December 16, 2006

Major Win Over Toronto: Ottawa 8 – Toronto 4

This was the 1st of 4 scheduled matches between these two teams both at the bottoms of their respective divisions. Toronto had 28 points coming into tonight’s game to Ottawa’s 26 but Ottawa has played 4 fewer games.

Before tonight’s game, we were asked to mark a moment of silence for the loss of Bob Gainey’s daughter Laura earlier this week. We sit across the ice from the visitor’s bench and I noticed that the St. Mike’s players were the first in the arena to get to their feet. Nice touch gentlemen.

Toronto's scratches for tonight: Kriss Grundmanis, Tyler Allen, Kaspars Daugavins, Kyler Neuber, Jason Cassidy and Jeff Barletta. Nepean native, Chris Carrozi started in net.

Ottawa scratches: Jesse Biduke, Jakub Vojta and Lukas Flueler. Brady Morrison started in net again.

Lines for tonight:
Lahey, Couture, McGinn
Alphonso, Linsday, Liscomb, until Liscomb was injured in the second period. Cimadamore moved up.
Cowie, Kiriakou, Kewin
Nesbitt, Ribeiro, Cimadamore until he was moved up, Lindsay did double duty after that.

Defensive pairings: Cuma – Joslin, Ryan – Gallea, Beard - Grimaldi

Ottawa scored 13 seconds into the game and never really looked back. We barely settled into our seats when McGinn backhanded the puck to Matt Lahey who went upstairs on Carozzi to score on the first shot of the game. Ottawa went up by two just before the period was half over when Jamie McGinn made a nice pass to Logan Couture who was right in front of the Toronto goalie. He didn’t stand a chance and Logan notched his 9th goal of the year. The closest Toronto came (since beginning the game even at ZERO!) was when Anthony Tapper got a weak goal on the short side of Morrison at 11:40 in the period. Right after that, Ottawa went on the powerplay but it was Toronto that had the better scoring chances – two breakaways – but they could not close on the short handed opportunities. Ottawa’s 2 powerplays in the period did not yield any goals. At the end of the first period, Ottawa was up by 1 and shots on goal were 14 – 7 in Ottawa’s favour.

The second period was a goalfest. Ottawa went on the powerplay early in the period with McGurk off for interference but the Barberpoles couldn’t put anything much together. I think they only managed one shot on goal for the two minutes advantage. But Ottawa did do pretty well at even strength. It started with Tyler Cuma drawing a penalty shot on a breakaway. He picked up the puck at centre ice, skated in on Carozza, deked right, drew the puck back and beat Carozza on the stick side for his second goal of the season (and his first penalty shot goal in the OHL!). Didja know he used to play forward? Ottawa had some serious puck luck on their side tonight a couple of times. One came shortly after Cuma’s goal. There was a scramble in front of Morrison and he lost sight of the puck. I’m not sure how it happened, but the puck ended up under him rather than in the net. Whew! A goal then would have put Toronto right back in this game. Instead, less than a minute later, Jamie McGinn scored his 18th of the year when he connected with Logan’s pass to the slot. Jordon Gallea got the other assist. That rounded out the goal scoring for the top line as each of the Crazy Eights had scored.

Later, in the defensive zone, Brett Liscomb blocked a shot with his leg or foot and was injured. He eventually left the bench at about the halfway mark and did not return for the rest of the game. The 67s then went up by 4 when the Crazy Eights struck again. This time it a powerplay goal from Matt Lahey with a one-timer from the circle. Assists went to Couture and McGinn. This is when Liscomb left the bench and Carozzi was pulled having let in 5 goals on 25 shots. Wayne Savage took over between the pipes.

While the Crazies were doing a whole lotta scoring, the team still needed some solid goalkeeping. At just over the halfway mark, Toronto had a great 2-on-1 scoring chance that Brady shut down! Then it was Ottawa’s turn for a 2-on-1 which they managed to convert. McGinn and Couture broke into the Toronto zone, McGinn centred the puck to Logan who hesitated just enough for Savage to go down and Logan just roofed it over him. Lahey got the other assist on that one. At this point this line had accumulated 12 points among the three of them. Not shabby at all.

At this point the score was 6 – 1 for Ottawa but Toronto still had some game in them. They got a couple of quick powerplay goals from Justin Donati and Matt Piva to pull within 3. But with 18 seconds left in the period, Shea Kewin restored the 4 goal lead when he planted himself practically in the blue paint and got the pass from Cowie. Tyler Cuma got the other assist.

The second period ended with the score 7 – 3 for Ottawa and shots on goal 29 – 18 for Ottawa.

Toronto certainly hadn’t given up and had a couple of scoring chances that Brady turned away. With over 6 minutes gone in the period, Joe Grimaldi caught Dustin Ekelman with his head down and hit him hard right in front of the Toronto bench. Ekelman was pretty hurt and remained on the ice for a while. Meanwhile, Toronto’s Troy Murray took exception at the hit and proceeded to take Joe on. It really wasn’t much of a set-to from what I could tell but I think one would give the call to Troy. Troy also got the call: 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting and a 10 misconduct just for good measure. Joe got 5 for fighting. Ekelman probably got the worst of the whole ordeal. He left the ice and did not put any weight on his left leg.

With 7 minutes to play Justin Donati scored unassisted for his second of the night on the powerplay. Ottawa came back 3 minutes later just to seal the deal with Julien Cimadamore getting his second OHL goal when he received a great pass from Alphonso and beat Savage cleanly. Beard got an assist on that one. Toronto suffered their second major injury when Matt Piva stumbled over Sean Ryan who was sprawled on the ice attempting to clear the puck. Both players were going for the loose puck but the Toronto bench thought that Sean should get called for something. Instead, the bench got called for all their calling. Toronto was still pretty dangerous short handed and Justin Donati just missed getting a hat trick in a losing cause.

The game finally ended with the score 8 – 4 for Ottawa with shots on goal 39 – 27 for Ottawa.

Stars for the game:

1. Jamie McGinn (goal and 4 assists)
2. Logan Couture (2 goals and 2 assists)
3. Tyler Cuma (goal on a penalty shot and an assist)

Hardest working 67: Matt Lahey (2 goals and an assist)

My Thoughts: Another game with an 8 – 4 score. The Crazy Eights line is really clicking and the team overall seems to be playing better. Nice to see a couple of goals from the other lines.

They still have some things to fix ‘cause allowing 4 goals against only works when you can score more – way more. The team needs to work on their PK and their PP remains a tad anemic. They were 1/7 on the powerplay whereas Toronto was 3/7.

This makes it three wins in a row and these two teams meet again in the Scotia Bank Place. Ottawa seems to struggle in that arena but with their momentum they should do well in the rematch.

This will be my last post of this year. I will be traveling out west to spend Christmas with the family. Happy Hanukah (it starts to day), celebrate winter solstice next week (for the druids among us), Merry Christmas and happy Kwanza. That should pretty much cover it for the next couple of weeks. Above all, have a happy and healthy whatever you find to celebrate.

See you next year!

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