November 11, 2006

Just Outta Range - Ottawa Drops the Shootout

As we always do at this time of year, we started the evening by paying respects to Canadian soldiers past and present. I mostly thought of our folks over in theatre in Afghanistan – hoping that they all arrive back safe and sound. Scary for them and their families.

The Kitchener Rangers arrived in Ottawa to start a three game swing through the east. They are in 6th place in the western conference with 20 points in 18 games. I didn’t catch the scratches for tonight. Their point getters coming into tonight’s game are Matt Halischuk (21), Justin Azevedor (21) and Jakub Kindl (18). For penalty minutes they have Jakub Kindl (48 – with more added tonight), Dan Gyenes (48) and Brian Soso (45). John Murray, their rookie goalie, started in net. On the power play, they are 12th overall in the league with 27 power play goals in 147 opportunities with the advantage. On the kill, they rank 6th overall in the league having allowed 23 goals in the 150 shots they faced when down a man (or two). As for penalty minutes, they stand about 8th when counting which teams have the most.

We finally welcomed Logan Couture back after missing about 10 games because he was ill. Matt Ribeiro was back too after being sick. Matt Lahey and Brodie Beard were also back in action. And we also welcomed the newest member of the team, Julian Cimadamore wearing number 11. Out of the lineup for tonight were Joe Pleckaitis, Pat Daley, Sean Ryan, Jordan Gallea and Arron Alphonso. I didn’t get all the reasons but I think Alphonso is not feeling well. The others or most of them anyway, are likely healthy scratches (we are carrying a pretty full roster at this time).

Our numbers coming into tonight’s game look like this: 3 highest scorers – Jamie McGinn (16), Arron Alphonso (14) and Jesse Biduke (14). On the penalty side we have Joe Grimaldi (39), Arron Alphonso (29) and Jakub Vojta (26). Our PP ranks 16th overall having scored 19 goals in 123 man advantages. Our PK ranks 13th having allowed 23 goals on 114 shots on net with a man disadvantage. As for PIMS, we still have the fewest in the league.

Lines for tonight (and all 4 lines saw some ice time) were:
Lahey, Couture, McGinn
Biduke, Jukosky, Liscombe
Cimadamore, Pleckaitis, Kewin
Nesbitt, Lindsay, Ribeiro

Defensive pairings:
Grimaldi – Joslin
Cuma – Reid
Beard - Vojta

It wasn’t the outcome that we all hoped for but it certainly was entertaining at the end. The beginning was pretty rough but the guys kept at it and made a game out of an impending disaster.

The refereeing was much much looser than last week. I’m sure the Ranger fans will call foul as the specialty units of Ottawa made all the difference tonight but the refs also let alot go. It was our opinion that the Rangers tended to go in elbows-high and get away with it. But what goes around comes around and there was a price to pay eventually.

In the first period the 67s were outplayed, pure and simple. That they came out of the period down just a goal is a testament to the work of Brady Morrison and some good defensive play. They played most of the period in their defensive zone and couldn’t manage to get organized to launch a sustained attack on the Rangers. The Rangers scored their first goal against our third line three-quarters through the period when Yves Bastien managed to squeeze one under Morrison. Risk and Pepe were credited with the assists. The period ended with Kitchener with the lone goal and shots on goal 9 – 15 in favour of the other guys (thanks Brady for keeping us in the game).

The second period was not much different than the first. Ottawa started with a brief (20 second) power play but they just could not get organized. The passing was especially lousy. It didn’t take long for the strong play of Kitchener to take advantage of the weak play of Ottawa. Four minutes into the period Kitchener went up by 2 when Jakub Kindl caught Brady out of position on a rebound. Mike Duco and Justin Azevedo were the helpers. Then, at almost precisely the halfway mark of the period, Matt Halischuk, on a great heads-up play wrapped around the goal to beat Morrison. Mike Duco and and Justin Azevedo assisted on that one too. The hits were going up but Ottawa was still being out-skated, out-checked, and clearly outscored. It looked pretty grim. But…a ray of hope. Two and a half minutes after Kitchener’s third goal, Ottawa scored its first goal on the power play when Brett Liscomb, parked just outside the crease, received a nice pass from Jesse Biduke and beat goalie John Murray. The period ended with the Rangers up by 2 but the telling statistic is that Ottawa only managed 4 shots on goal in the period (and scored on one of them!!). In comparison, Kitchener had taken 17 shots on Brady (good work keeping us in the game buddy!!).

The third period – well this was just wild from a scoring perspective! It was happening so fast and furious that the official announcements were way way behind the play. And I think the official score sheet is wrong. From my record, all Ottawa points came on the PP (Kitchener’s PP unit was kept off the scoreboard all evening). OK - Ottawa came into the period down 3 – 1. They quickly came within 1 just 1:24 into the period when the crazy-8 line clicked. Just 20 seconds into a power play, Matt Lahey beat Murray with a little help from his friends McGinn and Couture. Twenty-one seconds later Kitchener re-established its two-goal lead when Justin Azevedo notched his third point of the night with help from Halischuk and Duco (anyone getting the feeling that this is a dangerous line??). The score at this point is Kitchener 4 – Ottawa 2. Kitchener then made it 5 – 2 at the 5:51 mark of the period on a Mike Duco goal when Grimaldi coughed up the puck in his own defensive zone. Then the wheels fell off for Kitchener. They managed to get themselves into a world of penalty trouble and Ottawa’s PP clicked in solidly. Follow closely, it is complicated. At 7:19 into the period, Adam Zamec was sent off for tripping. Then 24 seconds later Jakub Kindl was sent off for interference. This created a 5-on-3 advantage for Ottawa for 1:36. Before the first penalty expired, Brett Liscomb tipped in a Grimaldi shot from the point. Couture got the second assist. That retired the Zamec penalty. The score is 5 – 3 for Kitchener. We’re now playing 5 on 4. Matt Lahey made it 5 – 4 at 9:04 on the remaining power play!! Jamie McGinn and Brett Liscomb got the assists. Thirty-four seconds later, and before the official announcement was made, Kitchener made it 6 – 4 when Mike Duco scored with help from Yves Bastien and, yes you got it, Justin Azevedo. At 11:52 of the period, Kitchener’s Brian Soso was sent off for checking from behind quickly followed by a call 4 seconds later on Jakub Kindl for delay of game when he launched the puck over the glass from his defensive zone. The 67s were not to be denied. Killer pulled Morrison for the 6th attacker against 3 defenders. Jesse Biduke made it worth it when he scored on the first half of this penalty pair with assists from Matt Lahey and Joe Grimaldi. The score is now 6 – 5!! This retired the Soso penalty and still left Ottawa with a man advantage. Morrison was put back in goal. Logan cemented his impact of his return with a great feed to McGinn who tied the game up at 13:44 of the third period! Grimaldi got his third point of the night with an assist on this tying goal. That would make it 6 power play goals in the game. That’ll help the confidence (not to mention the stats!!).

Ottawa had a couple of great chances to put the game away but the game ended in a 6-all tie. Shots on goal at the end of regulation were 29 – 41 for Kitchener.

The overtime period was just wild exciting! Good thing the old ticker is pretty strong ‘cause it was running hard! Credit to Kitchener – they played most of the overtime period on the PK s they managed to get themselves two penalties in the period and still end the game in a tie. Ottawa had some great chances but just could not bury the puck. Final shots on goal 35 – 42.

So we went into the shoot out. Here’s how it played out:
Kit – Mike Halischuk - X
Ott – Logan Couture - X
Kit - Nick Spaling - score
Ott – Jesse Biduke - score
Kit – Victor Orekovich - score
Ott – Jamie McGinn X

Kitchener takes it in the shoot out – 6 – 7!

Three stars of the game:
1. Logan Couture (3 assists according to the score sheet but it may be wrong)
2. Justin Azevedo (Kitchener – goal and 3 assists)
3. Mike Duco (Kitchener – 2 goals and 2 assists)

Hardest working 67: Brett Liscomb.

Good work guys - see you Sunday.

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