortunate we got the two points."
The fans started getting on the 67's when they struggled on a second-period power play. They finished the night with one goal in six man-advantage opportunities.
"I heard them at one point start to chant that it was boring," said 67's winger Jeremy Akeson. "They pay to come watch us play and they want to see some excitement. When our power play isn't going, it's not only disappointing to them, but it's disappointing to us."
The game was broadcast on both radio (TEAM 1200/Dave Schreiber and AJ Jakubec), as well as television (Rogers/Scott MacArthur, Lee Versage, and Ed Hand).
Schreibs said that Battochio’s shoulder is definitely better. He will be practicing tomorrow without a harness, but the team is not going to rush him. He said that at this point surgery doesn’t appear to be needed.
Some notes from the pre-game interview with Killer.
On playing Saginaw: They’re not in a position to overlook anyone; they’re not that secure themselves. You always have to respect the opposition. On the last showing by the 67s v Kingston: They did not play well. He said that if you don’t come ready for the game, you wind up on the wrong end of the score sheet. On Battochio’s shoulder: He feels good; has good ROM. But they’re not rushing him. They’ll err on the caution side.
Forwards: Bickell, Petruzalek, Kaspar; VanderVeeken, Bonello, Mancari (started); Akeson, Talbot, Hulit; and Lawrance, Alphonso with rotating centre.
Defence pairings: Colbert, Staubitz; Van Herpt, Reid; Joslin, Jarram.
Starting in net: Guadagnolo. Spezza was on the bench.
Out: Ouellette (inj-mono), Beard (inj-shoulder), Lahey (inj-concussion), McGinn (inj-chest infection), and Battochio (inj-shoulder).
Ottawa came out with energy, but Saginaw forechecked hard and were able to contain the forwards. While Ottawa did get some chances early on, Saginaw scored first (Kvapil). The 67s began to play really sloppy hockey, including bad passes, puck control, no physicality, defensive breakdowns, etc. They had two PPs, but their play resembled that of the side on the PK. They had 0 SOG during the second PP! But then Petruzalek caught a break-away, and scored a beautiful goal to tie the game up.
In the second, the Spirit came out fighting – they had a 2-on-1 rush off an early face-off requiring Guadagnolo to make a great save. The first 10 minutes of the second were just dreadful, including the PP. The 67s had trouble with puck control, and the couldn’t get the puck into the offensive zone, let alone shots on the net. It was at this point that the crowd began booing. Bickell saved the period though, when he scored a beautiful goal. After that, Colbert stood Kvapil (SAG) up at the blue line, and then the 67s were filled with energy. The second part of the period was much better, including SOGs and chances right up to the buzzer. They scored 2, while the Spirit got 1. Should also note that VanderVeeken was pulled off the Mancari-Bonello line and replaced by Lawrance. Lawrance had an awesome night!
In the third, the 67s came out fighting. They played a much better period, (maybe realizing that they would not be able to sleep walk through this match). Anyway, they scored 2 more goals, and hung on to win. Not a cake-walk by any stretch. Oy.
IMPRESSIONS OF THE 67s
Lawrance had an excellent showing tonight. He was moved up to play with Mancari and Bonello at the end of the second period. He worked his butt off. He was skating hard, forechecking, assisting in goals, getting chances (one big chance was off the cross bar in the first period). He was responsible defensively, and also drew penalties. Overall – best game I’ve seen him play so far this season.
Petruzalek was the best player for the 67s. He played consistently over his shifts. Scored, had and made chances for others, was physical. A nice job. Kaspar and Bickell both had good nights, though not the best.
Mancari. I really like this guy. Actually, Mancari and Bonello are so fun to watch. Mancari seemed to get energized during the second, and was out there scoring, getting chances, finishing checks. Bonello was doing his thing – working hard, working well with Mancari, drawing penalties.
Bonello was interviewed during the second intermission on the Rogers broadcast. He said that the team came out thinking that they just had to show up and they would win this game. But Saginaw was working hard, playing for their pride. Killer told them that Saginaw came to win, not just for the bus ride. He said that a lot of guys were talking about the London game – not focusing on tonight's game.
Talbot and Hulit continue to work hard, but have not had the explosive, showy plays of a few weeks ago.
Akeson. Another strong game for Akeson.
Reid had a strong night – he did make some defensive errors, but overall was one of the stronger defensemen on the ice for the 67s.
Colbert still seams a little unsteady – for instance, hesitating on whether to take the man or the puck, and sloppy passes out of his zone.
Staubitz fought with Gimblett (SAG), after a scuffle ensued when he pushed Pyatt (SAG), who then fell onto Guadagnolo. Standing up for the goalie is always a good thing (even when you caused it!). Still has ripped pants.
Guadagnolo. Not a bad showing. Made some spectacular saves as per usual.
IMPRESSIONS OF THE SPIRIT
Saginaw was very good on the PK – they were able to keep Ottawa’s PP disorganized and ineffective. They were physical all night, rushing to the net, forechecking hard, etc. A nice job by this team, who have not been getting much respect d/t their stats. (Isn’t it amazing what playing against Ottawa can do for a team’s performance?)
Kvapil. The best player on the ice for the Spirit. He is such a good player – dangerous. You can’t leave this guy unchecked. Not only did he score, but he had some great passes to teammates, one of which resulted in a very nice PP goal by Birner.
Gimblett. A big, strong player. One of their few oldies. He played physical, got up in Guadagnolo’s face (and landed on his head) a few times. Fought with Staubitz.
Corrente had a good night. He made some nice body blocks. At times had good positioning, allowing him to rush in to play the puck for SOG etc.
Whitely is one tall, tall, bloke. I think they said 6’5”. He is not very thick, though, so he has a ‘willowy’ appearance.
Harrison seemed to be a physical player, and a hard worker. Also noticed Borges, Caughell, Pyatt, and Birner.
1, Petruzalek, (17) (Bickell, Kaspar), 10:17
2, Bickell, (15) (Petruzalek, Kaspar), 14:53
2, Mancari, (21) (Bonello, Lawrance), 16:33
3, Akeson, (10) (Joslin, Colbert), 05:18 (PP)
3, Kaspar, (15) (Petruzalek, Colbert), 12:27
1, Kvapil, (17) (Birner, Corrente), 05:47
2, Birner, (8) (Kvapil, McNeill), 00:36
3, Caughell, (4) (Harrison, Borges), 01:40
OHL three stars were: 1. Guadagnolo, 2. Kaspar, and 3. Akeson.
TEAM 1200 three stars were: 1. Petruzalek, 2. Kvapil (SAG), and 3. Kaspar. An honourable mention to Akeson.
It was a two man job tonight, with Cox and Reid. I really had no probs with the reffing or linesmaning tonight.
7949, and no parking difficulties – however, I expect Sunday to be a different story.
This Sunday afternoon (1.23.3005) vs London. (They were reporting today on The TEAM 1200 that there are 600 tickets remaining.)