January 01, 2006

Happy New Year – A Good Start to 2006!

Hope everyone had a happy and safe start to the new year. Got a call from the sister-in-law this morning asking if we were up for a road trip to Kingston to see the game. After being assured that there were plenty of tickets available we hit the road in short order.

There were a lot of Ottawa fans there judging by the jerseys and the cheering. For those who have not been there, it’s no Civic Centre but it’s a nice, community-centre based arena that allows the fans to get quite close to the action and the players. The funniest part of the game is the cheer-track. Everyone knows about laugh tracks on TV; that’s the canned laughter that you often hear for sit-coms. Well, in Kingston they have the home-crowd-goes-wild-for-the-goal track. It goes on for much longer than anyone in the arena is cheering. It is so lame! The cheers for the Ottawa goals were much more sincere (and live).

The fans in Kingston are all very friendly and engaging. It didn’t take long for someone to strike up a conversation and mention the bizarre game on Friday night. Here’s a link to the Kingston Whig.

Hopefully the link will still work. If not, you can send me a message and I’ll summarize the article. It involves very questionable refereeing, a parade of penalties, and suspensions handed out to two Fronts and one Ice Dog. The best line in the newspaper article is when the Kingston coach is quoted as saying that his wallet is not thick enough for him to say what he really wanted to say about the game. Protests to follow.

Ottawa faced a rather depleted Kingston team. Ben Shutron and Chris Stewart sat out the suspensions earned on Friday, Andrew Wilson, Bobby Hughes and Connor Cameron are injured and goaltender Daryl Borden is in Regina with our Logan Couture at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. For our team, Pat Campbell, Tibor Radulay and Arron Alphonso were scratches in addition to Logan. Brady Morrison started in net.

First Period: Ottawa started really quickly, winning the opening face-off and creating a bunch of activity in front of the Kingston goalie but after that, both teams looked rather sluggish. Kingston took 4 penalties in the period to Ottawa’s one. All 5 penalties were killed. Kingston was first on the score board at 11:28 when Todd Griffin got it by Brady. Peder Skinner earned the assist. Shots on goal after the first period: 17 – 14 for Ottawa.

Second Period: Kingston’s Matthew Reis was still in the penalty box for his interference penalty late in the first period when, just 33 seconds in the frame, Julian Talbot scored with assists from Brodie Beard and Chris Hulit. It didn’t take long for Kingston to retake the lead when Peder Skinner scored with assists by Michael Kolarz and Mike Looby at the 5:40 mark. Then our Robbie Lawrance paired up with Julian Talbot to tie it up again just half way through the period. The Kingston goalie, Danny Taylor, got knocked down in the process, the net was knocked loose and a Kingston player ended up in the net. I was listening to the local broadcast of the game and the announcer was upset that a penalty was not called. He was musing at length about the officiating and comparing it to the quality of the Friday game. It didn’t look at all like interference to me and we were sitting pretty much level with the crease. Danny was slow getting up (but not nearly as slow as the Kingston trainer was in getting to his injured player). No call was made and the goal stood. Ottawa took 3 penalties in the period which they killed and Kingston only had one infraction. Shots on goal after two: 29 – 28 in Ottawa’s favour.

Third Period: It just goes to show-ya that it pays to shoot the puck. At the very start of the period, Ottawa was playing like it was a warm-up when Kingston’s Radek Smolenak took a pass from Michael Kolarz and whipped one past Brady from the slot with just 17 seconds elapsed in the period. I don’t think Brady saw it coming. But the boys kicked into gear and owned the rest of the period assisted by some stellar, on-his-head goaltending from Brady. 2 minutes and 26 seconds into the period, Pat Daley tied it up again by picking up the puck at the edge of the crease and getting it by Danny Taylor. Joe Pleckaitis and Jordan Gallea got the assists. Ottawa finally took the lead at the 7:31 mark when, on the power play, Elgin Reid scored with assists by Chris Hulit and Julian Talbot. Ottawa stayed clean for the period and Kingston only had the one penalty which resulted in Ottawa’s game-winning goal. Final shots on goal: 40 – 35 for Ottawa.

Thoughts: It’s a win over a team that’s in our Division and ahead of us in the standings. Belleville won too so it keeps us even with them. But one has to remember that the Frontenacs dressed 3 fewer players than the 67s and the Fronts were missing two big scorers in Bobby Hughes and Chris Stewart who have 42 and 41 points respectively. But to the 67s’ credit, they kept Kingston’s big scorer Cory Emmerson pointless for the night. I watched the new kid Jordan for a bit. I’m no expert that’s for sure but he made some great defensive moves and managed to push a couple of the opposition around a bit. But he’s not a graceful skater by any means. Brady Morrison was great against his former team. He showed some great athleticism and was blessed by some good luck to boot. He had a good game. All the skaters who dressed saw some ice time although Coach basically stuck with 3 lines most of the time.

It’s a great start to the new year. Here’s looking forward to the return of Logan and fast healing for Arron.

Cheers! (without the cheer-track)

Three Star Selections:

First star: Julian Talbot (goal and an assist)
Second star: Kingston’s Todd Griffin (goal)
Third star: Brady Morrison (32 saves – quite a few of them real beauties)


theognete said...

My daughter and I were at the game and despite the different surroundings (compared to the Civic Center) rather enjoy the games in Kingston. You can get right down beside the bench and hear lots of comments and its quite entertaining to see Killer interacting with some of his players! Good, entertaining game but the lack of Shutron and Stewart I am sure hurt Kingston. I thought the Talbot, Hulit and Bickell line played exceptionally well and all had a ton of chances. PS. Jessie saw you from across the ice (we were behind the 67s bench) and we tried to find you but were unsuccesful.

Blitzen said...

Sorry we missed you. We were up in the rafters in Section 6. We didn't know the place well enough to see if we could move to other seats without causing a rukus. Two of us were wearing jersys and we didn't want to leave a bad impression in another rink.

I thought the core of the top line played well too. Coach kept moving Voyta, Elgin and Joslin around the different lines.

I thought Chris was looking rather pain-free. He was doing his usual stuff getting in the way and pressing the opposition. Too bad he couldn't score on that beautiful breakaway.

We were looking at the schedule for the rest of the year and unfortunately there aren't anymore weekend away games in Kingston. It's a nice distance for a day trip and we always enjoy a visit to Kingston.

See you on Friday.