The 67s looked much better on Sunday, beating Canada's second best junior team, the Kingston Frontenacs, 4-1. The Ottawa defence really stepped up, limiting the big line of Hughes, Emmerton and Stewart to only one goal at the end of a 5-on-3 PP. Emmerton was awarded the OHL Player of the Week for scoring 4 goals and 4 assists last week, including 2 goals and 3 assists in a game against Ottawa. Yesterday, Kingston's top line looked like they couldn't find each other with the passes. Right off the start of the game, they tried some passes to each other that didn't really connect, ending up with an icing call which led to the first Ottawa goal. The 'fronts looked like the were too high on themselves and didn't really feel like showing up. Stewart's got a ton of speed but he wasn't getting support from his linemates.
Ottawa's defence did a better job of taking away space from the rushing forwards and not backing off. And, when the opposition has one big scoring line, it makes sense to put your best two defencemen together to shut them down, which Joslin and Grimaldi did, handily. The defence also seemed to jump up into the play a lot -- guys like Grimaldi, Reid, even Vojta! They can do that because there are a lot of defensively-minded forwards that would go back to cover the back end -- guys like Couture, Kiriakou, McGinn. Communication looked better between the players.
Brady Morrison played great in net, well deserving of the 1st star honour. The Fronts seem to like to load up guys in front of Morrison and then try to get the shot through the traffic. I don't know how he saw some of those, but Morrison was there to make the save. Even if he didn't see it or it got tipped, he was in good position to stop the puck. He looked like a starting goaltender. It reminded me of the exhibition game I saw him play the second half of in Kingston a couple of weeks ago.
Kiriakou had a good game, digging the puck out of the corner with a fancy spin move and then feeding Vojta in front of the net on the second Ottawa goal (what the heck was Vojta doing in front of the net?) and then in the second period taking the feed from Alphonso and sliding it over for Biduke, who snuck it in the top corner behind Borden (how did Biduke find any room up there?). Kiriakou missed a penalty shot in the first period.
McGinn had two goals. He got the first one 19 seconds in when he poked the puck through the goalie's legs. His second was on the PP when he tipped a Joslin point shot. I was hoping for a 'trick. The crazy 8 line all looked good. Other guys that played well: Daley, Pleckaitis, Cuma, Alphonso, all the defencemen. . .basically it was a great team effort. Reid took on Stevens, who is 4 inches taller and 30 pounds heavier. Reid got thrown around a bit, but definitely got in more punches. Stevens was bloodied, Reid was unscathed.
There's a good quote from McGinn in the Ottawa Sun: "It's a little more relaxing in the (dressing) room now," McGinn said. "We were starting to get nervous before the games. We wanted to make sure we came out hard right from the get-go and it's good we got a goal right off the bat." More on the relief in the Ottawa dressing room here : Morrison out in Front. Another article on the game in the Kingston Whig Standard.
One complaint I have -- the music during stoppages in play was way too loud. I have no problem with the song selections, but this wasn't a rock concert. Louder is not necessarily better. If you want to complain, you can email the 67s using the feedback form on the 67s website at www.ottawa67s.com. It's a brand new site. Very professional, if a little busy. Another complaint I have is that there's a new 67s bulletin board that you have to register for, even to just read what others have posted. You can't just lurk anonymously anymore. I never do those "free registrations". If it's free, then why do I have to register? That's why I use www.bugmenot.com to bypass the "free registrations" on newspaper sites. The 67s bulletin board is dead to me now.