February 19, 2006

Great Big Goalie Steals it From Ottawa: Kitchener 3 – Ottawa 1

Set up for tonight’s game with credit going to #1 67s Fan from the 67s discussion board: http://www.ottawa67s.com/67s/vBulletin/showthread.php?t=2484

Scratches for tonight:
Kitchener: Julien Machabee, Michale Pelech and Victor Oreskovich
Ottawa: Matt Lahey, Brent Mackie and Tibor Radulay

We welcomed a large contingent of Ranger fans to the game. The ones I saw were having a lot of fun, dancing to the band music before the game and cheering loudly during the game. They look like a fun crowd. Must be some dedicated as they went on the road for all 3 games. Hope they had a chance to enjoy some of Winterlude while in the nation's capital.

Before the game started, Captain Mark Fraser presented Jeff Hunt with a cheque for $3000 raised by the Ranger club for Sebastian Savage. This gesture adds to an already glowing club reputation for being a top notch organization. Ottawa fans showed their appreciation for this consideration.

Now to hockey. This will be a fast update ‘cause I have some paying work to get done tonight.

First Period: The period started with even play but that ended in the first minute and a half when Liscomb was called for boarding. Then it was pretty much trading penalties, each team earning 5 penalties each for the frame. By my calculations, there were about 5:20 minutes of 5-on-5 play. Chris Hulit was having a tough time keeping his stick on the ice. Missed at least two passes in the early going and then made a few bad passes. Kitchener played very aggressively on the PK. Ottawa put up some great pressure but just couldn’t connect on the centering passes. Rebounds were few and the Kitchener defense cleared away the front of the net. Kitchener got the 2 man advantage when Elgin Reid was called for high sticking while Vojta was already in the penalty box for, can you guess, yes! a hooking penalty. It took the Rangers less than 30 seconds to put together a nice tic-tac-toe passing play to get the goal. I don’t think Danny had even stopped at the one post when it was already in the net by the other post. Matt Auffrey got the goal with help from Evan McGrath and Justin Azevado.

Kitchener almost went ahead in the last two minutes when Myles Applebaum broke away on an Ottawa turn over in the Kitchener zone. He was going in all alone when Elgin’s great back checking effort broke up the scoring chance.

The score after 20 minutes: 1 – 0 for Kitchener with shots on goal 12 – 9 favouring Ottawa.

Second Period: Bob (the guy who sits next to me) and I were speculating on how long it would take until the first penalty was called. We figured about 3 minutes. Wrong! Try 30 seconds. But during the delayed call (the penalty was going to Kitchener) Logan continued the play, got the puck to McGinn who got his own rebound and got it past Turple to even it up. Aaron Alphonso got the other assist on the goal.

At just about halfway through the period, there was a kafuffle in the corner to the right of Danny. McGinn was already off the ice for a hooking call when Hulit was called for checking from behind, Beard and Kitchener’s Jean-Michel Rizk were sent off for roughing. This gave Kitchener another two man advantage on which they capitalized in 5 seconds. Matt Auffrey scored his second for the night when his shot from the face-off circle went through the 5-hole. Some folks thought Danny was screened but from my advantage, which was pretty much right behind the player, it was a clear shot that Danny should have had. Jakub Kindl and Evan McGrath got the assists (for Evan's 99th point of the season).

Both teams were playing hard but towards the end, it looked like Ottawa was running out of steam. Danny made a couple of big saves in the last couple of minutes of play to keep the game close.

At the end of the second period, it was 2 – 1 for Kitchener with shots on goal 25 – 16 in Ottawa’s favour.

Third Period: Kitchener continued with the penalties and Ottawa continued not to take advantage of the advantage. There were numerous scoring opportunities but the second player was either in too deep or didn’t have his stick in the right spot. Turple gave up a bunch of big rebounds but we just didn’t have someone in the right spot at the right time. After burning off a Grimaldi hooking penalty (taken at 16:47 to bust up a break away ‘cause Joslin missed his play), Ottawa gained control of the puck and Danny went to the bench for the added player. The team put up great pressure and had a couple of great opportunities but a missed pass at the blue line got the puck to Jean-Michel Rizk and he fired it at the net before it could be back checked away from him. He got an unassisted empty netter to seal the game for his team.

Final score: Kitchener 3 – 1 with shots on goal 38 – 26 in Ottawa’s favour.

Thoughts: I have to admit that the team played much better than I had anticipated given their last two Sunday performances against teams that were on long road trips. Today they played really well. Some good hits, great work along the boards, and as always, Logan Couture contributed everywhere. Thomas Kiriakou also had a good game digging for the puck and trying to make plays. Even though we lost, and not by much, I was really happy with their play. Much happier in fact than their win on Friday (but we’ll take the points thank you very much).

It’s hard to get too fussed on the fact that they went 0/13 on the power play. I don’t have the time to figure it all out but my guess is that a number of them were not full 2-minute PPs. And Kitchener does have the best PP in the league. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that two of the Kitchener goals were with a two-man advantage and the third was into an empty net. Yes they were playing their third game on the road and yes it was the third start for their goalie. Kitchener did not play like it was a third game.

Forget about smaller goalie equipment, how about smaller goalies! I see now why the Rangers have the lowest goals-against in the league. Their goalie fills the net. And whatever he lets go as rebounds, the big defensive corps clears away. This would also explain why they don’t sweat getting penalties and why they play so aggressively on the PK. This would also explain why they are number 1 in the league on the PK. This is a big team – much bigger than our guys. But wait for our guys to fill in; they’ll hold their own in the not-to-distant future (eat your vegetables boys!).

I hope our guys can put up a good effort when they play a rested Kitchener squad on Friday.

Three Stars of the Game:

First Star: Dan Turple (Kitchener goalie with 37 saves)
Second Star: Logan Couture (an assist and lots of work)
Third Star: Matt Auffrey (Kitchener 2 goals)

Hardest Working 67: Joe Grimaldi


No comments: