January 22, 2006

Great Team Effort - The Second Shutout for the Weekend!

Well, it wasn’t the trip of their dreams by any stretch of the imagination. Owen Sound completed their annual eastern road trip with their third loss in Ottawa this afternoon. They lost in to Kingston in overtime on Friday and had a “stinker” 4- 1 loss yesterday in Belleville (their own web site called it that).

Owen Sound has 3 big scorers on the team: Bobby Ryan, second overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and 4th in scoring in the OHL with 79 points, Jeff Kyrzakos in 10th spot with 65 points and Mike Angelidis in 15th spot with 60 points (which was the same as Chris Hulit but Mike had 41 goals to Chris’ 23). And the Attack’s defencemen Theo Peckam and Bobby Sanguinetti played against each other in NHL Prospects game where Bobby got two assists in the team Orr win.

Ottawa came off a home and home series with Peterborough where Ottawa won 5 – 0 on Friday and lost 5 - 4 back in Peterborough last night. Three games in a weekend and any amount of travel in winter has to take its toll on everyone. Ottawa’s captain Julian Talbot dressed last night and tonight; not sure what’s up with the game misconduct issued on Friday. The article in the Ottawa Citizen on Saturday said that the infraction came with an automatic two-game suspension with the possibility of more upon review. Maybe nothing happens until the OHL offices reopen on Monday.

Ottawa was without healthy scratches Brent Mackie and Joe Pleckatis and Tibor Radulay was out with a concussion suffered on Friday night in his brief tussle with Trevor Hendrix.

First Period: Ottawa dominated the period despite getting 4 penalties strung close together in the second half – including a half a minute stretch where they were down two men. The 67s killed the penalties and on one kill Christ Hulit forced a turnover at the Ottawa blue line and broke away with a great chance for a short handed goal. But Ouzas would have none of that and Chris was denied. There were numerous other great opportunities for Ottawa but Michael was outstanding in net. At the end of the first 20 minutes it was tied at 0 with Ottawa leading the shots on goal: 17 – 7.

Second Period: Ottawa started strong in the period but Owen Sound took over for the last 5 minutes or so. Among the great plays of the period was a 2-on-1 break away with Talbot and Hulit but Ouzas stoned them again! He kept his team in this game big time. Alphonso got himself into penalty trouble with a couple of nearly back to back calls (although the second one was highly suspect) but again, Ottawa killed those two plus the third penalty (hooking call on Vojta at 18:53). The second period ended still at a 0 – 0 tie with shots on goal still in Ottawa’s favour: 22 – 18.

Third Period: Now I’m starting to get nervous. How much longer can this go? Well, about 10 minutes more. After a few more heart-stopping chances, Talbot dug one out of the corner and sent it to Hulit in front of the crease and he went top shelf for the goal! McGinn also got an assist on what would turn out to be the winning goal. Then, with just over 2 minutes to play, Derek Joslin got the insurance goal after a whole flurry of activity around the net where Ottawa kept coming up with the puck. Joslin fired it from the point and the goal found its way in. McGinn and Hulit were credited with assists. I have no idea how the folks figured out who assisted on it ‘cause just about everyone had their stick on that puck at some point in the previous 30 seconds. Owen Sound pulled the goalie but the extra attacker couldn’t make the difference. Ottawa had a couple of chances to salt it away in the open net but they couldn’t make it. The game ended 2 - 0 for Ottawa with final shots on goal of 32 – 25 Ottawa.

Thoughts on the Game: I thought both teams played really well for a third weekend game for both of them. There were plenty of ohh-ahh moments for the crowd as our boys put together some great chances and Michael Ouzas showed why he is among the top goalies in the league. The play moved up and down the ice, the checking was close and there were plenty of big hits.

Again, the boys showed what they can do when they are in the right head-space. Everyone was putting in the big extra efforts that are so exciting to see. Couture down on the ice and reaching out his stick to poke the puck away, Kiriakou pushing through players to move the puck forward, Talbot slowing down the power play break out of the Attack zone, Grimaldi pushing the big Attack scorers out of position, Liscomb working hard along the boards, great defensive plays to block shots and clear rebounds. And let’s not forget Danny’s second shutout of the weekend! Lots to like.

I know I said it on Friday but it really seems that we are seeing a different team. They seem to be having a lot of fun working their butts off on the ice. The new guys Liscomb and Grimaldi are great and it seems everyone has stepped up their game. They are both getting lots of ice time. Jamie looks at home on the top line and came away with two points tonight. And Kiriakou is just working so hard – he’s getting pretty dangerous in his own right. The standings in the conference remain close but I think we have a team that can move up the standings.

Three Stars:

#1 – Danny Battochio (another perfect game – 25 saves)
#2 – Chris Hulit (wining goal and an assist on the other goal)
#3 – Michael Ouzas – (30 saves and pretty much the reason the game was this close)

Hardest working 67: Jamie McGinn but it could have been just about any of the guys.


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