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December 31, 2005

Sorry about that, Chief… Missed it by that much

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I’m sure that many of you are too young to know that line. Oh well. A TV classic that you young folks missed. None of the current crop of reality-bumph comes close.

Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. Sorry for no report for the Kingston game; I had great tickets to the Senators-Hurricanes game which I couldn’t pass up (corporate box in the 100-level -- sweet!). Boy, when they’re on their game, it is something to watch. Once they got out of the first period (thanks to the Dominator), there was no stopping them. Had a grand time.
Anyway, to our business at hand…..

Going into tonight’s game, Ottawa was still in 7th place in the conference with 36 points with the Belleville Bulls hot on their heels just one point back and 2 games in hand. John Hughes and Matt Beleskey each had four points to pace the Belleville Bulls to a 5-2 victory over the Oshawa Generals on Wednesday night while Ottawa was in winning form over the Kingston Frontenac.

Scratches for Ottawa tonight were Pat Campbell, Brent Mackie, Shea Kewin and of course Logan Couture who is shooting up the place in the under-17 tournament. Jordan Gallea suited up for tonight’s game.

On to our summary:

First Period: Ottawa won the first face-off but Belleville took over from there for the first half. It took about 61/2 minutes for Ottawa to register its first shot on goal. I wasn’t keeping track but it seemed that Belleville was winning most of the face-offs and battles along the boards. But something lit a fire under the boys at about the halfway mark and the play got faster and more physical. Ottawa burned off both penalties (Bickel at 1:44 for delay of game (puck over the glass) and Gallea at 13.23 for cross checking). Belleville played like perfect gentlemen thus avoiding any feel-shame-go-free episodes. The period ended without goals. Shots on goal were 6 – 14 for Belleville.

Second Period: This period was a little more exciting but it ended badly for our boys. We had 2 excellent scoring chances right at the top of the period. I didn’t see who took the shot but Laland just got his toe on it to deflect it into the corner. Then someone passed it into the crease but the lurking Barber Pole wasn’t able to get his stick on it for a clear, guaranteed score. Chris Hulit was back in the lineup but he took hit early in the period that appeared to aggravate his injury – he got up slowly and it looked like he was in pain. But it didn’t stop him from having a good night in my opinion. I like Chris a lot – I find that he’s an exciting player to watch and he creates opportunities.

Laland kept him team in the game this period making some pretty good saves on hard shots and through traffic.

Ottawa finally got on the score board 5:44 into the period when, in a flurry of activity in front of Laland, the puck popped free right in front of Pat Daley who was parked at the corner of the crease. He took advantage of the opportunity and potted the first goal of the game.

The team continued to work and Danny made some nice saves but, despite all this hard work (cue the ominous music) bad things happened. It all started when, with 3 minutes to go, for no acceptable reason, Jacob Voyta missed picking up an easy puck backing up to his own blue line. The next three goals by Belleville were actually nice goals. Very nice goals. One would even say pretty. Danny didn’t stand a chance. (We sit at the visitor’s end and had a pretty good view of them). T hese goals, in my inexpert opinion, all stemmed from the single miscue by Mr Voyta (we should put an orange jersey on this guy). The first goal was by Matt Beleskey at the 17:00 mark from a feed by John Hughes (see notes at the beginning of the blog to see why these are a couple of dangerous guys). The momentum definitely changed. Pat Ouellette took a boarding penalty seventeen seconds later. Ottawa was doing a pretty darn good job of killing the penalty (actually got a couple of short-handed shots on goal) and then another terrible thing happened. Ottawa was pressing in the Belleville zone (short handed) and the play shifted just as Ottawa was going for a line change. Ottawa got tagged with too many men on the ice at 18:25. Mr Daley represented the bench in the penalty box. This gave Belleville the two-man advantage for almost a minute of which they took advantage without a moment’s hesitation. Well actually about 32 seconds of hesitation if anyone is counting. Scott Baker got the goal with assists from John Hughes (sounding familiar?) and Matt Kelly. That got Pat Ouellette out of the feel-shame-go-free spa. Then, with one second to go in the period, still with the man advantage, Andrew Self put it home with the help of Cory Tanaka and Matt Kelly. Three goals in three minutes – the third one with one second left. Man this is not nice if you’re a 67s fan. But pretty darn exciting if you’re a Bulls fan. The second period ended with the Bulls up by 2, a whole lotta momentum, no penalties, and still leading shots on goal: 21 – 29.

Third Period: I didn’t have a good feeling going into this period but, as Dave Schreiber says, the only predictable thing about junior hockey is that it’s unpredictable. And our boys wasted no time showing us just how true this is. Before the first two minutes were up, Robbie Lawrance fired a shot from the point that Laland mishandled and the puck found its way home. Pat Ouellette got the assist. A mere 34 seconds later, Bickel tied it with a pretty feed from Chris Hulit (who you will recall is hurtin’). We’re tied and all things are possible! The crowd goes wild! Voyta took a stupid penalty in the first half but the team burned it off. Ottawa played aggressively and put 12 shots on Laland while the Bulls were only able to generate 6. The game ended in a tie and total shots on goal: 36 – 38 for Belleville.

OT: Coach started with Hulit, Talbot, Joslin and Beard. It was exciting end-to-end play with great chances by both teams. However, just as the announcer mentioned the last minute of play, John Hughes ended the game with the help of Ryan Berard. Final shots on goal: 38 – 36 for Ottawa.


Thoughts: Could-a-been, would-a-been, should-a-been. This was a very winnable game for the 67s. They played well, I liked most of their defense, they had lots of scoring opportunities and Danny did his job. I truly believe the pivotal point was when Voyta missed the puck. He did not have a good game at all as he made other dumb defensive moves (or lack thereof). One has to be careful about placing the results (good or bad) on one player but …. I know this is a development league which is why it was interesting to watch Jordan Gallea play but Voyta has had more chance to develop and it’s not looking good. T he fact that he did not make the Czech junior team may be telling. He did not belong on the top line and Kilrea finally benched him late in the third period – he didn’t hit the ice for the last 7 or so shifts in regulation and nothing in OT. This may not be one of Kilrea’s best diamond-in-the-rough projects.

Coach played with his lines again. On the top line he kept the core of Hulit, Talbot and Bickel but played with the other two spots. Radulay had some time, as did Reid, Beard, and Joslin.

PK teams were combinations of Hulit, Joslin, Beard, Talbot, McGinn, Reid, Kiriakou, with cameo appearances by Voyta (hunh?) and Alphonso.

Chris Hulit took more hits and you could tell by the end that he was in pain. He was on the ice for the OT goal and was clearly running on fumes. Talbot was also pretty pooped. It would be nice to know the minutes on ice for these guys. The outcome might have been different if they had had the chance to get off the ice about 30 seconds sooner. Alphonso also re-injured his knee in the game. Oh no! This guy has spunk!

This was a pretty physical game but the refereeing looked suspiciously like last year. This is not a gripe that Ottawa had 5 penalties while Belleville only had one (!). Both teams got away with a bunch of stuff. It’s just that one would not come close to suggesting that this was a closely called game. It was in VAST contrast with what’s happening at the world juniors.

We slip to 8th spot in the conference with this game but I think these guys will come on strong in the second half of the season. Let’s wait and see what Kilrea has up his sleeve in the trades department.


Final Score: 3 – 4 for Belleville in OT

Game Stars:

First Star: John Hughes (Belleville – goal and two assists)
Second Star: Jamie McGinn (one assist and very busy)
Third Star: Matt Beleskey (Belleville - 1 goal)


Have a happy and safe slide into 2006!

December 17, 2005

Tough Start to the Weekend - Belleville Bulls Defeat the Barber Poles: 3 – 1

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This was the 6th of 8 matches this season with Ottawa winning three of the previous 5 games and coming into today’s game, Belleville was three points behind the 67s with a game in hand. Kilrea was on the road tonight doing some scouting and Ottawa played without Campbell (healthy scratch), Radulay (taking time to recover properly) and Vojta who apparently is in Vancouver getting ready to play with the Czech team in the World Juniors. The Bulls had the second best penalty kill in the league according to the stats on the OHL site.

First Period: Elgin Reid was moved up to the top line tonight to replace Jakub Vojta on defense. Belleville got the first goal early in the period when Bickell miscued in the neutral zone and the puck was picked up by Belleville’s Nick Pageau who got the unassisted goal with what looked like a relatively soft shot that got in through the 5-hole on Danny. The only Ottawa goal for the game came at the 14:00 mark when Bickell took a feed from Hulit and fired it from a sharp angle over the shoulder of Kevin Lalande. Belleville took 4 penalties in the first period compared to Ottawa’s 1. It’s easy to understand how the Bulls have such a good PK – I’m not sure the 67s got more than a couple of shots on goal during the 4 penalties. Shots one goal after the first period: 13 – 7 for Ottawa.

Second Period: Belleville scored their only PP goal and the eventual game winner at 14:30 in the period when Matt Beleskey took a feed right in front of the crease and dribbled one under the stick-hand of Danny who was already down. Ottawa played hard during the period and actually seemed to control the play most of the period but they just couldn’t convert anything into goals. McGinn was absent for most of the period with equipment problems. Among the bright moments during the period: Belleville was streaking in with a two-on-one with a trailing third danger-player just ready for a drop pass. Danny followed the play well and made a beautiful save! Shots on goal after two: 27 – 16 for Ottawa.

Third Period: Again, Ottawa played a strong third period but it wasn’t enough to get the job done. Both teams killed the Power Plays effectively (2 PPs for Ottawa and 1 for Belleville). Beleskey fired a hard shot at 12:36 for the unassisted goal but I think it must have deflected off an Ottawa player. Ottawa tried real hard right to the buzzer, including pulling Danny in the last minute for the extra attacker, but it was not to be. Final shots on goal for the game: 41 – 20 in Ottawa’s favour.

Stars:

For some strange reason unknown to us mortals, the three stars were not announced in the arena and obviously no one skated out for the announcement which was more than a tad disappointing. This is a ritual to which I look forward at the end of each home game. Grrrr!

According to the OHL score sheet, the three stars were:
#1: Kevin Lalande (Belleville goalie – 40 saves)
#2: Matt Beleskey (Belleville – 2 goals)
#3: Julian Talbot (lots of chances and a real workhorse – an inspiration to us all)

Thoughts: Last Friday I mentioned that the Spitfires were outlucked – well I think that happened a bit to Ottawa tonight. They had a number of great opportunities but somehow they didn’t get the right bounces. Belleville seemed to get their sticks and bodies in the way lots and lots of times. Mind you, I could have made some of the blocks by running down the aisle, leaping over the glass and getting in front of the shot; some Ottawa players took enough time to text message the entire city with their plans. Not a lot of surprising moves.

Bickell seemed to have a strange night tonight. There was the lapse in the first period, he fell down at the Belleville blue line once for no apparent reason (but he did manage to still get his stick on the puck to keep it in the zone), he made some great passes – to BELLEVILLE, made some great plays but also was caught a number of times in the wrong spot. Not one of his more brilliant performances.

Kevin Lalande, a Clarence Creek native, had a lot of supporters at the game and he got the first star for his efforts. And, to be fair, he sure didn’t give up too many rebounds. But I don’t think he made a whole lotta spectacular saves either. The vast majority of the 67s shots were pretty much right on the crest or in his glove. 41 shots is a lot of rubber but not much was through traffic or in scrambles in front of the net. Good for the kid but … first star?? Not sure. I think that Danny had to be more athletic in the game and made some great saves and was also pretty cheap with the rebounds. I’m not arguing for a star for Danny – just commenting on my impressions of which goalie had the harder job. While I like it when the boys put it to the net, there really is a difference between quantity and quality.

As always, Julian Talbot was the workhorse tonight. That kid has to be one of the fittest athletes on the team given that he can work so hard night after night. He had some great moments that just didn’t end the way the script should have been written. Derek Joslin also worked hard tonight and for his efforts was named the hardest working 67.

It will be interesting to see what Killer does on his little “shopping” trip. I certainly don’t know anything about putting teams together but I’m sure it’s pretty difficult to find that sweet spot between assembling a solid team for this year and strengthening the foundation for future years. Who out there doesn’t think that there is more to the Guadagnolo/Sponsellor/Euro swap with Windsor that hasn’t played out yet??

The boys hit the road tonight for games in Barrie and Oshawa to wrap things up before Christmas. Here’s hoping for a safe and productive road trip and that that they get some wonderful early Christmas/Hanukah gifts.

Thanks for taking time to read our/my ramblings. I hope that my inexpert observations provide some entertainment value for those who can’t be there or hear the games (can you actually pick up an internet feed of the game in Iran??). This is our last home game before the holiday festivities and therefore my last post until then as well. We wish everyone a really fun and safe Christmas/Hanukah. And remember - this is just a game and the players are just kids with big hearts and big dreams.

Cheers and all the best!

December 11, 2005

It Was the Best of Times; It Was the Worst of Times – Not Necessarily in That Order….

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…with apologies to Charles Dickens.

The St. Mike’s Majors came to town today for their second visit this year. St. Mike’s won the first game 5-4. Before today’s game they were just one point up on the 67s in the Conference. You may recall their incredible run at the end of last season and their spoiler role in the playoffs. Well, they are certainly in the mix this year. Coming into today’s game, Justin Donati had 55 points for year (6th overall in the league) with a team leading +19 with Tyler Haskins not too far behind with 44 points (17th in the league) and a +17. You’ll understand the importance of these stats soon.

Today we welcomed Tibor Radulay to his first home game in a while. He played on Thursday in Peterborough but, from what I was told, according to his doctor’s instructions, he is not to play back-to-back games which is why he didn’t dress on Friday. Arron Aphonso and Pat Campbell were also back in today’s line up. Welcome back boys. To make room, defenseman Brent Mackie and forwards Joe Pleckatis and Shea Kewin were scratches today.

First Period: First and only Ottawa powerplay for the period came soon after the opening face-off when Cory Vitarelli was called 28 seconds into the game for elbowing. Ottawa didn’t do too much with the man advantage getting only 1 shot on goal for their trouble. And that was only after St, Mike’s got a shot on goal shorthanded. Not to worry because shortly after the penalty was over, the core of the Crazy-8s now accompanied by Brody Beard and Robbie Lawrance got the first score of the game. Jamie McGinn took a drop pass from Matt Lahey and put her home from the top of the face-off circle. Battman also got an assist on that one. St. Mike’s tied it a few minutes later when Derek Lewis took a shot from the point that was deflected past Danny by Matt Caria. Ottawa responded when Julian Talbot fired a wrist shot from the face-off circle that went over the shoulder of St. Mike’s goalie Wayne Savage to make it 2 – 1 for Ottawa. That was it for Savage as he was replaced by Ryan Nie.

Then Ottawa got themselves into penalty trouble. St. Mike’s was 9th in the league for their power play and Ottawa was 9th on the kill. I think those stats may be different once the numbers are crunched after today. Matt Lahey got caught on a cross-checking infraction and the PK team of Ouelette, Kiriakou, Reid, and Beard were beaten 40-some seconds into the penalty when Tyler Haskins took a feed from Justin Donati and scored the power play goal to tie up the game. Ottawa was barely back to even strength when Logan Couture was called for cross-checking. St. Mike’s didn’t waste any time when Justin Donati fired a wrist shot that got by Danny 20 seconds into the PP to go ahead by one point. Cory Vitarelli and Scott Lehman were credited with assists. That made it 2/2 on the power play for St. Mike’s. The defense was caught playing a bit sloppy in front of their net and leaving Danny on his own. Ottawa started the period strong but St. Mike’s took the momentum in the last half. A bright moment in the last period was when the puck got past Lawrance at the St. Mike’s blue line. One of the Donati twins (didn’t get the specific number) flew down the ice for a one-on-one with Danny. Danny made a great save with the right pad. That, and other saves, was the main reason the period ended with Ottawa down only a goal. End of the first period: Ottawa 2 – St. Mike’s 3, Shots on Goal: 14 – 26 for St. Mike’s.

Second Period: Here’s where the worst of times revealed itself for the Ottawa team. Ottawa started the period down a man when Arron Alphonso took a penalty at 19:07 of the first period for cross checking. We killed the remaining 1:08 of this one. Despite St. Mike’s taking 5 penalties for the period, compared to Ottawa taking only 1, and Ottawa actually having a brief 3 on 5 advantage, Ottawa did not do too well. Once the 3 on 5 situation was up to 4 on 5, St. Mike’s Tyler Haskins picked up a bouncing puck at his blue line and streaked in un-accosted to beat Danny on the stick-side with a backhanded shot. It was nice even though it was for the other guys. This little insult somehow got the 67s attention as they picked up their play somewhat. When St.Mike’s were down one man for having too many men on the ice, Jamie McGinn kept after a rebound in front of Nie until finally Nie fell back into the goal with the puck. Logan Couture and Jakub Vojta earned assists on the goal. But the momentum was short lived as St. Mike’s Matt Halischuck kept working during a delayed penalty call against Ottawa and tucked one under Danny for the goal. Shortly thereafter, Tyler Haskins got his hat trick when he got one past Danny’s outstretched hand. These last two goals were definitly the result of too many breakdowns by the Ottawa defense. Danny seemed a tad ticked after the last goal and I wondered if he might say something to the team during the intermission. At the end of the second period it was Ottawa 3 – St. Mike’s 6 with shots on goal of 31 – 29 for Ottawa.

Third Period: Well, whatever they said or did in the second intermission should also be said in the first intermission. Ottawa played a really strong third period and St. Mike’s didn’t except for their goalie. Ottawa kept the pressure up and it paid off. At the 8:52 mark of the period, Logan Couture picked up a rebound in front of the net and neatly put it over the glove hand of Nie. Brody Beard and Jamie McGinn got the assists. The tempo was definitely with Ottawa when Logan Couture picked up a turnover and went in on Nie. A great save by the St. Mike’s goalie robbed Logan. Later, great digging by Chris Hulit at the St. Mike’s blue line got the puck to Julian Talbot who got it to Bryan Bickell for the 5th 67s goal of the afternoon. Now this is exciting! Less than two minutes later, Chris tied it up with a beautiful tip past Nie with help from Bryan Bickell and Julian Talbot. Ottawa kept going at St. Mike’s but once the coach called a time out, St. Mike’s settled down to get out of the third period even. Shots on goal after regulation play: 51 – 33 for Ottawa! St. Mike’s only got 4 shots on goal that whole period!

OT: Kilrea started his Crazy-8 line which now had Matt Lahey, Logan Couture, Jamie McGinn, Brody Beard and Robbie Lawrance for most of the game. Ottawa won the face-off and Brody took the puck around the back of his net but he didn’t get it out of the Ottawa zone. Jeff Larsh got it to Tyler Donati who wandered in and got a weak one past Danny 47 seconds into the OT period. Game over before it barely begun. Crap!


Thoughts: There’s something about the second period with the 67s. Seems to be their nap time or something. We’ve seen what they can do when they play 60 minutes – we just need to see more 60 minute games.

I tried to keep closer tabs on the lines today. From what I noted, Kilrea rolled some approximation of 4 lines for the first and second periods. The line that stayed the most consistently together was a new version of the Crazy-8s: Beard, Lahey, Lawrance, McGinn and Couture who were on the plus side for two of Ottawa’s goals today and on the minus side for two goals. The next most “together” line was the top line of Hulit, Bickell, Talbot, Vojta, and Joslin. That line was on the plus side for three of today’s goals. The returning boys didn’t appear to get much ice time today; I don’t think Radulay made back on the ice after early in the second period. In the third period, Kilrea seemed to rely on his core players on the first and second lines with cameo appearances by Campbell, Kirakou, Ryan, Daley, and Alphonso. Kilrea must really like what he sees in the McGinn/Coutoure pair as they rarely played apart. Between the two of them they notched 5 points today. The future looks good.

Even though we lost in overtime, I think this was a better game to watch than the game against Windsor on Friday.

Final Score: 7 – 6 for St. Mike’s

Game Stars:

First Star: Tyler Haskins (St. Mike’s – hat trick)
Second Star: Julian Talbot (goal and two assists)
Third Star: Jamie McGinn (2 goals and an assist)

Back to the work week for many of us – have a good one and see you next Friday.

Cheers!

December 10, 2005

Ottawa takes Windsor – 5 – 2

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Hello again. Here’s your summary for tonight’s game (yes – tonight’s game).

The Spitfires came to town to start their trip to Eastern Ontario. They played Ottawa tonight, play Belleville tomorrow, Kingston on Sunday and then head down the 401 back to Windsor. By any account, that’s a long trip.

While the Spitfires have had a tough start to the season, they’re doing OK; perhaps better than expected. Coming into tonight’s game they were only 1 point out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. This was also a bit of a homecoming for their goalie Anthony Guadagnolo. He was traded to Windsor after he left the 67s earlier this season demanding to be traded. Well grasshopper, your master welcomes you.

Well, let’s hope the rest of their trip is more productive for them than tonight.

First Period: Started with a bang as Voyta took an early hit and found that his stick flew over the glass into the visitor’s penalty box. Windsor got into penalty trouble early and often in this period – a total of 5 penalties leaving them shorthanded for at least 10 minutes, with a brief period of being down two players (which they survived with help from the cross bar). But before they got too deep into the penalty parade, they got on the score card first with a goal when Brett Liscomb took a pass in front of the crease at 8:27 into the period. Ryan Garlock and Cory McGillis assisted on the goal. At the 11:27 mark, Matt Lahey fired one in from the left face-off circle to even it up on the power play. Assists were credited to Brody Beard and Elgin Reid. In the last minute of play for the first period, Ottawa got the go-ahead on a power play goal when Brody Beard fired it from the point and Bryan Bickell deflected it past Guadagnolo. Ottawa only had one penalty for the period. Shots on goal: 12 – 5 for Ottawa which really isn’t a lot considering how much time Windsor played short handed. Stars for the first period: the posts and cross bars at both ends of the ice.

Second Period: Hey – Bryan can pass the puck! We barely finished cheering our team back onto the ice when bingo bango Chris Hulit scored from the face-off circle off a pass from Bryan Bickell. Jakob Vojta also earned an assist on the play before the first minute of the period was even over. Then it was Ottawa’s turn to go feel shame in the penalty box with 5 penalties for the period. Ottawa did a pretty good job of killing the penalties, at one point being down two players for 33 seconds. Danny did a fine job of making some awesome saves and the defense cleared the puck out of their own end. Yay!

I didn’t see the build up but Shea Kewin and Colin Cawardine (what an unfortunate name for a hockey player - might as we call him Sue) dropped the gloves to have a set-to about 5 minutes into the period. The whole thing was over pretty much before it started when Shea ended up on top of Colin. I don’t know if Colin fell or if Shea dropped him but the crowd determined that Shea got the better end of the deal.

With 3.4 seconds left to play in the period, Windsor got back into the game by knocking the puck out of the air past Danny right beside the net. The ref was right on top of it and denied Ottawa’s protests that it was hit in with a high stick.

At the end of the second period, Ottawa still lead 3 – 2; shots on goal were 15 – 22 for Windsor.

Third Period: Both teams went the first half of the period with only one penalty each. Then the teams earned 3 (Windsor) and 4 (Ottawa) trips to the penalty box including Guadagnolo getting a penalty for slashing his former team mate Pat Ouelette. Pat also earned a slashing penalty on the play. Ottawa kept Windsor scoreless for the period while scoring two power play goals of their own. Brody Beard scored the first one from the point just as one of the Windsor penalties expired. Half the arena was yelling at him to SHOOT! Don’t know if the guys actually hear any of this stuff but it makes us feel useful. Jamie McGinn and Logan Couture assisted on the goal. Elgin Reed scored the final goal of the game with a shot from the slot. Pat Ouellette and Chris Hulit helped out.

Final score: Ottawa 5 Windsor 2
Final shots on goal: 23 – 32 for Windsor.

Thoughts on the Game: Ya know, although Ottawa came out on the good side of the score, I can’t say that this was an inspiring game.

On the upside, Danny made some outstanding saves, there were some good hits (and brave ones – Pat Daley tried to take Brian Soso on the boards – no contest!), and some great offensive and defensive plays (pretty decent penalty kills considering Windsor went 0/8). That Logan Couture is one tough kid – he works hard, pesters the opposition in their own zone and gets banged around quite a bit. He just gets up and keeps on keeping on. Julian Talbot was also all over the place too digging for the puck, pressing for the turnover, threatening on the penalty kills.

But overall I think Ottawa was outplayed and Windsor was outlucked. They (Windsor) had some great opportunities that they just couldn’t close on. We saw the promise when Ottawa beat Peterborough last Sunday; tonight’s performance, by both teams, was relatively lackluster in my opinion.

But we’ll take the two points – there’s no picture on the score card and we’ll hope that Windsor gets some spark back to take on our divisional counterparts.

Three Stars: #1 – Brody Beard (goal and two assists)
#2 – Danny Battochio (30 saves)
#3 – Elgin Reed

Cheers and good night!

December 04, 2005

Friday Night’s Alright in the National Capital Region!

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Long time no hear! Sorry about that. Technical details – I have way too many userids and passwords to remember.

Friday was a hat trick for Ottawa teams:

Sens reigned the Kings: 5 – 1
67s stung Sarnia: 7 – 4
Olympiques sailed past the Drakkars: 6 – 1

A really quick recap for Friday ‘cause my memory is lousy, my notes are incomprehensible and I’ve already lost all my clever writings once this evening.

Sarnia might have come to town thinking that they are going waltz through the eastern part of the league having just beaten Peterborough in their own barn. Wrong!

It didn’t take long for the record to be set straight. The line my seat neighbor Jess calls the Crazy 8’s (8 – Lahey, 85 – Reid, 88 – McGinn, 89 – Couture and 19 - Ryan) scored just over 4 minutes into the game. McGinn scored with an assist from Logan Couture. At about the midway mark, Mackie got his first goal with the 67s with assists from Brody Beard and Pat Daley. On just their third shot on goal at about the halfway mark Bryan Bickell extended his point streak to 8 games with a goal, assisted by Chris Hulit and Derek Joslin. Later in the period, just what you don’t want to see – happened. Sarnia got one past Battman with 1:28 to go. The period ended 3 – 1 Ottawa. Shots on goal: 8 – 15 Sarnia.

The second period was notable for Ottawa’s penalty killing. Chris Hulit got himself into penalty trouble with a hooking penalty, a roughing penalty and, when he tried to discuss the last one with the ref, he earned himself a 10 minute misconduct to boot! Seems the ref was not much of a conversationalist and reinforced that point with authority. Ottawa killed all 4 penalties assessed. Sarnia scored one at about 8 minutes into the period and it ended 3 – 2 Ottawa. Shots on goal after 2: 18 – 24 Sarnia.

The third period wass more exciting. The Crazy 8’s started the period with a quick goal in the first minute of play. Pat Daley scored with assists from Couture and McGinn. Then I got to see a diving penalty called for the first time (ahoogha! ahooga! dive! dive! dive!). Chad Painchaud from Sarnia was called and, not having taken note of the ref’s earlier disdain for social discourse on the ice, got another 10 minutes for pressing the point. Our Crazy 8’s were only too happy to take advantage with a goal at 3:42 of the period when Lahey scored his second goal of the night with assists from Reid and, who else, Couture (the kid is everywhere!). The next goal was the most fun to cheer about: Shea Kewin was in the penalty box for holding. Couture was pressing in the Sarnia zone and intercepted a pass almost right in front of the net and popped it in for the shorthanded goal. Beauty! But Sarnia was not down for the count just yet. A couple of minutes later, they came back to score their first of two unanswered goals – one on a power play. After their goal at 16:53 of the third period, Sarnia was ready to pull the goalie for the 6th attacker, which they did at about 2 minutes left if memory serves me correctly. Ottawa defended well and got a couple of good chances to hit the open net. Bickell finally got it done with 17 second left to play.

Final score: 7 – 4 Ottawa
Final SoG: 32 – 24 Ottawa

First Star: Logan Couture (goal, 3 assists and generally a busy guy)
Second Star: Pat Lahey (2 goals)
Third Star: Chad Painchaud (Sarnia)

Thoughts: The last few games have been exciting to watch. They are fast (even with the penalties), with end-to-end rushes and great chances. It’s great to see Chris Hulit playing more like he did last year – lots of second effort. I just wish the guys could do a better job of clearing the puck out of their own zone. The last goal by Sarnia was the result of not getting the puck past their blue line. The young lads are great to watch. I hope we keep them and they stay healthy; we’re going to have some great hockey for the rest of this year and for a couple of years to come!

As always, your thoughts are welcome. Cheers!