February 03, 2006

Heartbreak by a Zebra!

Brampton came to town on a two game winning streak and standing third in the conference with 56 points. They have started putting some distance between themselves and the rest of the pack. Their top scorer, Wojtek Wolski is in the top 10 in the league with 70 points before tonight’s game. Woytek also had a good night at the Bell OHL All-Star Classic in Belleville on Wednesday where he had two goals and an assist in the Eastern Conference 9-3 win over the Western Conference. Kilrea coached the Eastern team and knew what this guy could do.

This will be the third and final game of Talbot’s suspension. Brent Mackie and Joe Pleckaitis were healthy scratches tonight. With still only three points separating 4th place and 8th place, Ottawa is looking for wins to move themselves up the ranking.

First Period: Logan was on the top line again with Chris and Jamie. Brampton dominated the play in the first period, spending a good chunk of time in the Ottawa zone, especially while Ottawa was killing penalties. Brampton started the penalty parade with a tripping penalty before the first two minutes were up. Just as they killed it, Voyta took his first penalty of the night for hooking and while Ottawa was down a man, Elgin Reid was nabbed for tripping. The team did a really good job of killing both penalties. At about the halfway mark, Danny took his first penalty of the night when he tried to stop a hard shot in front of the goal line and the puck took a funny jump and went over the glass. Danny was tagged with a delay of game penalty. Just as that ended successfully for the 67s, Voyta took his second penalty for checking from behind. That too was killed off. Not only was Ottawa effective at killing penalties, so was Brampton. Ottawa had the man advantage three times in the period and were unable to score. The only goal of the period came at 17:19 when Michael Klejna got one past Danny. Wojtek Wolski and Matt Smyth earned the assists. I didn’t see it but the Team 1200 guys said that Couture had his stick knocked out of his hands and the goal was scored while he was trying to retrieve it. While Brampton played stronger than Ottawa, our boys still played reasonably well. The shots on goal were pretty low for the period (6 – 9 for Brampton) which might suggest a boring defensive game but it wasn’t; it was fast moving with good offensive and defensive plays by both teams. We all commented how fast the period went.

At the end of the first period, Brampton led 1 – 0.

Second Period: Ottawa was still on the power play for the first 1:24 of the period but again were held scoreless. During the penalty, Brampton’s Luch Aquino picked up a turnover and broke in on Danny. Elgin Reid raced back and with a good defensive effort, forced Luch to shoot wide. It was one of the better second periods that Ottawa has played in a long time (on home ice anyway). They had a ton of great scoring chances! But they were either just a step behind or ahead, or someone couldn’t get his stick on it or Machesney stopped the puck. Danny also had a bit of luck. To the folks sitting around us, it sure looked like a goal but the refs didn’t signal one and the Battalion didn’t protest so the cross-bar got the big save. At the end of the second period, Ottawa was 0/7 on the power play and the total shots on goal were 25 – 17 for Ottawa. Both goalies were doing a really good job of keeping this game close.

Third Period: Ottawa started this period with a 2-man advantage for 19 seconds but yet again, they could not get past the goalie. Finally, with Brampton’s Phil Oreskovic in the penalty box for a roughing penalty (which also earned him an additional 10 minute misconduct when he expressed his opinion on the call) Logan Couture fired a wrist shot that Machesney could not handle and Ottawa tied the game. Chris Hulit and Joe Grimaldi got the assists. At the half-way mark of the game, Brampton’s Jason Cassidy earned himself a time-out for goalie interference but Danny was assessed a penalty for roughing call when he retaliated. That’s two penalties in the same game for the goalie. Don’t think I’ve seen that before. Voyta earned his third penalty for the night with an interference call. Neither of the teams could do anything more with their man advantages. At the end of regular time, the score was tied at one, Brampton was 0/8 on the power play, Ottawa was 1/8 and the final shots on goal were 37 – 24 for Ottawa.

Overtime: One would think that the refs could let the boys play 4-on-4 without getting in the way. For all the stuff they missed during regular time you think they would not get too hyped up in overtime. But noooo. Not these guys. The overtime play was really exciting and moving fast when one of the zebras figured he hadn’t filled his quota for the night and called a marginal penalty against Alphonso. Our boys were continuing to do a good job on the kill but they could not hold off the winning goal that came from Luch Aquino at 2:25. Game over!

Final score: 1 – 2 for Brampton and final shots on goal were 27 – 25.

Thoughts: You may recall an earlier blog when I mentioned that a loss in a well-played game wouldn’t be all that bad. Well I lied! This was a lousy way to end the game. I have no gripes with the team. It’s with the ref. There was no need to get in the way. The boys should have been allowed to settle this on the ice with even teams.

This really was a fun game to watch. There was some great hustle, great scoring chances, and super defensive plays. Danny appeared to have some attitude tonight as well. The loss must have been especially disappointing as he did not come out for the second star skate. He hasn't done that before and is uncharactaristcally unsportsmanlike for him so something must be up. It seems to me that Jaimie is playing with a lot more confidence since the prospect game. He didn't get on the score board but it wasn't for the lack of effort. He put himself into lots of scoring chances - it just didn't happen tonight. He also made some nice defensive moves in his own zone. Grimaldi and Liscomb continue to show us why Kilrea yet again made a couple of smart trades. Grimaldi is getting a lot of ice time for a new guy and is playing well.

They could have won this game. If they keep up this caliber of play (or even get better!) they can move up the standings.

Three Stars of the Game:

First Star: Daren Machesney (hot night - 36 saves!)
Second Star: Danny Battochio (also a good night - 23 saves)
Third Star: Wojtek Wolski (assist)

Hardest Working 67: Jaimie McGinn

Ottawa’s next game is on Sunday when they welcome the Plymouth Whalers who will be playing their third game on their eastern road trip. They beat Kingston tonight and play Belleville tomorrow.


No comments: