January 13, 2007

Battalion over 67s 5 – 2 (again)

The trade deadline was on Wednesday and both teams came into tonight’s game looking a little different from the last time they met (last Sunday). Brampton traded C/L Howie Martin and D Phil Oreskovic to Owen Sound. They didn’t add anyone to their roster in the trade frenzy . For Ottawa’s part, they traded Shea Kewin to Oshawa for a 4th round pick this summer and Jesse Biduke to Kingston for future considerations. They also picked up Mathieu Methot and Adam Courchaine from Barrie for a 3rd round pick this year and an 8th rounder next.

Tracking the discussions on the couple of boards I follow (http://www.ottawa67s.com/bbs/ and http://www.rinkratmag.com/forum/index.php) the consensus is pretty much that Ottawa fans were sorry (some were downright ticked-off) to see Shea go but most realized that it’s a numbers game and that the kid deserved more ice time. Some expressed concern about who will drop the gloves when necessary (an early contender threw his hat in the ring tonight but you’ll have to read on to find out who). Hope Shea does well. Thoughts on Biduke were mixed. In any event, major junior hockey is big business now and these kids are moved around like so much chattel. I hope the overall experience for them is good.

I didn’t catch the Battalion scratches for the game.

Ottawa changes: Gallea and Cimadamore were scratched. Correction - Gallea was sent down (not sure where) and Cimadamore and Ryan were the scratches. In the growing trend of bringing local boys onboard, newly acquired Mathieu Methot dressed and wore jersey number 63. Jakub Vojta and Lukas Flueler were back from their respective national teams for the World Juniors and dressed. Julian Demers who was supposed to be here for just one game was back in the lineup. Brady Morrison was between the pipes.

Lines for tonight:
McGinn, Couture, Lahey
Liscomb Linsday, Bailey,
Methot, Kiriakou, Alphonso
Cowie, Ribeiro, Nesbitt (didn’t see much ice time – maybe one shift or two per period)

Defensive pairings: it actually varied during the game. I only noticed Vojta out there for one shift and from then on Killer played with a short defensive bench so everyone was pretty much paired with everyone else at some point during the game.

Both teams started the game with a quick pace and Ottawa had a number of really good scoring chances. Just 1:30 into the game, it sure looked like Methot had scored his first goal as a 67s when Kiriakou dug the puck out of the corner and got it to Methot right on Brampton goalie Killeen’s doorstep. Methot went upstairs and started celebrating. It was waived off by the referee and when play stopped over a minute later, the review decision was that there was no goal. From the Team 1200’s review of the tape, they thought it hit the underside of the crossbar. But their opinion does not count as far as the official score sheet goes.

Ottawa got its first PP opportunity shortly after that and although they kept up some really good pressure, had some good chances and got three shots on net, they could not bury the puck. It should be noted that neither team was able to change lines during the two-minute span. They musta been some pooped when they finally got to the bench. Not long after fending off the 67s, Brampton got the first goal of the night when Luke Lynes beat Morrison through the 5-hole. At this point shots on goal were 10 – 5 in Ottawa’s favour and Ottawa had held the momentum. I think Brady was caught snoozing.

Ottawa got its second PP chance at 11:03 and couldn’t take advantage of it either. Brampton played a very aggressive PK and forced Ottawa to keep moving the puck. With just 2 minutes to play, Brady made a stellar save on a point-blank shot (didn’t get the jersey number) to keep the 67s in the game. Ottawa then came back and tied it up when Grimaldi fired one in from the point and among the people it bounced off, Jamie McGinn got in the way (in a good way) to have the puck bounce off him and in the net. It looked a little like pinball to me but, pretty or not, it’s still a goal. Couture got the second assist on the goal.

The first period ended in a tie at 1 with SOGs: 17 – 10 for Ottawa.

The second period started without a lot of fanfare. I noticed that McGinn was really throwing his weight around. Actually there seemed to be a fair amount of hitting going on. The only time that I recorded the 4th line out there, Ribeiro was called for high sticking. Ottawa did a great job of killing the penalty and allowed only 1 SOG. At one point McGinn stole the puck to create an offensive threat. On the next PK however (Methot off for hooking), it wasn’t successful. It took Brampton less than 30 seconds to take advantage when Cody Hodgson maneuvered into the slot and beat Morrison through the 5-hole through traffic. It is possible that Brady was screened on the shot. No matter, Brampton was back in the lead. With under 5 minutes left in the period, Jason Bailey was tagged for interference. In the ensuing play, Brampton got called for hooking to even it up and then got tagged again for too many men (boys?) on the ice. Ottawa played the remaining 1:04 in the period with a 2-man advantage but could not score.

After two, it was 2 – 1 Brampton and SOGs were 28 – 18 for Ottawa.

Ottawa started the third period with 27 seconds remaining in the 5-on-3 but couldn’t do anything with it or the dying seconds of the one-man advantage. Ottawa had a fantastic chance but alas the stars were not aligned with our boys. A shot (sorry don’t know who’s) rang off the post and Killeen was able to make a great save on the rebound. A minute later, Grimaldi pinched up on a play but was then caught – allowing Brampton an odd man rush. Luke Lynes scored his second of the evening when he picked off the corner upstairs to beat Brady.

And now the news that you have all been waiting for (drum roll)…who would step up and be the tough guy for Ottawa now that Shea is gone. (cue the dramatic music). Well it’s non-other than that hard working pesky guy – Brett Liscomb!! I have no idea what set it off but about 5 minutes into the period, between the Brampton goal and the boards and behind the play, Brett starts into a shoving match with Tomas Strynci. Now, according to the roster information on these players, Brett checks in at 5’9” and 186 lbs and Tomas checks in at 6’1” and 195 lbs. Christmas impacts on weight aside (only us old farts worry about that stuff) this is one where the Gulliver rule should apply (see a previous blog on this concept). Well they both get into it and I don’t think anyone lands a serious blow, Strynci gets the call for getting Brett to the ice first but Brett gets the call for taking him on in the first place. Moving on…about half way through the period the 67s seem to get new life largely on the effort of Arron Alphonso. This kid worked real hard to make something happen. Finally, 7:40 left on the clock, Jason Bailey makes it a game when he gets one past Killeen on the short side from a sharp angle. Now we got hope!

Ooops – maybe not. Before the arena announcer can announce the official on the goal, Luke Lynes gets his hat trick when he is left all alone and beats Brady – through the 5-hole (again!!). Brampton is back with a 2-goal lead. Brampton ices the game with a power play goal by John Hughes with just over 3 minute left to play and while the 67s try to keep playing hard, it’s just not a happening thing.

The game ends with Brampton beating Ottawa yet again with a score of 5 – 2 despite Ottawa getting 36 shots on goal versus Brampton’s 27.

Three Stars of the game – a Brampton sweep (can’t accuse our guys of being homers):

1. Luke Lynes (hat trick)
2. Patrick Killeen (34 saves and some of them pretty darn good ‘uns)
3. The score sheet says Justin Levac but I’m pretty sure it was Cory Hodgson (goal and 2 assists. Apparently this kid has already been tagged as a possible high pick for the 2008 NHL draft).

Hardest working 67: Jason Bailey

Random Thoughts:

- Alphonso was sporting a new look – Chrome Dome. Does he need to adjust his helmet?
- Ottawa was just a step behind, a second too late, or a bounce away from making some really great plays. It was like their connective tissue disconnected.
- I think I know why so many hockey players also play golf. The swing on a slap shot looks the same as for golf. From the number of fanned shots tonight, if it were a golf game it would have been a whole lotta mulligans or at least thin shots. Indoor golf school boys – I go to the Kevin Haime school at the OAC. Their pros are very good.
- Despite the occasional brain cramp I gotta say I like Grimaldi on the point. But he drives me nuts on the attempt at a breakout. With all his fussing around, the other team has enough time to go to the bench to get a drink of water and discuss their defensive strategy. Oh for the days when Mark Mancari would come streaking at full speed carrying the puck from behind his own net.
- Apologies to Jason Bailey for getting his name wrong last weekend.
- Welcome to Mathieu Methot.
- Best line tonight in my opinion was the second line – lots of hard work.
- Top line seemed to have its issues – Lahey was assessed a timeout by the coach.
- McGinn was hitting pretty much anything that was moving and some stuff that wasn’t.
- Vojta who?
- Brampton played a strong defensive game and their goalie was hot.
- Was not Brady’s best night out. But who do we have in reserve? Flueler will need a chance to show his stuff but it’s scary (what’s with Swiss goalies this year? Was there some sort of national plebiscite regarding goalie performance that we missed?).

Saturday January 13th is Hockey Day in Canada. Hope you are planning something to celebrate our national pastime (and occasional obsession). For our part, we are going to the Senators – Habs game. It should be a doozy - Montreal bouncing back from the flu and Ottawa seemingly getting into its new identity as a team that can grind out wins without its star centres (ya ya I know about the game against NYR – a blip).

Let's send our boys positive thoughts - their weekend only gets tougher. They play Owen Sound tomorrow where former co-captain Elgin Reed went (didn't dress on Thursday - will be interesting to see his ice time with the new additions to the team) and Kitchener on Sunday where some of the players will see their former team mate Peter Tsimikalis and former Petes foe Steve Downie.

Go 67s Go!

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