February 10, 2007

4 Straight Goals to a 5 – 4 Win Over Barrie!

The Barrie Colts are the first and only team in the Eastern Conference to have clinched the playoffs coming into tonight’s game with 75 points in 52 games. They were riding a two-game winning streak with a 4 -1 win over the Peterborough Petes last weekend and a revenge win over Sudbury last night 8 – 2 (after Sudbury shutting them out on February 2). Maybe they didn’t have as much left in the tank after that one.

This was the third of four scheduled meetings between these two teams this year; Barrie took the first game in October 3 – 1 and Ottawa did a pretty good job in January beating Barrie 6 – 2.

Barrie Colts player notes: scratches Brian Lashoff, Alex Hutchings, Matthew Bragg, Ryan Gottschalk, Cory Gilles and Thomas Battani. Andrew Perugini started in goal. The Colts have 4 NHL prospects on their team: Euro and rookie Tomas Marcinko (NYI 4th round pick in 2006), Bryan Little (ATL 2006 first round pick), Richard Clune (DAL 2005 3rd round pick), and Mike Weber (BUF 2006 second round pick). Former 67s Joe Pleckaitis was dressed for the game (wearing number 93). There must be some sort of preference with players with very long names. There are more than a few who haven’t grown the shoulders to carry all the letters (unless the font is much smaller).

Ottawa player notes: scratches Julian Cimadamore and Sean Ryan. Brady Morrison got the start tonight. Just to remind Ottawa fans, our NHL prospects are: Jakub Vojta (CAR 2005 4th round pick), Derek Joslin (SJS 5th round pick in 2005 and signed last December), and Jamie McGinn (SJS 2nd round pick in 2006).

Lines for tonight:
McGinn, Couture, Lahey/Alphonso after the first
Liscomb, Methot, Bailey
Cowie, Kiriakou, Alphonso/Lahey after the first
Ribeiro, Kiriakou, Nesbitt

Defensive pairings: kinda lost track but I think it was mostly Joslin-Vojta, Grimaldi – Beard, Cuma – Demers but don’t quote me on it.

Well the first period was certainly interesting. Before we were a minute into the game, Barrie Colt Michael Lombardi was called for checking perennial not-so-big-but-in-your-face-anyway-guy Brett Liscomb from behind. Ottawa managed to get 3 shots on goal and a denied goal just at the end of the penalty. I forgot my radio (sigh!) so I didn’t get the benefit of the guys upstairs but here’s how it looked from our perspective: scramble in front of the net, puck pops up, Liscomb grabs it and throws it to the ice, can’t see what happens next but an Ottawa player pokes it past the Barrie goalie. The ref waved it off and did not go for a review. We think the call is that he put the puck in the net with his hand but at the very worst, it might have been considered a glove pass. It would have been nice to see the review to see if Brett had actually touched it with his stick before the other player potted it. Anyway, pretty good pressure early in the game with the threat of a very early goal. Not a bad start to the evening.

How quickly the tide turns. At 4:49 of the period, Barrie’s Richard Clune got the Colts on the board. As I said, I didn’t have my radio and from where we sit, it is hard to see the play in detail at the far end of the rink so I can’t tell how it actually went down. Then, 19 seconds later, Barrie was up by two with a nice play between Bryan Little and Hunter Tremblay. That was definitely a breakdown in the defensive play that left Tremblay all alone in front of Brady. Egad – we thought the rout was on. But we were wrong!! Six seconds (6 seconds!!) into Barrie’s Chris Purves hooking penalty, recently returned from injury and former Barrie Colt Mathieu Methot tipped in a somewhat rare shot on goal by Jakub Vojta. Brett Liscomb got the second assist. That brought Ottawa to within 1. Then Barrie’s Bryan Little restored the 2-goal lead at 8:41. Then Ottawa got back within 1 at 9:32 when Cody Lindsay picked up a rebound and snapped it past Pereguini. So just to recap here folks, before the first period was half-over, the score was 3 – 2 for Barrie with shots on goal 5 – 7 for Barrie. That’s 5 goals on 12 SOGs between the two teams. Either there were some incredible snipers in town, or all thoughts of defense were lost, or both goalies were asleep at the wheel. We’re thinking double digits by the end of the night. On the very next shot on goal Ottawa tied up the game with a pin-ball play between Couture and McGinn with Jamie notching his 35th of the year. That made it 6 goals on 13 shots. In just over 10 minutes of play. Can anyone say Timbits league?

Ottawa had a chance to gain the lead during a power play when Logan Couture rang one off the post. Then Ottawa was on the PK when Bailey took a cross-checking penalty. But Chris Cowie drew the even-up penalty when he poke-checked the puck across the blue line and Barrie’s Nick Plastino felt the need to hook him rather than let him sprint off with the puck. A great example from among many of the terrific second efforts of the 67s.

The first period ended tied 3 – 3 (for the good guys) with shots 9 – 11 for Barrie. Would we see either of the two goalies back in the second?? There were 8 penalties called in the first: 5 against Barrie and 3 against Ottawa. Keep track of that stat.

The second period started fast enough with Ottawa scoring its 4th goal and gaining the lead just 1:57 into the frame. Mathieu Methot scored his second of night against his former team (15th for the season). Line mates Jason Bailey and Brett Liscomb got the assists. As we neared the halfway mark of the game, Aaron Alphonso roofed it on a power play to put Ottawa up by two. Logan Couture and Joe Grimaldi got the assists. And that’s all she wrote for Barrie goalie Andrew Perugini as he got the hook for Michael Hutchinson. At this point I think he had let in 5 goals on perhaps 13 shots. Not good.

Ottawa continued to play pretty well and had another goal denied as the ref called the play on a penalty against Ottawa. Matt Lahey was called for interference. With 21 seconds left in that penalty Derek Joslin was tagged for interference. That gave Barrie a 5-on-3 advantage pretty much until the end of the period. Ottawa was doing a decent job of fending off the Colts but, unseen to us and the goal judge, the referee called a goal during a wild scramble in the crease.

The period ended with Ottawa up by 1 (5 – 4) and shots on goal 20 – 23 for Barrie. 7 penalties called: 4 against Barrie and 3 against Ottawa.

Second intermission: the Ottawa Centre Initiation League. About 2-dozen kids (I would guess around 7 years old or so), 2 pucks, and goalies without goalie equipment. It can only be full contact as these kids don’t have the coordination yet to avoid running into each other. Always fun to watch. I’m sure it the biggest crowd many of them will ever play to in their hockey careers. Go kids Go! There’s a Sid among you somewhere.

Back to the game, third period. Ottawa started with captain Derek Joslin serving the remaining 1:34 in his interference penalty from the end of the second period. It was ably killed by the two main PK units, Couture, McGinn, Grimaldi, Cuma, and Kiriakou, Cowie, Demers and Vojta.

Lots of skating going on but not too many scoring chances. Lots of hits and thumping against the boards. By half way through the period both teams had managed only 6 shots on goal each. Then Ottawa started holding their sticks a tad too tightly. With 6:27 left Arron Alphonso was called for holding. Barrie moved the puck very quickly but Ottawa kept choking off the real scoring chances. Again, the two PK units were Couture, McGinn, Joslin, Vojta and Kiriakou, Cowie, Grimaldi and Cuma. Then Ottawa got a break with 3:29 left when Chris Purves was called for hooking. Shoulda been a no-brainer right. NOT. The boys tightened up like a drum and Barrie put on the pressure like they had the power play. Ottawa barely got out of their defensive zone for the full 2 minutes. You could really hear the crowd voicing their frustration. Then Barrie pulled the goalie for the extra attacker and continued to put pressure on Ottawa. Alas, they ran out of time (and Ottawa missed an open net to give us all some free nachos!!!).

Ottawa won 5 – 4 against the top team in the conference. Shots were 28 – 32 for Barrie. 2 penalties called in the period – 1 each. Players suddenly smarter? Hmmmmm.

Stars for the game:

1. Mathieu Methot (2 goals)
2. Bryan Little (Barrie goal and an assist)
3. Logan Couture (2 assists)

Hardest working 67: Joe Grimaldi.

Random Thoughts:

  • Can we bottle tonight’s performance? What a ton of great effort from all the guys. Playing consistently like this would make them downright dangerous.
  • Killer played all four lines all game and three of the lines scored. That’s called depth isn’t it? Cool. It’s been a while.
  • Matt Lahey was demoted in-game for the second time that I have noticed.
  • Joe Grimaldi has really picked up his game – this might be his second game without penalties, he got an assist and he played well positionally. Despite the odd brain cramp, I have always liked his play. Really glad to see him improve.
  • Brett Liscomb is still one of my favorites to watch. He’s everywhere. Really going to miss him next year (yeah I know – already worrying about the end of the season).
  • Nice to Bailey and Methot using their size.
  • I thought the game was very entertaining (but I doubt the Barrie fans around us drew the same conclusion).
  • Did I mention the total team effort? Good to see.

So, think we can sting the Sting on Sunday? Let’s see what version of the 67s show up. Until then, have a good weekend folks. Ciao.

No comments: