March 11, 2006

Ottawa 2 – Brampton 4

By the numbers:
This is the 4th and final meeting of these two teams this year with Brampton having won all 3 previous games. It’s been almost a month since Brampton lost their last game and that was to London back on February 17th. They come to town riding an 8-game winning streak and sitting in 3rd place in the conference looking to move up.

Their really big gun is Wojtek Wolski who has overtaken London’s Dylan Hunter for third place in the conference with 111 points. Wojtek has been named the OHL top performer of the month 3 times (December, January and February) after returning from his 9 game stint with the Colorado Avalanche in October where he posted 2 goals and 4 assists. Luch Aquino is also an on-ice force with 59 points and a +23.

On the penalty front, defensemen Phil Oreskovic and Nick Duff are the Battalion players spending the most time in the brig (196 and 114 PIMs respectively). Brampton is ranked second in the league when it comes to their PP on the road having scored 52 times in the 218 occasions where they have had the advantage. By contrast, Ottawa’s PP at home is ranked 16th having scored just 43 goals in the 252 times they have had the advantage. The PK numbers suggest that the teams are more evenly matched with Ottawa having a slight statistical edge.

In net, Darren Machesney has the edge on Danny for goalie measures including goals against (135 v 161), wins (24 v 22) and overtime losses (1 v 5).

The 67s return to the Civic Centre after a close game with Peterborough last night. Their P10 of 2-8-0-0 is the complete opposite of Brampton and I have lost track of how long the PP-drought has been for Ottawa. Last night they were 0/12! On the upside (if there is one in these numbers) they only let in one PP goal in the 10 chances Peterborough had. But they have to get their PP producing some goals!!

Noticed in the warm-up that it appeared as if Danny injured himself. I didn’t see what exactly happened but he left the net about half-way through the warm up and didn’t return until the last 2 ½ minutes. As it turned out, Brady Morrison got the start. Don’t know if that had been already planned since Danny played last night in Peterborough.

First Period: The usual top line of Talbot, Hulit and Liscombe started tonight with Voyta and Joslin at their backs. The Battalion wasted no time taking the game to Ottawa. They won the first face-off and before anyone knew it (except Brady that is) each of the Brampton forwards were able to take a shot at Brady. Our guy was up to the challenge and let them know that they would have to do better to get past him. In response, we had a couple of great opportunities in the Brampton end but just couldn’t get the timing right on the centering passes. Brady Morrison really kept the team in the game with a number of great saves. At about the 7 minute mark into the period Luch Aquino had a great breakaway - going in alone on Brady. Stoned! Great save by the kid. . Ottawa got into serious penalty trouble in the second half of the period ending up on the wrong side of a 5-on-3 situation at the end of the period.

The period ended tied at 0 with shots on goal 13 – 12 in Ottawa’s favour

Second Period: Ottawa started the period down two men for 55 seconds. It only took Brampton 17 seconds to capitalize. A Brampton player (Michael Vernace?) fired one that bounced off the post and back to the stick of Howie Martin near the crease who had pretty much an open net to get the first goal of the game. With Ottawa now only down one player, our young players showed us yet again just how good they are. Couture made a great pass to McGinn and Machesney made the great save. Would have been a super short-handed goal. At 3:30 into the period, Wolski showed how it is done by firing a wrist shot from the circle that beat Brady on the glove side. Aquino and Duff got assists on the goal. Ottawa wasn’t done yet but Machesney was not having any of it making yet another good save off Talbot who got a nice feed from Hulit. There was a flurry of activity in front of Machesney and the puck went in the net but the goal was waved off. There were some weak protests about a Brampton player having put his glove on the puck in the crease but it didn’t go anywhere (the complaint that is). Brampton’s third goal of the period started with some bad attempts at clearing the puck out of the Ottawa zone. Eventually Brampton was able to throw the puck at the net. Brady made the first save but the rebound was pretty big and Aaron Snow was able to put it home and put Brampton up 3 – 0.

Not willing to call it a game just yet, our young line showed the vets what it means to work hard and make a difference. At just over the half-way mark, Logan Couture took a shot that Matt Lahey redirected past Machesney to make it a 3 – 1 game. Then, two and a half minutes later on the PP, Jamie McGinn was able to bang at a Couture rebound to make it 3 – 2. Joe Grimaldi got the assist as well. Hooray – the PP drought is over!!!

With just over 4 minutes left to play, Joe Grimaldi and Wojtek Wolski mixed it up behind the Ottawa net. It looked that that was settled when Jamie McGinn and Aaron Snow needed to vent some frustration on each other. Jamie did not come out the winner but he showed that he would not back away from a tilt either. When it was all settled, the teams played at even strength for the rest of the period although Phil Oreskovic managed to get a penalty just as the buzzer sounded to end the period.

At the send of the second period, Brampton led Ottawa 3 0 2 with total SOG 27 – 24 for Ottawa.

Third Period: Ottawa started the period with the man advantage but was only able to get one shot on Machesney during the two minutes. They just had a real hard time getting anything going for the first half. Brampton was fore checking really hard and Ottawa just couldn’t get anything set up. They finally had a couple of good chances but couldn’t beat the goalie. Brampton got the deal-breaker late in the period when Graham McNabb was able to get one through the legs of Brady. John Seymour got the assist. Ottawa tried to make it a game and pulled Brady with 1:19 left on the clock. They couldn’t keep it in the Brampton zone but did manage to prevent the empty netter. Grimaldi stepped into the crease at one point to defend the net.

Final score: 2 – 4 for the Battalion with shots on goal 39 – 31 for Ottawa.

Thoughts: I’m beginning to sound like a broken record (do kids these days even know what that means???). For the most part I thought the team played well. Sure, there were miscues and mistakes but there were a lot of chances too. They were up against a good goalie. Most of the team played like they wanted to win. I thought it was a good game for Brady as well. He made some really good, confidence building saves. And the Crazy-8s were exciting to watch as usual. McGinn went down late in the third period with what looked like a shoulder injury. This is not good at any time of the year but especially bad now. While our playoff run will be short, it will be great experience for the kids who are coming back next year and McGinn is a big part of that crew. There’s a lot to like about the talent that we will have next year.

Again, Killer rolled 4 lines tonight giving all the dressed players reasonable ice time although the 4th line did not get regular shifts. Sure would be nice to know what’s up with Hulit. Although he is our top scorer, he is not playing to the potential that we saw last year. It would be safe to say that the kids on our number 2 line, the Crazy-8s, are showing Chris what a real work ethic looks like. Heck, all the other lines would be good reference cases if Chris was interested. It’s disappointing.

Three Stars of the Game:
First Star: Darren Machesney (Brampton goalie – 37 saves – some of them pretty good ones too)
Second Star: Logan Couture (2 assists)
Third Star: Wojtek Wolski (1 assist)

Hardest Working 67: Brady Morrison


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