February 19, 2006

Great Big Goalie Steals it From Ottawa: Kitchener 3 – Ottawa 1

Set up for tonight’s game with credit going to #1 67s Fan from the 67s discussion board: http://www.ottawa67s.com/67s/vBulletin/showthread.php?t=2484

Scratches for tonight:
Kitchener: Julien Machabee, Michale Pelech and Victor Oreskovich
Ottawa: Matt Lahey, Brent Mackie and Tibor Radulay

We welcomed a large contingent of Ranger fans to the game. The ones I saw were having a lot of fun, dancing to the band music before the game and cheering loudly during the game. They look like a fun crowd. Must be some dedicated as they went on the road for all 3 games. Hope they had a chance to enjoy some of Winterlude while in the nation's capital.

Before the game started, Captain Mark Fraser presented Jeff Hunt with a cheque for $3000 raised by the Ranger club for Sebastian Savage. This gesture adds to an already glowing club reputation for being a top notch organization. Ottawa fans showed their appreciation for this consideration.

Now to hockey. This will be a fast update ‘cause I have some paying work to get done tonight.

First Period: The period started with even play but that ended in the first minute and a half when Liscomb was called for boarding. Then it was pretty much trading penalties, each team earning 5 penalties each for the frame. By my calculations, there were about 5:20 minutes of 5-on-5 play. Chris Hulit was having a tough time keeping his stick on the ice. Missed at least two passes in the early going and then made a few bad passes. Kitchener played very aggressively on the PK. Ottawa put up some great pressure but just couldn’t connect on the centering passes. Rebounds were few and the Kitchener defense cleared away the front of the net. Kitchener got the 2 man advantage when Elgin Reid was called for high sticking while Vojta was already in the penalty box for, can you guess, yes! a hooking penalty. It took the Rangers less than 30 seconds to put together a nice tic-tac-toe passing play to get the goal. I don’t think Danny had even stopped at the one post when it was already in the net by the other post. Matt Auffrey got the goal with help from Evan McGrath and Justin Azevado.

Kitchener almost went ahead in the last two minutes when Myles Applebaum broke away on an Ottawa turn over in the Kitchener zone. He was going in all alone when Elgin’s great back checking effort broke up the scoring chance.

The score after 20 minutes: 1 – 0 for Kitchener with shots on goal 12 – 9 favouring Ottawa.

Second Period: Bob (the guy who sits next to me) and I were speculating on how long it would take until the first penalty was called. We figured about 3 minutes. Wrong! Try 30 seconds. But during the delayed call (the penalty was going to Kitchener) Logan continued the play, got the puck to McGinn who got his own rebound and got it past Turple to even it up. Aaron Alphonso got the other assist on the goal.

At just about halfway through the period, there was a kafuffle in the corner to the right of Danny. McGinn was already off the ice for a hooking call when Hulit was called for checking from behind, Beard and Kitchener’s Jean-Michel Rizk were sent off for roughing. This gave Kitchener another two man advantage on which they capitalized in 5 seconds. Matt Auffrey scored his second for the night when his shot from the face-off circle went through the 5-hole. Some folks thought Danny was screened but from my advantage, which was pretty much right behind the player, it was a clear shot that Danny should have had. Jakub Kindl and Evan McGrath got the assists (for Evan's 99th point of the season).

Both teams were playing hard but towards the end, it looked like Ottawa was running out of steam. Danny made a couple of big saves in the last couple of minutes of play to keep the game close.

At the end of the second period, it was 2 – 1 for Kitchener with shots on goal 25 – 16 in Ottawa’s favour.

Third Period: Kitchener continued with the penalties and Ottawa continued not to take advantage of the advantage. There were numerous scoring opportunities but the second player was either in too deep or didn’t have his stick in the right spot. Turple gave up a bunch of big rebounds but we just didn’t have someone in the right spot at the right time. After burning off a Grimaldi hooking penalty (taken at 16:47 to bust up a break away ‘cause Joslin missed his play), Ottawa gained control of the puck and Danny went to the bench for the added player. The team put up great pressure and had a couple of great opportunities but a missed pass at the blue line got the puck to Jean-Michel Rizk and he fired it at the net before it could be back checked away from him. He got an unassisted empty netter to seal the game for his team.

Final score: Kitchener 3 – 1 with shots on goal 38 – 26 in Ottawa’s favour.

Thoughts: I have to admit that the team played much better than I had anticipated given their last two Sunday performances against teams that were on long road trips. Today they played really well. Some good hits, great work along the boards, and as always, Logan Couture contributed everywhere. Thomas Kiriakou also had a good game digging for the puck and trying to make plays. Even though we lost, and not by much, I was really happy with their play. Much happier in fact than their win on Friday (but we’ll take the points thank you very much).

It’s hard to get too fussed on the fact that they went 0/13 on the power play. I don’t have the time to figure it all out but my guess is that a number of them were not full 2-minute PPs. And Kitchener does have the best PP in the league. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that two of the Kitchener goals were with a two-man advantage and the third was into an empty net. Yes they were playing their third game on the road and yes it was the third start for their goalie. Kitchener did not play like it was a third game.

Forget about smaller goalie equipment, how about smaller goalies! I see now why the Rangers have the lowest goals-against in the league. Their goalie fills the net. And whatever he lets go as rebounds, the big defensive corps clears away. This would also explain why they don’t sweat getting penalties and why they play so aggressively on the PK. This would also explain why they are number 1 in the league on the PK. This is a big team – much bigger than our guys. But wait for our guys to fill in; they’ll hold their own in the not-to-distant future (eat your vegetables boys!).

I hope our guys can put up a good effort when they play a rested Kitchener squad on Friday.

Three Stars of the Game:

First Star: Dan Turple (Kitchener goalie with 37 saves)
Second Star: Logan Couture (an assist and lots of work)
Third Star: Matt Auffrey (Kitchener 2 goals)

Hardest Working 67: Joe Grimaldi


February 18, 2006

Dog-gone! Ottawa: 8 – 3 Over Mississauga

Being an IT professional, I really value the idea of reuse (plus I need the gift of time) so with full credit going to the inspired work of #1 67’s fan for the 67’s fan discussion board, here’s the set up for tonight: http://www.ottawa67s.com/67s/vBulletin/showthread.php?t=2482 I could not possibly do a better job.

Didn’t pick up the scratches – was busy being social.

First Period: For the third straight game that I can remember, Killer did not start with his veterans. McGinn, Couture and Alphonso started with Ryan and Reid on defense. Message here?? Tonight’s ref was Carman Cox and he sure liked the sound of his whistle but, to be fair, the IceDogs had the 3rd highest PIMS coming into tonight’s game (1324 compared to Ottawa’s 1063 which is the least in the league if you believe the stats on the OHL site. That’s a difference of over 4 hours for the same number of games played but really only averages out to over 4 minutes/game.) It took Mississauga less than two minutes to get into trouble when Captain Cody was called for hooking. Killer rolled three lines during the PP but, despite a good effort, none of them could bring it home. In the first 4 and a half minutes of play, Ottawa managed to get 5 SOG to none for Missy. Ottawa got another chance real soon when Michael Swift was tagged for a cross checking offense. On this PP I think that the Dogs actually had more SOGs than Ottawa. This was not looking too promising.

Finally, just before halfway through the period, Chris Hulit put us on the board when Liscomb shoveled it to him in front of the net. Brody Beard got an assist on it – I think he actually picked up a rebound to keep the puck in play and allow the nice set up by Brent.

I didn’t see what started the whole thing but at about 14 minutes into the game Shea Kewin and Brent Oliphant mixed it up along the boards behind the play. There were more attempts at damage than actual damage – too close to call for me. When Cox sorted it all out, Shea got 2 minutes for fighting and Oliphant got 2 minutes for being the instigator, 4 minutes for fighting and another 10 minutes for misconduct (at least that’s how it’s played out on the score sheet on the OHP web site). Again, we were unable to convert the man advantage.

A couple of minutes later (16:23 for those who prefer precision), Ottawa went up by two when Arron Alphonso dug the puck from the boards on the right side behind Lobsinger and got it to Jamie McGinn in front who scored his 20th goal of the season! Logan Couture got an assist on the goal.

Mississauga was not packing it in. They got the first PP goal 20 seconds into what might have been a stupid penalty by Grimaldi. I didn’t see all the action so perhaps Joe was trying to make a statement about some perceived or real disrespect for Bat Man. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. The play was around the Ottawa net and was essentially over when Joe felt it necessary to push an IceDog around. I’ll let others fill in the blanks for me. In any event, the ensuing PP goal by Oskar Osala put the Dogs back into the game. Joshua Day and Michael Swift assisted.

At the end of the first period, Ottawa led 2 – 1 with shots on goal 14 – 12 for the good guys. (That would be Ottawa for anyone who might be confused – I am unapologetically biased).

Second Period: This is where the game turned. While I could not prove this statistically (I really do have a life other than junior hockey) it is my impression that the second period is not generally the best time of day for our guys. But tonight, that was not the case. Some might argue the ref was the 6th man for Ottawa but I’m not so sure. Sometimes teams, including coaches, do stupid things. OK – Follow this closely – there will be a test:

7:08: Vojta assessed his second penalty of the game for clipping. The Dogs take the advantage.
8:42: Nathan Martine gets nabbed for interference. Play is 4 on 4
9:08: Ottawa penalty is over. Play is 5 on 4.
9:53: ish. Elgin Reid lays a check on a Dog along the boards (didn’t get the number). Missy Coach Greg Gilbert thinks that Elgin did a bad thing (no consensus among the season ticket holders around me). Gilbert thinks it necessary to voice his opinion loudly and at length. Cox really does not appreciate this armchair-refereeing from the bench and assesses Missy 2 minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct (otherwise known as the “thanks but I don’t want your help” penalty). Gilbert is now really sure that he is on the side of angels and continues to offer advice to Cox. Dho! So Cox reinforces his earlier “thanks but I don’t want your help” perspective and adds a delay of game penalty on top of it. The penalty box is now seriously crowded. I was expecting the Fire Marshall to declare an over occupancy violation at any moment.
10:42 Nathan’s penalty is over without any damage. According to my read of the score sheet, the delay of penalty kicks in. Play continues at 5 on 4 for Ottawa.
11:11 Grimaldi fires one from the blue line and, according the Team 1200 boys, the shot rang off both posts and lands nicely on Logan Couture’s stick and he makes no mistake of sending it to the back of the net. This retires the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Ottawa is still with the man advantage as the delay of game penalty is still in play.
11:50: Nathan Martine gets called for a 4-minute high sticking infraction (on Alphonso??)
12:33: Julian Talbot finally scores a goal from in front of the crease (having been robbed earlier a few times!) from a nice feed from Brent Liscomb. Chris Hulit earned an assist on the goal. This retires the delay of game penalty.
14:30: Chris makes a nice centering pass to Brent Liscomb who is parked in front of the net and makes it count. Talbot gets an assist. This retires Martine’s penalty. Are we back to even play? I lost track (actually we are back to even play. I think. Who has the libretto to go with this opera?)
15:35: Sean Ryan gets called for holding. We are on the PK.
16:41: In what turns out to be the play of the game, Logan gets the puck on a turn-over in the Ottawa zone, carries it down to the Missy zone and, while holding off the defender with one hand and falling down, passes the puck to Jamie McGinn who is in the perfect spot to get is past a helpless Lucas Lobsinger for one of the nicest short-handed goals I’ve seen in a very long time.
17:35: Sean is out of jail.
18:48: Pat Lahey is called for hooking. Ottawa on the PK.
19:15: Danny is called on a delay of game when he freezes the puck on the post. Players all over the place but for some reason Cox considers Danny’s action unreasonable. I have a theory – recall the Elgin hit earlier and the coach’s opinion. Perhaps it can make an impact. Hmmm. Ottawa now down 2 men.
19:22: Jordan Owens gets credit for the second Mississauga goal of the night. Danny didn’t stand a chance. Jadran Beljo and Vladimire Svacina earn the assists. This retires Pat’s penalty.
20:00: this fiasco is finally over!

End of 40 minutes: 6 – 2 Ottawa. Shots on Goal: 34 – 20 for Ottawa

Snap Quiz! At 12:10 in the period, how many players did each team have on the ice? (answer – your guess is as good as mine – you pass)

Third Period: I stopped taking notes in this period. So I’m going from the game sheet and my memory. So much for the theory about refs putting their whistles away in the third period. I am not going to list all the infractions – there are 18 in total listed on the game sheet. Here’s what matters: five minutes into the period, on a PP, Jakob Vojta got his second goal of the season when he fired one past Lobsinger from the blue line. The Dogs replied with a full-strength goal at 11:10 when the puck went off Beard (?) and got past Danny. 25 seconds later Jamie got his first OHL hat trick with help from his good buddies Couture and Alphonso.

Final score: 8 – 3 with shots on goal 41 – 33 – both numbers in Ottawa’s favour.

Thoughts: Hmmm – what to say. Ottawa finally beat Mississauga. If the Mississauga coach hadn’t mouthed off so much in the second period, I think this would have been a much different game. The Dogs had some really good play and their goaltender did a good job of keeping it from being much worse. It’s good to get the 2 points but I would not say this was one of Ottawa’s best efforts. It certainly will not be enough to keep the Rangers at bay on Sunday.

And now about the Ottawa fans, I’ve been bringing a hat-trick hat to pretty much every game this year just waiting to throw it on the ice. I was beginning to despair that I wouldn’t get a chance. Yay for Jamie getting his first OHL hat trick! I finally got to throw my hat on the ice! Although I didn’t see it, it appears that only one other fan kept the faith. Harrumph! More hats folks. I got mine back and gave it to a big McGinn fan to get it signed.

Three Stars of the Game:

First Star: Jamie McGinn (3 goals)
Second Star: Logan Couture (goal and 3 assists)
Third Star: Brent Liscomb (goal and 2 assists)

Hardest Working 67: Julian Talbot


February 11, 2006

Spirit Exorcized by Ottawa: 4 – 1

It’s Saginaw’s turn to make the long swing through the Eastern Conference. The trip started badly for them with a 6 – 1 loss in Peterborough last night. I didn’t get a chance to prepare my game sheet tonight as I pretty much went straight to the game from work. #1 67 fan from the team discussion board did a nice job of setting up tonight’s game. See: http://www.ottawa67s.com/67s/vBulletin/showthread.php?t=2474

Saginaw was without Tom Mannino, Anthony Soboczynski, and Matt Corrente. For Ottawa, healthy scratches were Brent Mackie and 12 Joe Pleckaitis. Robbie Lawrance was down with the flu and Danny Battochio was dressed but spent the evening in sick bay with the flu. Brady Morrison got the start. Tibot Raduly’s parents and sister were at the game from Slovakia tonight. Wonder what they think of it all.

First Period: I guess the second line might be the new top line as Logan, Ouellette and Lahey started with Beard and Grimaldi on D. Coming into tonight’s game, Saginaw had the second worst road penalty kill in the league and we saw why real soon. Two and a half minutes into the game Jesse Gimblett interfered on Brady and they paid for it less than 20 seconds later. Derek Joslin fired one at the net from inside the blue line and Jamie McGinn redirected it over the shoulder of Francois Tuot. Julian Talbot got the other assist. Very shortly after that, Jacub Vojta was called for interference but Ottawa did a fine job of killing the penalty. Actually, Liscomb had a really good chance at the short-handed goal but was denied by Tuot. At about 6 ½ minutes in, Saginaw’s Garret Sinfield interfered on Christ Hulit and Ottawa was back on the power play but they didn’t do such a fine job with the advantage – didn’t even get a shot on net for the entire two minutes. After deftly killing another penalty, this time McGinn was taking a time out, Shea Kewin and Tibor Raduly teamed up for the second goal at 11:26 into the period. Tibor worked hard around the back of the net to get the puck out to Shea in front of the net who got it by Tuot. That was the second goal in 5 shots on goal. Scott Fletcher was cooling his heels on a hooking call when Ottawa quickly took advantage again. Logan Couture got the gift of a nice pass to the open side of the net for his 19th goal of the year. Tuot didn’t have a chance. Pat Lahey and Pat Ouellette earned assists on the goal.

At the end of the first period, Ottawa led 3 – 0 with shots on goal 10 – 14 in Saginaw’s favour.

Second Period: The second period snooze button hit Ottawa again. The 67s had two chances with 5 on 3 – on for 46 seconds and another for 1:08 but they could not get one past Tuot. One of the Saginaw penalties was called in the Ottawa zone and Ottawa had control of the puck. It looked like they were waiting for a whistle instead of playing aggressively with the delayed call. Ottawa actually had a whole long stretch of advantage that they just couldn’t convert into a goal. To his credit, Tuot made some nice saves and I think the goal post got one too. It almost seemed that the Barberpoles played better 5-on-5 than they did with an extra man. They kept their noses clean though with only one penalty while Saginaw had a long list of infractions: hooking, tripping, interference, too many men and a 10 minutes misconduct for some unpleasant conversation.

The period ended without any additional goals and the shots on goal were 23 – 20 for Ottawa.

Third Period: Ottawa picked up its play somewhat with an early scoring chance on the rush and yet another man advantage. Unfortunately neither worked out for the boys. The only big error that cost the 67s came within the first two minutes when some sloppy sloppy play in their own zone cost Brady his shut out. Pat Lahey missed picking up the puck along the boards and the turnover allowed Saginaw’s Jamie Kile to pick up the puck, skate in and snap one into the right corner past Brady. It wasn’t long after that that Grimaldi shortened a power play when he got called for holding. During the ensuing Saginaw power play, they pressed hard and between Brady and the goalpost, Ottawa came out clean. Saginaw was playing like they wanted back in the game but they ran out of room at about the halfway mark when Pat Ouellette scored when Logan worked hard behind the Saginaw net to get the puck to Pat who put it nicely over the goaltender’s shoulder to restore the 3 goal lead. Pat Lahey got an assist on that one. With about 6 minutes to go, Saginaw’s backup goalie, Ryan Daniels, made a nice glove save when the puck was deflected into the bench. The Asylum appreciated his fine athleticism with some friendly cheers.

There was some good back and forth play but Ottawa pretty much dominated the period. There were a lot of blocked shots by both teams. With about 45 seconds left to play and Ottawa clearly looking at a win, tempers flared big time. It didn’t look like a particularly chippy game up to then so I have no idea what sparked the melee. First, Tibor Radulay and Michal Birner got tangled in the corner to the right of the Saginaw goalie. Berner was called for slashing but before the ref barely finished whistling the play, a punch-up started in front of the penalty boxes. I missed the debut but from the video replay, it looked like a linesman was standing between Grimaldi and a Saginaw player when Grimaldi reached across and punched his opponent. Then there were more sweater numbers than I could keep track of but it seems that Kewin and, Radulay from the 67s were involved. Then, D-man Scott Fletcher jumped over the boards and took a run at Couture. Couture wanted nothing of it (not a bad idea since Fletch has 4 inches and 30 pounds on him). Elgin Reed didn’t like what was developing and left the bench to stand up for Logan. They did the sweater dance and I think Elgin took at least one in the beak but it was pretty much uneventful. Meanwhile, Grimaldi took a bit of a pounding but I don’t think he went down. When the dust settled, a whole lotta penalties were handed out and a number of players were escorted off the ice. When the official announcements were made, Logan was included in the list but the score sheet does not have him listed for anything. 4 Saginaw players were assessed game misconducts and Fletcher got a game misconduct as well as a gross misconduct. 4 Ottawa players were assessed game misconducts: Grimaldi, Kewin, Radulay and Ried. My seat mate said he saw Branch in the arena. Wonder how long it will take for the OHL to sort this out. If I understand correctly, all game misconducts result in a review by the league. The gross misconduct might mean 10 games for Fletcher.

Final score: 4 – 1 with shots on goal 39 – 33 – both numbers in Ottawa’s favour.

Thoughts: Well, they did it again. And we’re glad to see this at home. They showed that they can play some decent hockey for almost a whole game. And now they are on a two-game winning streak. Their defense seems to be getting better and better but the offense teamings still struggle to find the right timing in front of the net. And the power play needs some work. Ottawa went 2 / 9 tonight with a couple of 5 on 3 advantages that they couldn’t convert. There was a lot to like tonight and I’m really looking forward to the home stretch. If they want to move up the standings, they will need to string together a number of really strong performances. On the upside, they only have one more three-game road trip left in the schedule and they all their home weekends are Friday-Sunday combos. On the down side, almost all the teams ahead of them in the standings have a game or two in hand.

Three Stars of the Game:

First Star: Logan Couture (goal and assist)
Second Star: Brady Morrison (32 saves and some of them really important)
Third Star: Pat Ouellette (goal and an assist)

Hardest Working 67: Jamie McGinn


February 05, 2006

Harpooned by the Whalers: 4 – 2

This was Plymouth’s third game in three days a long way from home. They won in Kingston on Friday and lost to Belleville last night. I didn’t catch all the scratches but they were without their second scorer, Evan Brophy and they had only one goalie, Justin Peters, dressed. John Vigilante is their top scorer with 70 points coming into the game – good for 12th overall in the league. They were the second most penalized team in the league but also had developed a decent coping strategy in that they were 10th in the league for penalty kills on the road; 3rd overall when PKs at home were factored in (second in the league for killing penalties at home).

Ottawa was coming off a well-played game although it was a disappointing loss, had a day’s rest, and welcomed Julian Talbot back from his 5 game suspension. Brent Mackie, Joe Pleckaitis and Pat Daley sat out the game. Brady Morrison made his home start debut.

First Period: Ottawa sure didn’t look like a team that had a rest and Plymouth sure didn’t look like a team that was suffering from bus legs. I’m not going to go through all the penalties. In the first period, each team was tagged 4 times. Ottawa started when Liscomb was spotted hooking just 23 seconds into the frame. I believe that was the only time either of the teams managed to have a full two minutes to themselves. Ottawa was simply outplayed the entire period; the first five minutes alone was entirely played in the Ottawa zone. Plymouth scored first on a short-handed goal at 10:26 when John Armstrong squeezed one past Brady on the backhand as he skated in front of the net. Big Derek Melini assisted on the goal. Four minutes later, John Vigilante made two nothing when he was allowed to walk right in, pick up the rebound and get it past Brady on the stick-side.

At the end of the first period, Plymouth led 2 – 0 with shots on goal 5 – 7 in Plymouth’s favour.

Second Period: It was Plymouth’s turn to start the penalty parade first, just 31 seconds in, when Derek Melini was called for cross checking. About halfway through the man advantage, Derek Joslin was skating along the inside of the blue line, took a pass fired the puck at the net going against the flow and got it past Justin Peters to get Ottawa within one. Joe Grimaldi and Julian Talbot got assists. A couple of minutes later, Grimaldi was sent off for taking a stupid hooking penalty that broke up a good scoring opportunity. Ottawa was doing a good job of killing the penalty when a pass from Justin Peters caught Ottawa on a bad line change. Jared Boll got it to John Armstrong who scored his second of the afternoon just as the penalty was expiring to put the Whalers back up 2. Ottawa then got into a world of penalty trouble. I didn’t see who Ondrej Otcenas hit into the boards but Joe Grimaldi didn’t like it one bit. He tried to get Ondrej's attention with a few taps on the back with his stick and then more folks got into the act. In the end, Joe and Ondrej traded minors (roughing for Joe, boarding for Ondrej) while Vigilante earned an extra roughing play for Plymouth. The Ottawa man advantage lasted for about a minute and a half when Julian Talbot was called for hooking. Then with about 30 seconds left in that penalty, Jakob Voyta was called for hooking. Just 12 seconds after the Talbot penalty was over, Grimaldi was sent of again, this time for slashing. Ottawa managed to kill both 2-man advantages. Somewhere near the end of all this penalty stupidity, something odd happened behind the Plymouth net. Gino Pisellini was called hooking and on the same play Elgin Reid was called for diving. Can a player be both hooked and dive? Either that, or for some brief moment, the one referee was able not only to see one infraction but two by entirely separate players! Elgin was pretty incensed by the call and everyone could tell, including the ref who assessed him an extra 10-minute time out.

The period ended with Plymouth still ahead – 3 – 1 with shots on goal 17 – 21 for Plymouth.

Third Period: Ottawa tried to put a bit more effort into it but the posts and cross-bar were not with the program. There were a couple times I was sure it went in! Brady did not have the game he was hoping for. In the second period, Plymouth put a long shot on net which Brady easily stopped. He was then moving the puck slowly back and forth waiting from a sign from above as to what to do with it when a Plymouth player skated in and almost took it off his stick for him. In the third period, Brady came out to the face-off circle to pick up the puck that was cleared by Plymouth. Guess he was hoping to pull the same play as Justin did earlier. Instead, he misplayed the puck and it rolled along the ice to the empty net! Fortunately it didn’t get in but Brady did get out – at about the 7-minute mark. Plymouth solidified their lead just over halfway through when John Armstrong made it a hat trick by picking up his own rebound and got it past Danny. Shea Kewin must have been taking notes because four minutes later, during Ottawa’s 10th power play of the afternoon, he picked up his own rebound and got it past Justin. Defensemen Elgin Reid and Derek Joslin got the assists. And that’s as far as they got when the buzzer finally sounded.

Final score: 4 – 2 with shots on goal 29 – 30 – both numbers in Plymouth’s favour.

Thoughts: No excuses for the 67s here. They should have been pumped from a good game on Friday and well rested to take on Plymouth coming in for the third road game off a loss in Belleville. Ottawa could not seem to get anything going. Kilrea changed the lines again – Liscomb played with Hulit and Talbot, the Crazy-8s were together and Pleckaitis, Lawrance and Alphonso played together a lot. The fourth line saw limited ice. It was like the boys couldn’t figure out where each other were or was going to be. I lost count of the number of centering passes to no one. And don’t even get me started on the missed passes – especially those that resulted in icing calls.

The Whalers are big and they used their size well. They also passed better, worked harder, checked better and skated faster.

A lot of whistles in the game: 26 penalties called (14 against Ottawa) with both teams going 2/10 on the power plays. Many of the man-advantages were short-lived as someone else from the PP team would get called for something or the other.

I’m sure Kilrea is at a loss as how to get these guys to play good games back to back. Barring some complete miracle by Mississauga, Ottawa will stumble into the playoffs, but it sure looks like they will go in in 8th spot which is not good. Let’s keep hoping that they will start some seriously consistent playing that will move them up the ranks.

Three Stars of the Game:

First Star: John Armstrong (Plymouth – hat trick for his 8th, 9th and 10th goals of the season)
Second Star: Justin Peters (Plymouth – not sure why the boys picked him – most of his saves were easy)
Third Star: Derek Joslin (goal and an assist)

Hardest Working 67: Didn’t catch it.


February 03, 2006

Heartbreak by a Zebra!

Brampton came to town on a two game winning streak and standing third in the conference with 56 points. They have started putting some distance between themselves and the rest of the pack. Their top scorer, Wojtek Wolski is in the top 10 in the league with 70 points before tonight’s game. Woytek also had a good night at the Bell OHL All-Star Classic in Belleville on Wednesday where he had two goals and an assist in the Eastern Conference 9-3 win over the Western Conference. Kilrea coached the Eastern team and knew what this guy could do.

This will be the third and final game of Talbot’s suspension. Brent Mackie and Joe Pleckaitis were healthy scratches tonight. With still only three points separating 4th place and 8th place, Ottawa is looking for wins to move themselves up the ranking.

First Period: Logan was on the top line again with Chris and Jamie. Brampton dominated the play in the first period, spending a good chunk of time in the Ottawa zone, especially while Ottawa was killing penalties. Brampton started the penalty parade with a tripping penalty before the first two minutes were up. Just as they killed it, Voyta took his first penalty of the night for hooking and while Ottawa was down a man, Elgin Reid was nabbed for tripping. The team did a really good job of killing both penalties. At about the halfway mark, Danny took his first penalty of the night when he tried to stop a hard shot in front of the goal line and the puck took a funny jump and went over the glass. Danny was tagged with a delay of game penalty. Just as that ended successfully for the 67s, Voyta took his second penalty for checking from behind. That too was killed off. Not only was Ottawa effective at killing penalties, so was Brampton. Ottawa had the man advantage three times in the period and were unable to score. The only goal of the period came at 17:19 when Michael Klejna got one past Danny. Wojtek Wolski and Matt Smyth earned the assists. I didn’t see it but the Team 1200 guys said that Couture had his stick knocked out of his hands and the goal was scored while he was trying to retrieve it. While Brampton played stronger than Ottawa, our boys still played reasonably well. The shots on goal were pretty low for the period (6 – 9 for Brampton) which might suggest a boring defensive game but it wasn’t; it was fast moving with good offensive and defensive plays by both teams. We all commented how fast the period went.

At the end of the first period, Brampton led 1 – 0.

Second Period: Ottawa was still on the power play for the first 1:24 of the period but again were held scoreless. During the penalty, Brampton’s Luch Aquino picked up a turnover and broke in on Danny. Elgin Reid raced back and with a good defensive effort, forced Luch to shoot wide. It was one of the better second periods that Ottawa has played in a long time (on home ice anyway). They had a ton of great scoring chances! But they were either just a step behind or ahead, or someone couldn’t get his stick on it or Machesney stopped the puck. Danny also had a bit of luck. To the folks sitting around us, it sure looked like a goal but the refs didn’t signal one and the Battalion didn’t protest so the cross-bar got the big save. At the end of the second period, Ottawa was 0/7 on the power play and the total shots on goal were 25 – 17 for Ottawa. Both goalies were doing a really good job of keeping this game close.

Third Period: Ottawa started this period with a 2-man advantage for 19 seconds but yet again, they could not get past the goalie. Finally, with Brampton’s Phil Oreskovic in the penalty box for a roughing penalty (which also earned him an additional 10 minute misconduct when he expressed his opinion on the call) Logan Couture fired a wrist shot that Machesney could not handle and Ottawa tied the game. Chris Hulit and Joe Grimaldi got the assists. At the half-way mark of the game, Brampton’s Jason Cassidy earned himself a time-out for goalie interference but Danny was assessed a penalty for roughing call when he retaliated. That’s two penalties in the same game for the goalie. Don’t think I’ve seen that before. Voyta earned his third penalty for the night with an interference call. Neither of the teams could do anything more with their man advantages. At the end of regular time, the score was tied at one, Brampton was 0/8 on the power play, Ottawa was 1/8 and the final shots on goal were 37 – 24 for Ottawa.

Overtime: One would think that the refs could let the boys play 4-on-4 without getting in the way. For all the stuff they missed during regular time you think they would not get too hyped up in overtime. But noooo. Not these guys. The overtime play was really exciting and moving fast when one of the zebras figured he hadn’t filled his quota for the night and called a marginal penalty against Alphonso. Our boys were continuing to do a good job on the kill but they could not hold off the winning goal that came from Luch Aquino at 2:25. Game over!

Final score: 1 – 2 for Brampton and final shots on goal were 27 – 25.

Thoughts: You may recall an earlier blog when I mentioned that a loss in a well-played game wouldn’t be all that bad. Well I lied! This was a lousy way to end the game. I have no gripes with the team. It’s with the ref. There was no need to get in the way. The boys should have been allowed to settle this on the ice with even teams.

This really was a fun game to watch. There was some great hustle, great scoring chances, and super defensive plays. Danny appeared to have some attitude tonight as well. The loss must have been especially disappointing as he did not come out for the second star skate. He hasn't done that before and is uncharactaristcally unsportsmanlike for him so something must be up. It seems to me that Jaimie is playing with a lot more confidence since the prospect game. He didn't get on the score board but it wasn't for the lack of effort. He put himself into lots of scoring chances - it just didn't happen tonight. He also made some nice defensive moves in his own zone. Grimaldi and Liscomb continue to show us why Kilrea yet again made a couple of smart trades. Grimaldi is getting a lot of ice time for a new guy and is playing well.

They could have won this game. If they keep up this caliber of play (or even get better!) they can move up the standings.

Three Stars of the Game:

First Star: Daren Machesney (hot night - 36 saves!)
Second Star: Danny Battochio (also a good night - 23 saves)
Third Star: Wojtek Wolski (assist)

Hardest Working 67: Jaimie McGinn

Ottawa’s next game is on Sunday when they welcome the Plymouth Whalers who will be playing their third game on their eastern road trip. They beat Kingston tonight and play Belleville tomorrow.