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January 28, 2006

Ottawa 3 - 2 Over Oshawa

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Although Oshawa is at the bottom of the heap in the OHL, Ottawa has not had an easy time with this team. Coming into tonight’s game, Oshawa was leading the series. The Generals’ top scorers include former 67s Peter Tsimikalis, the 15 year old rookie John Tavares and NHL prospect Cal Clutterbuck. The Generals are pretty much out of playoff contention this year but with such a young team, they are building momentum for a pretty decent finish this year and good prospects for next year.

Ottawa is still in the thick of things in a tight race in the Eastern Conference. Captain Julian Talbot was out of the lineup as he started serving his 3 game suspension for the boarding incident against Kaleta last week. Julian was able to finish playing the weekend as the league only decided his fate mid-week. Brent Mackie and Aaron Alphonso were healthy scratches for tonight’s game.

The evening opened with a nice tribute to Scotty Bowman who was in town for a free coaching session today. There was a video clip of just some of the highlights from his outstanding career. Scotty dropped the puck for the honorary face off. Chris Hulit took the spot of our Captain.

First Period: With Captain Talbot relegated to spectator status, Logan Couture moved up to the top line with Chris Hulit and his former Crazy-8 partner Jamie McGinn. Joslin and Voyta were the starting defencemen. Right from the get-go, Chris set the pace when he took the puck off the face-off and drove in for a quick attack on the goal. Unfortunately, Oshawa goalie, Kevin Couture (no relation to our guy) also set his own tone for the night by denying Chris the goal. Jamie McGinn got the only Ottawa penalty in the period for interference and the team killed it. Actually, Ottawa had a couple of great chances for short-handed goals by both Couture and Liscomb but they couldn’t get past the goalie. Between the post and just plain old non-existent puck-luck, Ottawa was denied a number of times. Finally at 14:36 while Oshawa’s Cal Clutterbuck was in the penalty box for hooking, Jamie McGinn finally got one past Couture with assists from Chris Hulit and Logan Couture. The top line had another great scoring chance when Hulit and Couture broke in on the goalie but Couture came up with the big save! At the end of the first period, Ottawa led 1 – 0. Oshawa can thank their goalie for keeping them in the game – he faced 14 shots on goal, a few of them being serious threats while Danny only saw 5.

Second Period: Ottawa started strong again when Oshawa’s Billy Siekris was caught cross checking at just 26 seconds into the game. Ottawa wasted no time taking advantage when Chris Hulit finally scored on a rebound into a wide open net. Line mates Logan Couture and Derek Joslin assisted on the goal. Ottawa continued to play reasonably well for the next little while but Oshawa picked up the pace, became more aggressive and took over the play. With less than 5 minutes left in the period, John Tavares scored a nice goal with assists from Clutterbuck and Jesse Biduke. Now within one goal, Oshawa found new legs and kept the pressure up. With Elgin Reid serving Ottawa’s only penalty of the period for cross checking, the Tavares-Clutterbuck-Biduke trio scored again this time Clutterbuck getting the goal with the help of his buddies. Danny didn’t stand a chance on that one – it was a good goal! Just as the buzzer sounded to end the period, Oshawa’s Dale Mitchell was called for checking from behind.

Score at the end of the second period: 2 – 2 with Oshawa getting 6 more shots on goal than Ottawa during the period. Final shots on goal after 2 periods: 29 – 26 for Ottawa.

Third Period: After scoring on 2 of their 4 previous power plays, Ottawa’s power play fell apart entirely. I think Oshawa had more scoring chances playing short handed than Ottawa did with the advantage. They finally got their act together and started playing a tad better but Oshawa was still taking the game to them seeking the go-ahead goal. Both teams took a couple of penalties each early in the period but neither team could convert them into goals. Finally, with about 5 minutes left to play, Jamie McGinn scored his second of the night when he batted the puck out of mid-air to send it into the net for the go-ahead goal. Again, his buddies Couture and Hulit assisted.

Oshawa really started to play hard for the tying goal and most of the play was in front of Danny who did an outstanding job! He made a number of really great saves and the D tried hard to move the puck out of the front of the net. In one of the mad scrambles in front of and in the crease, Voyta covered the puck with his hand and Oshawa was awarded a penalty shot.

Tension built in the arena as the Generals took their time to pick their man. Finally, Peter Tsimikalis skated to centre ice to face, mano-a-mano, his former net minder team mate. The crowd was cheering Danny on! Tsimikalis picked the puck up at centre ice, Danny came forward out of his crease to shut-down the angle. Tsimikalis tried to move around but Danny kept with him and made the save with his blocker! The crowd went wild! Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na Bat Man!

Oshawa wasn’t done yet. With 1:42 left to play, their pulled their goalie for the 6th attacker and poured it on. Ottawa had to ice the puck a few times and McGinn had a great chance for the hat trick but he hit the metal for the second time tonight! Ottawa just couldn’t get the empty netter but they did hang on for the win.

Final score: 3 – 2 for Ottawa and final shots on goal were 39 – 38.

Thoughts: During post-game discussions over our favourite libations we all agreed that this was an exciting game to watch. It was end-to-end with lots of scoring chances, not a lot of penalties (6 for Oshawa and 5 for Ottawa), great scoring chances and some great saves by both goalies. Couture looked comfortable on the top line. I read an article from one of the Toronto papers that indicated that these three guys billet together so perhaps that’s why they came together so easily.

From what I can tell from my notes, Ottawa rolled mostly three lines although the boys from the fourth line did see some ice time. Killer moved his defencemen around quite a bit with Joslin, Voyta, Beard, Grimaldi, Reid and Ryan getting time on each of the lines.

For the most part, the guys had a pretty good game. Obviously, the top line had a good night which could have been much more productive if not for the great goaltending from Oshawa. Liscomb continued to play hard and create some great opportunities, Radulay powered through players more than once and his speed was surprising, and Grimaldi continued to play strong defense (except for a couple of brain-farts that I didn’t expect from him). While not up to the caliber we saw them play against Peterborough, it was a good game against a motivated team.

Three Stars of the Game:

First Star: Jamie McGinn (2 goals)
Second Star: Cal Clutterbuck (Osh – goal and an assist)
Third Star: Logan Couture (3 assists)

Hardest Working 67: Chris Hulit (goal and 2 assists and lots of great chances)

Ottawa plays Toronto on Sunday. Toronto stayed one point ahead of Ottawa in the standings with a shoot out win over Kingston last night. From the score sheet it looks like it might have been quite the game: 83 shots on goal split pretty much evenly between the two teams and needing to go to 10 players each in the shoot out. Ottawa will definitely have to pick up their game to beat Toronto and move up in the standings. But they can do it – we’ve seen it.

Cheers!

January 22, 2006

Great Team Effort - The Second Shutout for the Weekend!

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Well, it wasn’t the trip of their dreams by any stretch of the imagination. Owen Sound completed their annual eastern road trip with their third loss in Ottawa this afternoon. They lost in to Kingston in overtime on Friday and had a “stinker” 4- 1 loss yesterday in Belleville (their own web site called it that).

Owen Sound has 3 big scorers on the team: Bobby Ryan, second overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and 4th in scoring in the OHL with 79 points, Jeff Kyrzakos in 10th spot with 65 points and Mike Angelidis in 15th spot with 60 points (which was the same as Chris Hulit but Mike had 41 goals to Chris’ 23). And the Attack’s defencemen Theo Peckam and Bobby Sanguinetti played against each other in NHL Prospects game where Bobby got two assists in the team Orr win.

Ottawa came off a home and home series with Peterborough where Ottawa won 5 – 0 on Friday and lost 5 - 4 back in Peterborough last night. Three games in a weekend and any amount of travel in winter has to take its toll on everyone. Ottawa’s captain Julian Talbot dressed last night and tonight; not sure what’s up with the game misconduct issued on Friday. The article in the Ottawa Citizen on Saturday said that the infraction came with an automatic two-game suspension with the possibility of more upon review. Maybe nothing happens until the OHL offices reopen on Monday.

Ottawa was without healthy scratches Brent Mackie and Joe Pleckatis and Tibor Radulay was out with a concussion suffered on Friday night in his brief tussle with Trevor Hendrix.

First Period: Ottawa dominated the period despite getting 4 penalties strung close together in the second half – including a half a minute stretch where they were down two men. The 67s killed the penalties and on one kill Christ Hulit forced a turnover at the Ottawa blue line and broke away with a great chance for a short handed goal. But Ouzas would have none of that and Chris was denied. There were numerous other great opportunities for Ottawa but Michael was outstanding in net. At the end of the first 20 minutes it was tied at 0 with Ottawa leading the shots on goal: 17 – 7.

Second Period: Ottawa started strong in the period but Owen Sound took over for the last 5 minutes or so. Among the great plays of the period was a 2-on-1 break away with Talbot and Hulit but Ouzas stoned them again! He kept his team in this game big time. Alphonso got himself into penalty trouble with a couple of nearly back to back calls (although the second one was highly suspect) but again, Ottawa killed those two plus the third penalty (hooking call on Vojta at 18:53). The second period ended still at a 0 – 0 tie with shots on goal still in Ottawa’s favour: 22 – 18.

Third Period: Now I’m starting to get nervous. How much longer can this go? Well, about 10 minutes more. After a few more heart-stopping chances, Talbot dug one out of the corner and sent it to Hulit in front of the crease and he went top shelf for the goal! McGinn also got an assist on what would turn out to be the winning goal. Then, with just over 2 minutes to play, Derek Joslin got the insurance goal after a whole flurry of activity around the net where Ottawa kept coming up with the puck. Joslin fired it from the point and the goal found its way in. McGinn and Hulit were credited with assists. I have no idea how the folks figured out who assisted on it ‘cause just about everyone had their stick on that puck at some point in the previous 30 seconds. Owen Sound pulled the goalie but the extra attacker couldn’t make the difference. Ottawa had a couple of chances to salt it away in the open net but they couldn’t make it. The game ended 2 - 0 for Ottawa with final shots on goal of 32 – 25 Ottawa.

Thoughts on the Game: I thought both teams played really well for a third weekend game for both of them. There were plenty of ohh-ahh moments for the crowd as our boys put together some great chances and Michael Ouzas showed why he is among the top goalies in the league. The play moved up and down the ice, the checking was close and there were plenty of big hits.

Again, the boys showed what they can do when they are in the right head-space. Everyone was putting in the big extra efforts that are so exciting to see. Couture down on the ice and reaching out his stick to poke the puck away, Kiriakou pushing through players to move the puck forward, Talbot slowing down the power play break out of the Attack zone, Grimaldi pushing the big Attack scorers out of position, Liscomb working hard along the boards, great defensive plays to block shots and clear rebounds. And let’s not forget Danny’s second shutout of the weekend! Lots to like.

I know I said it on Friday but it really seems that we are seeing a different team. They seem to be having a lot of fun working their butts off on the ice. The new guys Liscomb and Grimaldi are great and it seems everyone has stepped up their game. They are both getting lots of ice time. Jamie looks at home on the top line and came away with two points tonight. And Kiriakou is just working so hard – he’s getting pretty dangerous in his own right. The standings in the conference remain close but I think we have a team that can move up the standings.

Three Stars:

#1 – Danny Battochio (another perfect game – 25 saves)
#2 – Chris Hulit (wining goal and an assist on the other goal)
#3 – Michael Ouzas – (30 saves and pretty much the reason the game was this close)

Hardest working 67: Jamie McGinn but it could have been just about any of the guys.

Cheers!

January 21, 2006

Ottawa Stahls the Petes

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This is what we like to see. What a game tonight!

Coming into tonight’s game the Peterborough Petes were the top team in the OHL, third ranked team in the CHL (see http://www.chl.ca/QMJHLNews0506/0120.html ) and having won their last two games against Belleville and Windsor. Highly rated Jordan Stahl was in the NHL Top Prospect Game in Ottawa on Wednesday where he had a decent game (see http://www.chl.ca/CHLTopProspects/home.html ) but the Petes were without erstwhile WJC hero Steve Downie who was sitting out a 5 game suspension for some nasty work in their game against Belleville on January 11th. That boy is his own worst enemy.

Ottawa was back on home ice after a not so great weekend in the far-flung regions of the league. It was the home debut of our two latest additions Brent Liscomb and Joe Grimaldi acquired in trades with Windsor. Coach Kilrea was interviewed before the game where he spoke of these two guys. According to Killer, these guys both bring good work ethic and attitude to the team. We also welcomed Jamie McGinn fresh from his own good results from the NHL Top Prospects game. He didn’t score any goals but he sure had some dangerously good opportunities (we were at the game).

First Period: The boys showed up to play! The starting lineup was Daley, Couture, Liscomb, Beard and Grimaldi with Batman in net. It didn’t take long for them to set the pace and threaten early with a pass from Couture to Liscomb in the slot for solid scoring chance just 20 seconds into the game. It wasn’t too long after that that Vojta started the penalty parade with a high sticking call just 54 seconds into the period. No damage done by the Petes.

I didn’t keep track of the lines as closely as previous games as I find I miss too much of the play while writing stuff down (I have no memory for this stuff – I’m old) but it looked like Killer was rotating them fairly quickly to keep all the legs fresh. Our own NHL prospector McGinn got us on the scoreboard at 6:07 of the first period with an unassisted goal. Then the Petes had a couple more man advantages while Brodie Beard and Julian Talbot took turns for holding and boarding calls respectively. Not only did the 67s kill those penalties, they responded with their own power play goal at the 15:32 mark of the period while Petes captain Jamie Tardiff was serving time for roughing. Pat Daley fired a shot from the right point (prompted by everyone in sections 20, 21, and 22 yelling SHOOT!). Logan Couture tipped it in for the score. Joe Grimaldi also got an assist on that one.

Late in the period, behind the Pete’s net, Radulay and Trevor Hendrix sort of got into a dust up. I blinked and missed it but by all reports the gloves were dropped, Radulay was popped in the beak and he promptly folded his tent. I guess he’s not the fightin’ kind. I don’t think we saw him again after that.

I’m wondering if something happened at the Prospect game between Stahl and McGinn (played on opposing teams) because it seemed to me that the Petes were taking a lot of runs at McGinn. Talbot took particular offense at a hit on Jamie by Turtle Kaletta and administered some of his own rough justice as it appeared that the ref wasn’t about to get involved. Unfortunately the ref’s version of events was that Talbot administered a nasty check from behind and he sent our boy packing for the game. Kaletta put on a good show to suggest that he got a bad boo-boo from Julian. Petes had a 5 on 3 advantage which was killed.

Through all of this, Battochio made some great saves to keep the 67s in the game with shots on goal of 12 – 13 in favour of the Petes.

Second Period: Ottawa started the period still on the penalty kill with 3 minutes left over from the first period. I don’t think there was a whistle for the entire kill which Ottawa did masterfully. And, we should note that the alleged boo-boos suffered by Kaletta in the first period were miraculously healed during the intermission as he was back on the ice the first opportunity possible. Too bad the Golden Globes were handed out last week.

Back to hockey – Logan and Jamie showed how well they work together by almost pulling off a beautiful play when Jamie set up Logan in the slot but it was not to be. But, not much later, at the 6:44 mark of the period, Logan scored when the Peters made a fatal error behind their own net and Chris Hulit got the puck to Logan who made it count. Vojta also had an assist. This made it 3 – 0 for the good guys. We took a couple of penalties which were killed before Derek Joslin made it 4 – zip at 12:52 with help from Chris Hulit and Brent Liscomb during a delayed penalty call.

The Petes took three penalties including one leading to the ejection of Petes’ Justin Soryal for an ugly elbow-to-the-face-leg-to-the-knee assault on Elgin Reid with under 5 minutes left in the period. Ottawa was unable to score with the 5 minute man advantage that flowed into the third period.

Again, Batman made some fantastic saves. Shots on goal after two: 23 – 22 in Ottawa’s favour.

Third Period: Peterborough was not a happy team by this time and they wanted blood. Reid and Ryder get into it and were sent to the naughty spot early in the period. On the way to the penalty box I noticed that Reid exchanged pleasantries with Kaletta. During the ensuing 4 on 4 the new kid on the block Joe Grimaldi got one past the Pete’s goalie from above the face off circle. Thomas Kiriakou and Brent Liscomb assisted on the goal. The game ended with Danny’s first shut-out of the season with a score of 5 – nada, zip, zero, rien, nula, goose-egg, nothing. Final shots on goal: 27 – 34 for Peterborough (the score sheet says 36 for Peterborough but in the arena it showed 34).

Thoughts on the Game: This was a great game with lots of end-to-end energy, scoring opportunities and aggressive play. While not my preference, I would rather see the 67s lose with this same kind of effort than some of the losses that we have seen.

I was chatting with Robbie Lawrance at the prospects game and told him that they beat the Petes once and they can do it again. Both games we’ve seen here in the Civic Centre (including tonight’s game) were probably the best games we have seen them play. Our team can play really really well for 60 minutes when they care to. Everyone contributed.

The Petes did have more offense in the third period but the 67s still outplayed them. For the whole game Danny gave up very few rebounds and those that he did were cleared away and out of danger. Kiriakous played outstandingly. The guy showed exceptional second effort and was my pick for hardest working 67. Lawrance played really well with confidence. It sure would be nice to know the stats on blocked shots.

The Petes on the other hand were did not play admirably. One could even say they were nasty. It’s surprising that they don’t have a higher team PIM than they do (965 vs Ottawa’s 836 going into tonight’s game)

Beer has never been a favourite ref of mine and he reinforced my impression tonight. He missed some obvious crap right under his nose including a clothes-hanging-with-a-stick offense on Reid (?) by Kaletta in the third period. It is exactly this type of poor refereeing that results in players getting hurt and other players needing to settle the score. We will likely lose the services of Captain Julian Talbot for at least another game because he needed to protect his guy because the guy with the whistle and rule book didn’t.

The new guys, Liscomb and Grimaldi are great additions to the team. I was certain that there was going to be a dust-up between Grimaldi and just about anyone from the Petes. He works hard, sets up well, hits hard, and gets under the skin but not in a creepy-Downie sort of way. Liscomb seems to see the ice well and fly under the radar to make his contribution. As the Team 1200 guys said, he is very responsible with the puck.

While the team members have been discrete, I seriously wonder if the locker room is much better with these two guys than with Bickell. My sense is that Liscomb and Grimaldi have had a bigger impact on the team in their short stay than Bryan had in his whole tenure.

Tomorrow’s game should be very interesting. The Pete’s are returning to their own barn having been seriously burnt by an 8th place team (going into tonight’s game). They will not take it lightly but I also expect that the refs will do a better job. The ejections of Talbot and Soryal will have to be reviewed so the line-ups may look different.

Three Stars:
#1 – Danny Battochio (34 (or 36) saves many of which were outstanding saves)
#2 – Logan Couture (2 goals)
#3 – Joe Grimaldi (goal and an assist)

Hardest working 67: all the rest but the Team 1200 guys singled out Brent Liscomb.

Cheers and see everyone at Sunday’s game!

January 12, 2006

Welcome to Ottawa Joe Grimaldi! Welcome to Ottawa Brett Liscomb!

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Just heard via breaking news on TEAM 1200/AJ Jakubek, the 67s have persuaded Grimaldi to leave college, and he will be in the line up tonight when the 67s play Toronto!

Barre Campbell writes in the yesterday's Sun (Youth not served up by 67's at deadline):
Meanwhile, Kilrea made another deal with the Spitfires yesterday, sending a 14th-round pick in this year's draft to Windsor for defenceman Joe Grimaldi of the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks.

Last season in Omaha, Grimaldi was named to the conference all-rookie team while leading the Central Collegiate Hockey Association in plus-minus (+24).

Kilrea said yesterday there's a slight chance Grimaldi could leave his team and join the 67's prior to a Feb. 10 deadline. If he reports to Ottawa, the Spitfires would receive a sixth-round pick as compensation. If Grimaldi comes to Ottawa, he wouldn't be able to return to college.

"Sure, it's a big decision for him," said Kilrea. "He's one of those guys who can run a power play and he's just one of those good defencemen that everybody's looking for."


Tonight, Brett Liscomb will also join the team. I'm looking forward to this. Hope these guys play similarly to Killer's past choices (such as Bonello and Staubitz).

BBs thread here. Old Noof thread here.

January 09, 2006

[UPDATED] Bickell Traded!

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Just heard via TEAM 1200 (Gross, Versage, and Kulka via Schreibs): Brett Liscomb (OHL stats) from Windsor and a 2nd rounder, for Bryan Bickell. Interesting. Very interesting.

Liscomb's stats for the current season with the Spits:
GP 41
G 12
A 16
PTS 28
+/- 1
PIM 50

Aliu also traded (Spits link), to Sudbury.

More on this to come, after we've had some time to digest it!

[UPDATE 1.09.2006 1455h] Official linkages:

First, from the 67s:
The Ottawa 67’s have obtained 19 year old centre Brett Liscomb, and a 2nd Round Pick in the 2006 OHL Priority Selection in exchange for Orono, Ontario native, Bryan Bickell.

Liscomb is a centre but can also play on the left wing. The Long Sault, Ontario native is listed at 5.09” and 186lbs and was selected by the Windsor Spitfires in the 5th Round (88 overall) of the 2002 OHL Priority Selection.

The Second Round Pick in the 2006 OHL Priority Selection that the 67’s also received in the trade is the Peterborough Petes pick which Windsor had acquired earlier this season.

Brett Liscomb’s Career OHL Stats:
Year Team League GP Goals Assists Points PM
2003-04 Windsor OHL 63 11 10 21 35
2004-05 Windsor OHL 40 13 23 36 40
2005-06 Windsor OHL 41 12 16 28 50


And, from the Spits, their blurb:
(Windsor) The Windsor Spitfires today announced the acquisition of Bryan Bickell from the Ottawa 67’s in exchange for Brett Liscomb and the Spitfires 2nd Round pick (Peterborough’s from the Steve Downie/Peter Aston deal) in the 2006 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selections.


NOOF board comments on the trade here. 67s BB on the trade here.

January 07, 2006

It’s Great to Be a Hockey Fan in Canada!

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This has been an outstanding week for hockey in Canada. And Hockey Day isn’t until tomorrow!

The Canadian World Juniors Team proved all the pundits wrong (what the heck do they know anyway) and took the gold medal last night by seriously outplaying the highly rated and favoured Russian team. And Team Quebec won the Under-17 Hockey Challenge by defeating Team USA in Regina on Wednesday evening. Tonight we took a few moments to recognize the exceptional young hockey players in our arena who participated in these two tournaments. Ottawa 67s owner Jeff Hunt presented gifts to WJH Team Canada Gold Medal winners Michael Blunden (a local boy) and Ryan O”Marra, and our own Logan Couture who played for Team Ontario in the Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Michael Blunden scored two power play goals last night in that impressive 6 – 0 win over the Russians. Logan Couture had 5 goals and 3 assists during his play in Regina. Everyone was on their feet cheerin’, hollerin’ and otherwise loudly expressing their appreciation for these fine young athletes. It was a great moment. Good on ya to the 67s organization and everyone in the arena! This is how hockey should be celebrated!

OK – ‘nuff of that – back to the selfish business of Ottawa winning games…

Tonight’s game was the battle of two OHL teams hovering closer to the bottom of their respective conferences than the top. Erie was in 7th spot tied with Windsor with 34 points and 6 points back of 6th place Saginaw. Ottawa was in 8th place in the Eastern Conference with 39 points in a much tighter race where only 4 points separated the 3rd and 8th spots. On the upside for Erie, this was their first game of their eastern conference swing, they were coming off a come-from-behind win over Plymouth Whalers, and they welcomed back their (exhausted I expect) heroes from the WJH tournament. The dressing room must have been awesome – imagine the inspiration of seeing two of your team mates with their gold medals after the awesome play the night before (I’m guessing the medals were there – I do not have any specific knowledge of that). Working for Ottawa, they were coming off a fine win in Kingston and welcomed back a much-missed Logan Couture.

First Period: Frankly I was expecting Erie to be seriously jazzed with the return of Blunden and O’Marra. But Ottawa owned them from the get-go. Less than 3 minutes into the game, Julian Talbot scored first aided by the great work of Bryan Bickel and the sharp-shooting of Chris Hulit. Bryan started it by plowing through two Erie players along the boards with the puck and getting it to Chris who rung it off the post. Julian was there to pick up the rebound and snap it past Erie’s Josh Disher. Ottawa got its second goal at the 12:01 mark of the frame when Chris Hulit ended his drought by beating the goalie through the 5-hole. Julian and Bryan assisted on that goal. Erie was not about to roll over – they came back close to the end of the period (a dangerous time for our team) on the power play when Adam Berti got the goal with assists from Michael Blunden and Ryan O’Marra at the 18:58 mark of the frame. Before we get too excited about the contribution of these two guys (Blunden and O’Marra now of WJH fame) I should note that they were also on the ice for Ottawa’s two previous goals; plus/minus not looking so good but one can forgive them since they just came off probably the most emotional experience of their hockey careers and then flew 3 time-zones to play in Ottawa tonight. Gotta appreciate their effort!

Erie took 4 penalties for the period, actually being down 2 men for 1:42 minutes, but they managed to come out of this trouble unscathed. Ottawa took only 1 penalty and Erie scored. Score after the first period: 2 – 1 Ottawa; shots on goal: 11 – 8 for Ottawa.

Second Period: Ottawa continued to dominate the play in the second period and scored two goals to Erie’s one goal. Erie took 6 penalties in the period but Ottawa only managed to score on one of them (which turns out to be their only PP goal of the night despite having the man advantage 9 times). The Crazy-8’s were back in action with the return of Logan Couture. Erie’s Nick Palmieri was taking a time-out for a high-sticking infraction when Jamie McGinn scored with the help of his crazy line mates Pat Daley and Logan Couture. Then, at about the half-way mark, Pat Ouellette got the unassisted goal when he banked one off one of the Erie players. In an effort that will undoubtedly improve the PP stats of Erie (Ottawa was assessed only 3 penalties and Erie scored on two of them – not a good PK stat), Michael Blunden scored at the 16:11 mark of the period while Logan was cooling his heels for a tripping penalty. Michael was assisted by line mates Bret Nasby and Sean O’Connor.

Things got a bit rough near the end of the period. If memory serves me correctly (and that’s not a given) Erie player Chris Greene took a nasty shot at an Ottawa player and was about to earn himself a time-out in the naughty-spot when Tibor Raduly waded into the action. I don’t think we’ve seen this side of him. Tibor and Erie player Chad Loikets went at it and without a lot of fuss and bother, Tibor won the day. No serious damage was inflicted by either party. Both gentlemen (in a hockey sense anyway) were assessed 5 minutes to calm down and reflect on their actions. Ottawa was unable to convert on the man advantage.

Score at the end of the second period: 4 – 2 Ottawa with total shots on goal: 27 – 14 for Ottawa.


Third Period: Ottawa continued to dominate in the third period scoring three unanswered, evenly spaced goals. Bryan Bickell started it with an unassisted goal 3 minutes into the period. He was nice and patient, waiting for the goalie to commit before potting the pretty goal. At this point, Erie pulled goalie Josh Disher in favour of rookie goalie Ryan Ludzk. According to the stats on the OHL site, Ryan had only played for 17 minutes in 1 previous game. It didn’t take too long for the 67s to take advantage of him. Arron Alphonso reached behind to pick up a pass from Thomas Kiriakou and sped into the Erie zone to get one past the new guy. Joe Plekaitis also assisted on the goal. Ottawa did not lay off with the 6 – 2 advantage. At about the mid-way mark, the Crazy-8’s got on the board again when Matt Lahey took a nice feed from Jaimie McGinn and scored. Logan Couture also contributed to the goal. Only one penalty was assessed in the third period and that was to Erie which they killed. Final score: 7 – 2 for Ottawa; shots on goal after 3: 39 – 22 Ottawa.

Thoughts: Like they did when they beat Peterborough, Ottawa showed us the art of the possible. They played well, passing was accurate, defense was good and they had a ton of scoring opportunities (many ooh – ahh moments for the fans and all 4 lines scored). Ottawa clearly outplayed Erie and Ottawa clearly played like a team that wanted to win. I tried to keep track of the line changes tonight and by my reckoning (don’t bet the house payment on it) it appeared that Coach was keeping the shifts as short as possible in the first two periods. I counted about 25 line changes in the first frame, 28 in the second and 19 in the third. A big difference from the last few games. And Ottawa won. Coincidence? I would imagine that an upcoming practice may focus on the specialty teams as Ottawa only went 1 / 9 on the power play while Erie went 2 / 3.

A solid start to the weekend. Ottawa is on the road to play the two last place teams in the conference – Oshawa tomorrow and Mississauga on Sunday. Oshawa lost 5 – 1 to Kingston tonight while Missy lost to Barrie 4 – 7. The conference remains tight with Brampton in 3rd place with 45 points, Kingston in 4th place with 44 points and St. Mikes in 8th place with 40 points. Ottawa, Belleville and Sudbury have 41 points each with Belleville still holding a game in hand.

Three Stars of the Game:

First Star: Bryan Bickell (goal and 2 assists)
Second Star: Matt Lahey (goal and an assist)
Third Star: Chris Hulit (goal and an assist)

Hardest Working 67: Julian Talbot

Cheers!

January 01, 2006

Happy New Year – A Good Start to 2006!

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Hope everyone had a happy and safe start to the new year. Got a call from the sister-in-law this morning asking if we were up for a road trip to Kingston to see the game. After being assured that there were plenty of tickets available we hit the road in short order.

There were a lot of Ottawa fans there judging by the jerseys and the cheering. For those who have not been there, it’s no Civic Centre but it’s a nice, community-centre based arena that allows the fans to get quite close to the action and the players. The funniest part of the game is the cheer-track. Everyone knows about laugh tracks on TV; that’s the canned laughter that you often hear for sit-coms. Well, in Kingston they have the home-crowd-goes-wild-for-the-goal track. It goes on for much longer than anyone in the arena is cheering. It is so lame! The cheers for the Ottawa goals were much more sincere (and live).

The fans in Kingston are all very friendly and engaging. It didn’t take long for someone to strike up a conversation and mention the bizarre game on Friday night. Here’s a link to the Kingston Whig.
http://www.thewhig.com/webapp/sitepages/content.asp?contentid=139362&catname=Local%20Sports&classif=News%20Alert

Hopefully the link will still work. If not, you can send me a message and I’ll summarize the article. It involves very questionable refereeing, a parade of penalties, and suspensions handed out to two Fronts and one Ice Dog. The best line in the newspaper article is when the Kingston coach is quoted as saying that his wallet is not thick enough for him to say what he really wanted to say about the game. Protests to follow.

Ottawa faced a rather depleted Kingston team. Ben Shutron and Chris Stewart sat out the suspensions earned on Friday, Andrew Wilson, Bobby Hughes and Connor Cameron are injured and goaltender Daryl Borden is in Regina with our Logan Couture at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. For our team, Pat Campbell, Tibor Radulay and Arron Alphonso were scratches in addition to Logan. Brady Morrison started in net.

First Period: Ottawa started really quickly, winning the opening face-off and creating a bunch of activity in front of the Kingston goalie but after that, both teams looked rather sluggish. Kingston took 4 penalties in the period to Ottawa’s one. All 5 penalties were killed. Kingston was first on the score board at 11:28 when Todd Griffin got it by Brady. Peder Skinner earned the assist. Shots on goal after the first period: 17 – 14 for Ottawa.

Second Period: Kingston’s Matthew Reis was still in the penalty box for his interference penalty late in the first period when, just 33 seconds in the frame, Julian Talbot scored with assists from Brodie Beard and Chris Hulit. It didn’t take long for Kingston to retake the lead when Peder Skinner scored with assists by Michael Kolarz and Mike Looby at the 5:40 mark. Then our Robbie Lawrance paired up with Julian Talbot to tie it up again just half way through the period. The Kingston goalie, Danny Taylor, got knocked down in the process, the net was knocked loose and a Kingston player ended up in the net. I was listening to the local broadcast of the game and the announcer was upset that a penalty was not called. He was musing at length about the officiating and comparing it to the quality of the Friday game. It didn’t look at all like interference to me and we were sitting pretty much level with the crease. Danny was slow getting up (but not nearly as slow as the Kingston trainer was in getting to his injured player). No call was made and the goal stood. Ottawa took 3 penalties in the period which they killed and Kingston only had one infraction. Shots on goal after two: 29 – 28 in Ottawa’s favour.

Third Period: It just goes to show-ya that it pays to shoot the puck. At the very start of the period, Ottawa was playing like it was a warm-up when Kingston’s Radek Smolenak took a pass from Michael Kolarz and whipped one past Brady from the slot with just 17 seconds elapsed in the period. I don’t think Brady saw it coming. But the boys kicked into gear and owned the rest of the period assisted by some stellar, on-his-head goaltending from Brady. 2 minutes and 26 seconds into the period, Pat Daley tied it up again by picking up the puck at the edge of the crease and getting it by Danny Taylor. Joe Pleckaitis and Jordan Gallea got the assists. Ottawa finally took the lead at the 7:31 mark when, on the power play, Elgin Reid scored with assists by Chris Hulit and Julian Talbot. Ottawa stayed clean for the period and Kingston only had the one penalty which resulted in Ottawa’s game-winning goal. Final shots on goal: 40 – 35 for Ottawa.

Thoughts: It’s a win over a team that’s in our Division and ahead of us in the standings. Belleville won too so it keeps us even with them. But one has to remember that the Frontenacs dressed 3 fewer players than the 67s and the Fronts were missing two big scorers in Bobby Hughes and Chris Stewart who have 42 and 41 points respectively. But to the 67s’ credit, they kept Kingston’s big scorer Cory Emmerson pointless for the night. I watched the new kid Jordan for a bit. I’m no expert that’s for sure but he made some great defensive moves and managed to push a couple of the opposition around a bit. But he’s not a graceful skater by any means. Brady Morrison was great against his former team. He showed some great athleticism and was blessed by some good luck to boot. He had a good game. All the skaters who dressed saw some ice time although Coach basically stuck with 3 lines most of the time.

It’s a great start to the new year. Here’s looking forward to the return of Logan and fast healing for Arron.

Cheers! (without the cheer-track)

Three Star Selections:

First star: Julian Talbot (goal and an assist)
Second star: Kingston’s Todd Griffin (goal)
Third star: Brady Morrison (32 saves – quite a few of them real beauties)