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October 29, 2006

Soo Long and Thanks for the 1,100th Win for Kilrea!

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A 4 – 1 win today over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds nets Brian Kilrea his 1,100th career win – the most in junior hockey!! Now that’s a career!! Congratulations Coach and congratulations team. It was a good win. The coaching staff from the Greyhounds crossed the ice at the end of the game to offer their congratulations – nice touch. Elgin Reid handed Coach the puck as he and his team mates congratulated him. In this business, you gotta be doing something right to hit such a milestone.

According to Google Maps, it’s about 13 1/2 hours from Ottawa to Sault Ste. Marie (SSM). Even with a win, that’s a long way to go. Having lost their last two on the road, I think that must be the longest road trip in the league.

Ottawa scratches for the game: Couture, Ribeiro, Daley, Beard and Kiriakou. Didn’t get the official report on Kiriakou but he was pretty sore from a blocked shot on Friday late in the second period. He played the third period but it looked like it still hurt so my guess is that it was still pretty sore and/or he couldn’t get his skate on. The Greyhounds were without Payton Liske, Brett Halstead and Jacob Lalonde. Matt Hasche started in goal.

SSM has played two more games than Ottawa and sits in 7th place in the west coming into this afternoon’s game with a record of 7 wins, 6 losses and 2 shoot-out losses. Ottawa is in 9th place in the east with a record of 5 wins and 8 losses.

Their top 3 scorers are Dustin Jeffery (24 points), Cody Thornton (18) and Josh Godfrey (15). Their big sinners are Brad Good (who must be a tad bad) with 37 PIMS, Brandon Biggers (32) and Tyler Cuthbert (32).

For Ottawa, our top three guns, relatively speaking, are Jamie McGinn (14), Jesse Biduke (12) and Arron Alphonso (11). On the sin-bin side we have Joe Grimaldi (35), Jakub Vojta (24) and Elgin Reid (19).

Lines for tonight:
Lahey, Liscomb, McGinn
Alphonso, Kewin, Biduke
Pleckaitis, Jukosky, Gallea
Nesbitt, Lindsay, and cameo appearances by other forwards – sometimes McGinn, sometimes Biduke, sometimes ??

Defensive pairings:
Gimaldi – Joslin
Cuma – Reid
Ryan - Vojta

This was certainly one of the better games played by Ottawa. And it was certainly a blue-collar type game to me. Nothing fancy, lots of penalties handed out (23), lots of hard work, good hits, some fast up and down the ice, good saves and a fight (more on that later).

The first period was dominated by penalties (7 handed out – 3 to Ottawa and 4 to SSM) so the specialty teams were spending most of the time on the ice (PK and PP units). The defensive play seriously limited the scoring opportunities on both sides; shots on goal at the end of the period were 6 – 7 for Ottawa. Ottawa finally drew first blood at about the halfway mark while on a 5-on-three powerplay. Joe Grimaldi notched his first of the season I believe with a shot from the left face-off circle that went in high and hit the back cross-bar for the score. Joslin and Liscomb got the assists. They were unable to score on the back half of that penalty pairing. The period ended with Ottawa ahead with the lone goal.

Ottawa started the second period with a brief powerplay but were unable to convert. The Soo did a pretty good job of keeping Ottawa to the outside to really reduce the dangerous shots on goal. Jamie McGinn had a breakaway early in the period but was unable to get around the defender. Then the Soo had a great breakaway (didn’t get the number) but Morrison made a great save! The Soo had a 31 second 5-on-3 opportunity and Cuma got the vote of confidence to be part of the defensive squad (with Grimaldi and Liscomb). They did what they were supposed to do and killed the penalty. Another penalty riddled period with 4 each side. When Shea Kewin was doing a time-out for boarding a Soo player, the team displayed some really excellent second effort to kill the penalty. Among the efforts was Kyle Jukosky getting the puck into the Soo defensive zone and keeping it on the boards to kill time in the penalty. The 67s finally scored on a powerplay with 33 seconds left in the period when Shea Kewin was left all alone in front of the Soo goalie where he buried the puck behind Hache. Biduke and Alphonso got assists. The period ended with Ottawa up by two, a goal late in the period and shots on goal even at 14.

Nothing like carrying on from where you left off. A great individual effort by Aaron Alphonso (is this the same guy from last year?!) resulted in an odd, yet perfectly countable goal. Aaron managed to muscle around Michel Quesnele and although he actually fanned on the puck, it slid under the pads of Matt Hache to put Ottawa up by 3 just 32 seconds into the third frame. That’s one that Hache would dearly love to have back. Then, about a minute and a half into the game, Matt Lahey droped the gloves to have a go at Tyler Cuthbert. None of us could figure out what that was all about but Matt certainly held his own and got the take-down. Both were sent off to consider the consequences of their actions. Cuthbert left the ice temporarily (presumably for repairs). The speed really picked up and there were tons of turn-overs on both sides.

Again, we saw some terrific second efforts from the Ottawa squad on the penalty kills. Morrison made a couple of great saves, smothering the puck and not allowing the rebound, Liscomb making a stretch that is rather remarkable for someone his size to poke the puck across the blue line. All the stuff you really like to see – like they really cared about the play around them. To the Greyhound’s credit, they did a remarkable job keeping play to the outside and reducing good scoring chances. Killer gave his 16 year olds a lot of ice time and they used it wisely. Morrison’s potential shutout was lost with just 2:12 left in the game when the Soo finally scored on the power play when Jacob Muzzin scored one from the point. The Greyhounds tried to make a game of it and pulled their goalie late in the period but the Soo could not contain the 67s. Shea Kewin got an empty netter with 47 seconds left to play. It wasn’t announced by Alphonso got credited with the assist on the official score sheet. Final shots on goal: 26 - 22 for Ottawa.

So the team put in a really good effort tonight. Certainly no one to criticize. Everyone worked hard. You sure do have to like what we have in the young guys. Cuma is really showing what a good defenseman he is and what he could be in the future. Great draft!! Killer is showing his confidence in these kids with the ice time they are getting and the situations he is putting them in (PK/PP). I am really looking forward to the day we have a full, healthy squad.

Three stars of the game:

1. Brady Morrison (21 saves on 22 shots)
2. Aaron Alphonso (goal and two assists)
3. Jacob Muzzin (SSM 1 goal)

Hardest working 67: Shea Kewin

Have a fun and safe Halloween everyone!

October 27, 2006

Bulled-over!

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This was the second game of a home and home series with Belleville having won the first one on home ice on Wednesday with a score of 4 – 3. The boys are trying to get Killer his 1100th win as a coach but weren’t able to do it on the road.

Ottawa scratches for the game: Couture, Ribeiro, Liscomb (injured from a slash in Wednesday’s game), Daley (?) and Beard (shoulder). The good news is that Couture and Ribeiro have started skating with the team again and should be playing by next weekend. Belleville was missing Andrew Self (serving a 2 game suspension), Erik Caladi and Kevin Lalande.

Belleville was in second place in the conference coming into this game having won 6 or their last 10 games. Ottawa stood at 8th place with an even split of their last 10.

I kinda lost track of the third and fourth lines but the first two were:
Biduke – Kiriakou – Alphonso
Lahey – Kewin – McGinn
And did my eyes deceive me? Did I see Jamie McGinn playing defense on the fourth line a couple of times? Or did he just get caught out there? That, or I have to get these old eyes rechecked.

I’m gonna apologize right now for the low quality of this blog. I’m just not inspired to write tonight. Not from the game – I actually enjoyed the game (except for the losing part) - just sorta pooped. In addition to having a fairly time consuming job, we were at the Sens game last night (woo hoo! lovin' every minute of it. Gonna claim my pizza tomorrow!)

We have a difference of opinion in our household on the game tonight. I thought that for much of the game, especially in the first period (which ended in a no-score tie) Ottawa played really well – taking the game to Belleville. After the first 6 minutes of play, Ottawa was ahead on shots on goal 8 – 2. They worked the boards hard, came up with the puck often and created opportunities. But they did have the odd defensive brain cramp that Belleville was only too happy to pounce on. Belleville has been picked by Hockey News to take the O this year (to the extent that it is a trade rag to be taken seriously). So it would be expected that they should be reasonably good. And Ottawa played without a few key players so all in all, I thought it was a good effort. The spousal unit, however, thought that the 67s were outplayed from the get-go.

The first period saw 7 penalties (3 for Ottawa and 4 for Belleville) but neither team could convert. Actually, Ottawa got itself into a bit of a penalty hole, very briefly in a 5-on-3 situation but the managed to get out very nicely.

The second period saw the most scoring for the night with Belleville getting on the board first early in the period when Subban took a pass from the corner and got a one-timer from the slot past Flueler. This was quickly followed up with another Belleville goal when Ottawa was caught on a 4-on-2 play. A nice 3-way passing play left Flueler wide open and they scored the second goal.

Then the gal next to me, Jessie, put her Battochio jersey on and the tide turned (if ever so briefly). Jessie Biduke was driving for the net and was in the very right spot at the very right moment to pick up a rebound from Alphonso’s blistering shot on Murphy (the Belleville starting goalie). Biduke sent it upstairs for Ottawa’s first goal. Kiriakou got the other assist on that goal. Then, only 11 seconds later, it was Alphonso again setting up Kiriakou this time who buried it past Murphy to tie it up! Biduke got the assist on that one. Now we’re cookin’! Or so we think. Belleville responds on the powerplay with Voyta off for the second time in the evening. Ottawa stopped minding the front of the net and Matt Beleskey was left all alone to accept a nice pass from behind the net and snap it past Lukas. He didn’t stand a chance. And then Belleville repeated that trick with about 2 and a half minutes left in the frame but this time it was Tyler Donati parked all alone in front of poor Lukas. On the up side, there were some great plays by 67s players. Tyler Cuma played hard, and Elgin Reid had some great defensive recoveries to break up scoring chances by Belleville.

The third period started with Belleville up by two and having scored relatively late in the previous frame. Also, Kiriakou went down hard on a blocked shot late in the period while killing a penalty. He looked like he was in a lot of pain but when they didn’t take him directly to the dressing room (only a couple of minute left in the second period) I was reassured that it probably stung really badly but wasn’t fatal. Anyhoo, it seemed like Ottawa lost some of its steam, especially when Belleville scored its fifth goal. Alphonso was off for tripping early in the period and John Hughes was able to convert the man advantage. Jesse removed her jersey at this point (no longer being a lucky charm obviously). But just over the halfway mark, Ottawa decided that they might make a game of it and started applying some pressure. Jesse Biduke scored his second of the night at the end of a very odd shift where everything that both teams did looked entirely broken. But a goal it was and rookies Cody Lindsay and Thomas Nesbitt helped. Then, with 1:15 left in the game, Matt Lahey got Ottawa within 1. McGinn and Kewin assisted. Despite Ottawa’s efforts, they were unable to get the play into the Belleville zone for what seemed like an eternity. They were finally able to pull Flueler but it was too late.

So the game ended with Belleville winning 5 – 4. Final shots on goal were 31 to 32 in Belleville’s favour.

I thought that Reid had a pretty good game, making some really good defensive plays to break up scoring chances of Belleville. Gotta love Cuma! Gotta wonder about Grimaldi (-3 for the night). Joslin also got a -3 for the night but I think that had more to do with the unfortunate pairing with Joe. Ottawa spread its 6 penalties across the three periods while Belleville managed to avoid the attention of the ref after the first period (no penalties in the second or third). Hmmm.

Three stars of the game:

Tyler Donati (Belleville goal and 2 assists)
Jesse Biduke (2 goals and an assist)
Matt Beleskey (Belleville goal and 2 assists)

Hardest working 67: Thomas Kiriakou

G’night. See you Sunday.

October 21, 2006

A Different Crazy 8

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8 goals from 7 different players. Now that’s production!

Ottawa scratches for the game: Couture (sick), Ribeiro (sick), Alphonso (precautionary) and Gallea (healthy). New guy Kyle Jukosky played (wearing number 10). Kingston scratches were Kevin Mole, Nathan Moon, Luke Pither and Kevin Opsahl. Opsahl is one of Kingston’s goalies and today they started Jason Guy.

I kinda lost track of the lines but they were something along the lines of (no pun intended):

Liscomb, Kiriakou and Daley
McGinn, Kewin and Lahey
Ryan, Biduke and Nesbitt
Jukosky, Pleckaitis, and Lindsay

Although I noted other variations on these themes throughout the game. It’s safe to say that all the skaters got decent ice time.

Defensive pairings were: Reid-Cuma; Joslin-Grimaldi; Beard-Voyta

Morrison played in net and stayed the whole game.

The first period was pretty energetic by both team but also pretty sloppy. Kingston drew first blood just over 1 minute into the period on an odd-man rush. It was initially broken up but Bobby Hughes still managed to put it over Morrison’s shoulder for his 8th goal of the season. A minute and a half later Ottawa squared it up on the power play when Thomas Kiriakou got it past Jason Guy. Elgin Reid and Brett Liscomb got the assists. Then just past the halfway mark, Ottawa went ahead on another power play goal this time from Jamie McGinn with assists from Joslin and Lahey. There was a delayed penalty against Kingston so the previous penalty to Wallingford was retired but Bobby Hughes, the Caroline Hurricanes prospect, got nabbed for holding so Ottawa was back on the power play. About 30 seconds into the PP Kingston’s Micheal Kolarz scored a short handed goal. (Arrg!!) Morrison stopped the initial shot but was beat on the rebound. Ottawa kinda lost their stride and organization after the goal and were unable to covert on the remaining pp. Kinston went ahead with just over 4 minutes to go when Peder Skinner took a nice pass across the crease to beat Brady. At the end of the first period it was 2 – 3 for Kingston with shots on goal 14 – 12 in Ottawa’s favour. Neither of the two goalies looked too confident or solid in this frame.

Joining us in our section tonight was a visitor from Mexico – Jorge (pronounced horhay). He had never been to a hockey game before. His host (the guy who sits next to me) explained the basics and then Jorge watched. I asked him for his impressions and he said it was pretty fun and the guys looked pretty strong. We sit close to the ice so you get a decent feel for the speed and the hits.

Both teams had scoring chances very early in the period but somehow the guys were fanning on the pucks all the time. The official score sheet is missing this goal but Kyle Jukosky tied the game up when Jesse Biduke fired one on Guy and Sean Ryan was able to feed the rebound to Kyle for his first goal as a 67. I believe this puts him halfway to meeting his production for last year. This is good. Cody Lindsay then put Ottawa ahead with first OHL with assists from Pleckaitis and Reid. This seemed to put Kingston on their heels and their quality of play deteriorated. Ottawa went up by two 4 minute later when Jakub Voyta found the back of the net with a bullet from the point. Lindsay and Nesbitt got the assists. Then Kingston got into a bit of penalty trouble, especially for Justin Wallingford who earned his second and third penalties of the night when he tried to rough up McGinn. He was called for slashing and checking to the head and had to cool his heels for 4 minutes. As Adam Nemeth was already off for interference Ottawa had a 31 second 5 on 3 advantage that they couldn’t convert. Ottawa then went up by three when Joe Pleckaitis scored his first goal with the 67s and Ottawa’s fourth unanswered goal on the power play with 1:45 to go in the period on a nice set up by Gimaldi off a rebounding shot from Biduke. He quickly scooped up the puck. The period ended with Ottawa up by three (6 – 3) and well ahead of Kingston for shots on goal (27 – 17).

The score sheet has a few errors that need to be corrected. According to my notes, Ottawa started the third period on the penalty kill. I think Nesbitt was serving time for an offense committed late it the 2nd period. Ottawa was playing sloppy – perhaps a tad overconfident with a 3-goal lead. A Kingston player was able to walk right into Morrison. Luckily Brady was able to make the short side save. They got away briefly with poor defensive play but Kingston was able to score a minute and a half into the period. The goal light didn’t come on and the ref didn’t call it but on review it was quickly confirmed. This seemed to get the 67s back into the game. There were lots of scoring chances by both teams but the puck got into the skates of the players or it was fanned by the player or the players got in too deep to make the goal. Elgin Reid had a really nice unassisted goal to restore the 3-goal lead with a nifty backhand over Guy’s shoulder from the slot. Finally, McGinn iced the cake with a short handed empty netter with just over a minute left to play. Grimaldi was off for getting too affectionate and Kingston pulled their goalie. McGinn missed the first chance but Kiriakou helped him out to get the goal.

Final score: 8 – 4 for Ottawa with SOG of 43 – 29 for Ottawa.

Ottawa held Kingston off the score sheet on 7 power plays and finally got off the schneid with their own power play – scoring three power play goals. It was disappointing to have ANOTHER short handed goal scored against them but at least it didn’t cost them the game nor did it seem to set them off their game. The new guy isn’t big but he’s fast and punches above his weight class. Killer gave him a ton of ice time for his first game and had him out on PKs and PPs. He seemed to win his fair share of face offs and throw his weight around. A good addition to the team. As usual, the new kids did a grand job out there. All in all the team put in a fine effort with good results and that’s without Couture, Alphonso and Ribeiro. Imagine when the team is healthy and at full strength. Can hardly wait.

Three stars of the game:

Cody Lindsay
Joe Pleckaitis
Elgin Reid

Hardest working 67: Thomas Kiriakou (although there were many to choose from)

Well done team – now on to Barrie and Oshawa! Have a great road trip.

October 16, 2006

Wasn’t Much of a Storm After All

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Now this was a good game. But to be fair, Guelph was playing their third game on the road having beaten Kingston on Friday, lost to Belleville on Saturday evening and now playing Sunday afternoon in Ottawa. That’s got to be tiring. But that’s how the schedule unfolds.

Ottawa scratches for the game: Couture, Ribeiro, and Ryan. For Guelph, I only noted on scratch – Anthony Nigro.

Other items of note – Lukas Flueler’s parents were in town from Switzerland to see their boy play. Gotta wonder what they think of Major Junior hockey in Canada. Imagine sending your young lad across the pond to a strange land to be cared for by strangers in the name of hockey. I have to think that it’s a scary prospect for parents.

Coming into the game Ottawa had the second stingiest penalty kill at home in the league while Guelph had the 11th best road power play. Guelph has also played 3 more games than Ottawa.

The Ottawa lines were basically:

McGinn, Kewin, and Lahey
Alphonso, Liscomb and Daley
Nesbitt, Lindsay, and Biduke
Gallea, Kiriakou, and Pleckaitis

I didn’t note all the defensive pairings (sorry).

Ottawa started like they meant business. Flueler stopped his first shot on goal (always a good thing). Then they got down to business. Before the first minute of play was up, new acquisition Jesse Biduke picked up a juicy rebound off Cuma’s shot and put Ottawa on the board at :54 into the period. Liscomb got the assist (noted much later in the game but not recorded on the score sheet). Just to put an exclamation point on it, 16 seconds later, rookie Thomas Nesbitt got credit for a goal that bounced in off his skate in the crease. Biduke and Lindsay got assists on that one. So, at 1:11 into the game, Ottawa was already up by two. And the home fans are some happy!

The boys did not sit back on this early success at all. They kept driving the net, getting the big jumps and winning face-offs. Some great scoring chances too! One of them was a great steal by Pat Daley who centred it out of the corner to Alphonso. The Guelph goalie, Jason Guy had to make a good save on that one.

At our end, the puck-luck was with us. There was a tremendous scramble in front of our net. We sit down low to the ice closer to the visitors’ defending net in the first and third periods so it’s hard to see what exactly is happening in front of our net in the first and third periods but it sure looked like pandemonium for this flurry of activity. Somehow Lukas and the team managed to keep Guelph from scoring.

At the 14:17 mark of the period, Brett Liscomb put Ottawa up by three with a beautiful display of patience and finesse. He had the puck breaking in on the goalie and slowed down enough to make Guy commit then he nicely backhanded it from the slot. Nice! Alphonso and Reid got the assists.

It was the best 20 minutes of play from our team that I’ve seen in a long time. Feet were moving, passes were crisp, ice-sense of each other seemed good and they were aggressive. It was great to watch!

After 20 the shots on goal were 16 – 8 for Ottawa.

I took fewer notes from here on in as it was just so much fun to watch. My memory is crappy without notes so my apologies if the following is not too detailed.

I did note that, while not rolling 4 lines all the time in sequence, all 4 lines did get ice time. Guelph started to pick up their game a tad and managed to match Ottawa’s shots on goal but it seemed to me that the Ottawa defenders were doing a pretty good job of forcing the Guelph attackers to the outside and leaving them with pretty lousy shots that Lukas could easily stop. He gave out some juicy rebounds (gotta work on that) but they seemed to land on the sticks of Ottawa players more often than not (that puck-luck thing). The referee seemed to let up on his calls against Guelph perhaps in the interest of making a game of it. Alphonso got a really bad elbow in the chops right in front of us and not all that far from the ref who seemed to miss the event entirely. This, of course, encouraged me and others to remind the ref that the game is actually at least 60 minutes and he should call the entire game or buy a ticket to watch what he won’t call. The ref seemed particularly indifferent to what the Guelph players were doing with their elbows but perhaps that’s a homer’s view.

Anyways, at 5:31 into the period, Aaron Alphonso, that guy who’s coming out of nowhere this year to floor us with his play, makes it 4 – 0 when he followed his own rebound to get it past the Guelph goalie. Reid and Liscomb get the assists. At the very end of the period, Jamie McGinn gave a Guelph player a gentle nudge in the chops with his elbow. It all looked rather friendly among the guys sorta thing but the ref thought otherwise (despite having missed all sorts of blatant shots earlier in the period). Up went the arm. Guelph’s Leigh Salters (second in PIMS for Guelph) thought it wasn’t so friendly and got right into Jamie’s face about it (had to crouch a bit for it but was in Jamie’s face none the less). Jamie didn’t back down an inch and was almost itching for Salters to drop the gloves. Salters didn’t bite and was finally pulled away by his sweater. I’d give it to Jamie for the stare-down and attitude. He grinned through the whole thing. Couldn't make out what he was saying but I'm pretty sure it wasn't about the weather.

The second period ended with Ottawa still leading shots on goal 25 – 20.

The third period wasn’t the best for Ottawa for discipline. They had to kill McGinn’s penalty and then Joe Gimaldi got three of the four penalties in the third with the fourth being a bench minor for too many men on the ice. At about the halfway mark with Joe off for two two minute minors (cross checking and roughing), Guelph pulled their goalie for the sixth man! Ottawa got possession and was setting up for a goal (Alphonso I believe) when Guelph’s little Rotter (yes that’s the player’s name) broke up the chance. There was a lot of scrambling in Guelph’s zone as the goalie could not get back on the ice.

Having stumped Guelph’s powerplay 7 times, Guelph finally beat Lukas late in the third period. Oh well. For the record, Grimaldi didn’t make it back on the ice. On a funnier note, two Guelph players checked each other in the Guelph defensive zone. It really wasn’t a good day for the Storm.

So, the boys finally put together a great game that was really entertaining at home. Lots to feel good about. On a down note, Alphonso seemed to hurt his wrist – perhaps a break which will be really bad for the team as they really need his energy and fire power.

Points came today from the 2nd and 3rd lines. Kiriakou played a lot on the penalty kill – he does really well on the face-off. And our new additions, rookies and Jesse, are doing really well. Gonna be an exciting couple of years.

Final Score: 4 -1 Ottawa with shots on goal 34-35 for Guelph.

Three stars of the game:

Aaron Alphonso (goal and assist)
Lukas Flueler (34 saves and first OHL win)
Jesse Biduke (goal and assist)

Hardest working 67: Brett Liscomb

Ciao folks!

October 15, 2006

Friday the 13th and Bad Spirits

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Well, that depends which team you’re cheering for. Hi all. Sorry for being late. This will be quick.

Well, Friday was the first home game this year for me – I missed the first two while I was out west for the weekend. I didn’t have a chance to get into game mode for this one but my understanding is that Saginaw is picked by Hockey News to win the west.

Just before game time we heard that Logan Couture would be out for at least 3 – 4 weeks with mono. Ribeiro is still getting over it. Guys – stop sharing whatever it is that you’re sharing. That stuff is contagious and nasty! Poor Logan is having a rough year in his draft year. Also scratched was Sean Ryan who is still out with an injured shoulder.

Saginaw showed why they are a top pick. They skated fast, passed well and made it hard for the 67s to get organized. The Spirit opened their scoring when Jan Murzak was got one through the legs of Brady Morrison on an odd man rush. Then, in the last minute of play, down two men, Saginaw’s Tom Pyatt got past Elgin Reid, skated in on Morrison and scored a 2-man short handed goal to make it 2-0 by the end of the first period. A lot of penalties were called in the first – 6 for each team but neither team could convert the advantage (unless you count Saginaw converting on 2-men down – sheesh). On the up side, Jamie McGinn was working hard and hitting everyone in sight. Ottawa had a couple of good chances but generally it seemed that they couldn’t organize and their communication was off. Shots at the end of the first 7 – 11 for Saginaw.

Ottawa started the second period with still time left on the 5 on 3 powerplay but they only managed 3 shots on goal. Before the three minute mark was reached, Tyler Haskins was allowed to walk in from the wall unaccosted and flip a backhand over Morrison’s shoulder. I don’t think Brady even saw it coming. That made it 3 – 0. Our defense was playing pretty lousy and Saginaw was having their way with them. At the 5:49 mark, Saginaw made it 4 – 0 when Jack Combs beat Brady. This was not looking good. Shea Kewin finally got Ottawa on the score board on a power play just over halfway through when he caught his own rebound and finally got one past Daniels. Grimaldi and Joslin assisted on the goal. Saginaw came back and restored their 3-goal lead two minutes later when Tomas Zaborsky bounced one in off Cuma. At the 16:31 mark, Jan Murzak of Saginaw laid a mean hit from behind on Liscomb near the boards. Brett was down for a while and I must say I was worried. He finally got up with the help of the trainer and kind of wobbled over to the bench. We didn’t see him for the rest of the period. In the ensuing powerplay, it was Kewin again on the powerplay getting a garbage goal – but a goal none the less. Assists went to Joslin and Lahey. I got my hat-trick hat ready for the third goal. Brady made a number of good saves but the team was not playing all that well in front of him. Shots on goal after two – 19 – 24 for Saginaw with the score 2 – 5 for Saginaw.

Lukas Flueler started in goal for the third period and Brett Liscomb was back – with a vengeance. Saginaw was showing some discipline breakdown as Matt Corrente was trying to go after Alphonso for some offense – real or imagined. This distraction allowed Brett to pick up the puck in Saginaw’s zone and get it past Daniels from the slot. Biduke got the assist on that one. And that’s all there would be for scoring for the game. Ottawa had a couple of good chances but they just could not bury them. They were simply outskilled by Saginaw. Flueler had a good period stopping all 8 shots that he faced – a couple of them big saves. The final shots on goal were 33 – 32 but the stats that count – 3 – 5 for Saginaw.

Three stars of the game:

Tim Pyatt (Saginaw goal and an assist)
Shea Kewin (Ottawa – 2 goals)
Tomas Zaborsky (Saginaw goal and an assist)

Hardest working 67: Jamie McGinn - no rgument there.

Cid took a bunch of really good pictures and I'm sure they will be posted as soon as time permits.

Fear of Friday the 13th: paraskavedekatriaphobia (from the Greek παρασκευοδεκατριοφοβία)

Boo!

October 04, 2006

Stephen Colbert just mentioned Jamie McGinn!

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I was just watching the Colbert Report and apparently Saginaw named their eagle mascot after Colbert's eagle -- The Colbeagle :D

Colbert was wearing a Saginaw jersey, he showed clips of the mascot's debut, and he talked about the upcoming game against Ottawa ... where he mentioned Jamie McGinn by name ... How cool is that?!

LOL

Hopefully Youtube will have a clip, but for now here's an older clip of Colbert's original request to name Saginaw's eagle mascot ... [link]

October 02, 2006

67s Bounce Back, 4-1 over Kingston

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Sunday, October 1, 2006

The 67s looked much better on Sunday, beating Canada's second best junior team, the Kingston Frontenacs, 4-1. The Ottawa defence really stepped up, limiting the big line of Hughes, Emmerton and Stewart to only one goal at the end of a 5-on-3 PP. Emmerton was awarded the OHL Player of the Week for scoring 4 goals and 4 assists last week, including 2 goals and 3 assists in a game against Ottawa. Yesterday, Kingston's top line looked like they couldn't find each other with the passes. Right off the start of the game, they tried some passes to each other that didn't really connect, ending up with an icing call which led to the first Ottawa goal. The 'fronts looked like the were too high on themselves and didn't really feel like showing up. Stewart's got a ton of speed but he wasn't getting support from his linemates.

Ottawa's defence did a better job of taking away space from the rushing forwards and not backing off. And, when the opposition has one big scoring line, it makes sense to put your best two defencemen together to shut them down, which Joslin and Grimaldi did, handily. The defence also seemed to jump up into the play a lot -- guys like Grimaldi, Reid, even Vojta! They can do that because there are a lot of defensively-minded forwards that would go back to cover the back end -- guys like Couture, Kiriakou, McGinn. Communication looked better between the players.

Brady Morrison played great in net, well deserving of the 1st star honour. The Fronts seem to like to load up guys in front of Morrison and then try to get the shot through the traffic. I don't know how he saw some of those, but Morrison was there to make the save. Even if he didn't see it or it got tipped, he was in good position to stop the puck. He looked like a starting goaltender. It reminded me of the exhibition game I saw him play the second half of in Kingston a couple of weeks ago.


Kiriakou had a good game, digging the puck out of the corner with a fancy spin move and then feeding Vojta in front of the net on the second Ottawa goal (what the heck was Vojta doing in front of the net?) and then in the second period taking the feed from Alphonso and sliding it over for Biduke, who snuck it in the top corner behind Borden (how did Biduke find any room up there?). Kiriakou missed a penalty shot in the first period.


McGinn had two goals. He got the first one 19 seconds in when he poked the puck through the goalie's legs. His second was on the PP when he tipped a Joslin point shot. I was hoping for a 'trick. The crazy 8 line all looked good. Other guys that played well: Daley, Pleckaitis, Cuma, Alphonso, all the defencemen. . .basically it was a great team effort. Reid took on Stevens, who is 4 inches taller and 30 pounds heavier. Reid got thrown around a bit, but definitely got in more punches. Stevens was bloodied, Reid was unscathed.


There's a good quote from McGinn in the Ottawa Sun: "It's a little more relaxing in the (dressing) room now," McGinn said. "We were starting to get nervous before the games. We wanted to make sure we came out hard right from the get-go and it's good we got a goal right off the bat." More on the relief in the Ottawa dressing room here : Morrison out in Front. Another article on the game in the Kingston Whig Standard.

One complaint I have -- the music during stoppages in play was way too loud. I have no problem with the song selections, but this wasn't a rock concert. Louder is not necessarily better. If you want to complain, you can email the 67s using the feedback form on the 67s website at www.ottawa67s.com. It's a brand new site. Very professional, if a little busy. Another complaint I have is that there's a new 67s bulletin board that you have to register for, even to just read what others have posted. You can't just lurk anonymously anymore. I never do those "free registrations". If it's free, then why do I have to register? That's why I use www.bugmenot.com to bypass the "free registrations" on newspaper sites. The 67s bulletin board is dead to me now.