November 19, 2006

The Running of the Bulls: 5 – 3 for Belleville

Game two in this weekend’s home and home series between these two teams. We took a leisurely drive through Westport (had lunch) and then on to Belleville where we had our pre-game meal at the Winchester Arms. Nice pub but their calamari is way too expensive for what you get.

Belleville scratches for today: Blunden, Killing, and Tipoff (sounds like a law firm for the mob) . Kevin Lalande started again in net.

Ottawa scratches for today: Brody Beard, Pat Daley, Jordan Gallea and Matt Ribeiro. Brady Morrison started in net again. Kilrea was still on the road doing some scouting.

Lines for tonight (more or less):
Alphonso, Couture, McGinn
Lahey, Linsday, Liscomb
Pleckaitis, Kewin, Biduke
Nesbitt, Jukosky, Cimadamore

Defensive pairings:
Grimaldi – Joslin
Cuma – Vojta
Reid – Ryan

Ottawa started with a jump with Jamie McGinn getting a good scoring chance 30 seconds into the game to try and set the tone. But then we made it hard on ourselves by penalties spaced out enough in the period to make it hard to get sustained rhythm going. Liscomb took the first penalty a minute 20 into the period but the PK units did a good job limiting Belleville to three shots all of which Brady stopped. Then it was our turn to go on the PP and we had good pressure for a while but could not convert. With Jukosky off for a hooking call in his defensive zone, recently acquired Aaron Snow scored his 6th goal of the season when he deflected Nick Pageau’s wrist shot from the blue line. Shawn Lalonde got the other assist. Just 23 seconds later, Julian Cimadamore scored his first OHL goal with a shot from the slot. Alphonso and Grimaldi got the assists. The arena announcer had a tough time with the kid's name but to his credit he kept trying. Ottawa had a couple of good scoring chances, one being a hard shot from Cuma that hit Lalande pretty hard but he kept the boys from adding to the score. After staying out of penalty trouble in the last couple of games, Vojta took two hooking calls pretty much back to back late in the period but Belleville couldn’t manage to hit the net much less score. The first period ended with the score tied at one and the shots: Ottawa 11 and Belleville 14.

With 42 seconds remaining in Vojta’s penalty, Belleville started with the man advantage. We won the face off and carried on to kill the penalty. Lalande continued to keep the Bulls in the game with his great stops including one from in close by Logan Couture. Brady did his job too with a great save on a hard shot Subban who had taken a cross-ice pass and was all alone in the circle to Brady’s right. Belleville finally went ahead on their only 5 on 5 goal when Shawn Matthias managed to pick up a rolling rebound and get past Brady on the right side. Later, Ottawa was caught on a 4-on-1 rush bearing down on poor Brady when one of the Ottawa players (Grimaldi??) made a great sliding play to break up the scoring chance. Whew! That had an unhappy ending written all over it until the stellar effort from our guy. With 4:42 left in the period, Tyler Cuma was called for slashing. Twenty six seconds into the PP, Matt Beleskey scored his 12th of the season with a tip-in off Matt Pelech’s shot from the slot. Tyler Donati got the other assist. That put Belleville up by two. With under three minutes left in the period, Elgin Reid was called for high-sticking. The ensuing play resulted in a big scramble in front of Brady including the puck hitting the post and at one time lying in the crease for the taking but Ottawa managed to get out of that without allowing the goal. The period ended with the score 3 – 1 for Belleville and shots on goal: 27 – 19 for Belleville.

There were 8 penalties called in the third period – 4 a side but one against Belleville was a mistake (delay of game for a puck over the glass which everyone saw being deflected off a stick) so the ref evened it up with a lame interference call against Aphonso 36 seconds later. For the scoring, at the 11:59 mark of the period, Elgin Reid pulled us within 1 with assists from Liscomb and Lindsay. But Belleville came right back less than a minute later on with their third power play goal when Tyler Donati beat Brady on the stick side with a fast shot from the slot. Matt Pelech and PK Subban assisted. Belleville pretty much owned the real estate in the slot at that point. Just when I thought it was over, Arron Alphonso managed to get an improbable shot past Lalande while he (Arron) was down on the ice. The play started with a super effort by Couture sliding in the Belleville end to block a pass. The puck somehow got to McGinn who got it to a falling Arron. For some reason Couture did not get the assist. It wasn’t high-light reel pretty but it was a goal and it got Ottawa back to within 1 with about half the period left. There were some great chances by both sides and the goalies did what they are (paid??) to do. Ottawa managed to get a face off in the Belleville zone with 1:06 left in the game and called a time out. Brady was pulled in favour of the extra attacker but Belleville’s Matt Beleskey managed to get the unassisted empty netter with 34 seconds left to ice the game.

The game ended 5 – 3 in favour of the home team Belleville. Shots: 40 – 31 for Belleville.

My Thoughts: I know you didn’t ask but since I hold the keyboard, I will offer them anyway. I thought that Ottawa played really well in the last two games against a much better team. Although Ottawa lost both, they were not blown out of either rink and we saw some entertaining hockey. Good goaltending was required by both teams. Belleville seemed faster and checked really well. After a couple of games where Ottawa’s power play seemed to click, they went 0 for 7 in this game including 1:10 with a two-man advantage. On the other side of the specialty team ledger, they took 11 (a few too many) penalties and allowed 3 goals. The larger ice surface makes for a different game and you can see how Belleville has created a team to play well on this surface. One of our party chatted with Pat Daley who commented that this is a tough rink to play in at the end of a road trip. I don’t think Logan is near 100% recovered. He put in great effort but didn’t seem to have the wheels we are used to. Mono is a serious illness and coming back too soon can have long-term results. Reid as a co-captain leaves me cold. Before Belleville scored their go-ahead goal, Grimaldi took a hit in the Belleville end that knocked his helmet off so he went to the bench as required. The play continued for quite a while until the roughing penalty could be called against Belleville. Reid skated right by the helmet at the whistle but did not bring it back to the bench which meant that Grimaldi was stranded on the bench for quite a while longer than necessary. We couldn’t hear the conversation but the two exchanged words later. Grimaldi is getting a ton of ice time and methinks Elgin is having a fit of professional jealousy. Real fine quality in a captain. I have also heard other things that bring Reid’s leadership seriously into question in my opinion. His trade couldn’t happen soon enough for me. A bag of used pucks would seem like an even-up swap. Every rink has one it seems – it Belleville it’s the cymbals guy moving around the rink clashing his cymbals with every Belleville score. We sat near the Ottawa bench in among some Belleville season ticket holders. Everyone was very nice and we had some good hockey chat. One of the locals asked about Kyle Jukosky saying she was sad to see him leave Belleville. I assured her that we were happy to have him on the team and that he was doing well. We all agreed that he plays well above his weight class.

Three stars of the game:

1. Tyler Donati (goal and two assists)
2. Matt Pelech (2 assists)
3. Brady Morrison (35 saves – some really stellar ones!)

Didn’t catch the hardest working 67 from The Team. There were too many for us to call it.

Good effort by the guys. Good luck in Mississauga. They play their next 4 games (including the one in Missisauga) on the road.

Adios folks until the next home game.


Ross said...

Please PLEASE send Vojta with Reid for a bucket to put those pucks in!! Vojta is killing our team with ZERO effort, dismal defensive play and repeated penalties. Brutal.

Blitzen said...

I have to say that I haven't noticed the play of Vojta all that much. Now that he's paired up with Cuma I just keep seeing Cuma and all that he's doing. Even with his rookie mistakes, he's still a strong defenceman. I guess when you notice the rookie rather than the veteran that says something. It will be very interesting to see what, if anything, happens this week after such a bad weekend and Killer's scouting trip.