March 17, 2007

Generally Speaking, These Were a Couple of Good Wins: Ottawa beat Oshawa 5 – 3

This was the final meeting of these two teams for the season with Ottawa having won 3 of the previous 5 games including last night’s win. Both teams came into this afternoon’s game looking for the win to influence their places in the standings. Oshawa needed two points this weekend to lock up 4th spot and home ice advantage. Ottawa needed a roll of wins to move up to 6th spot and face the Mississauga IceDogs in the first round rather than Belleville who has pretty much owned Ottawa all year (lost 7 of the 8 meetings).

Oshawa player notes: not dressing were Trevor Koverko, Tyler Taylor, Marco Franchini, Murray Free, Dean Howard, Billy Siekris and Ziga Pance. Loic Lacasse got the call in goal again.

Ottawa player notes: Matt McDougall, Matt Lahey (3rd game out with a knee injury), Jordan Gallea, and Julian Cimadamore (possibly sore back after yesterday’s game – speculation on my part. He did work his tail off!) . It was Lukas Flueler’s turn between the pipes.

Lines for tonight: This is just an approximation; between penalties and powerplays there was very little consistency other than the first two lines.

McGinn, Couture, Alphonso
Methot, Kiriakou, Bailey
All of the other forwards in various combinations and Brodie Beard at least once that I noticed.

Defensive pairings: I lost track.

Again, the opening face off featured Tavares and Couture and Oshawa came away with the puck. Oshawa got an early odd-man rush going but it was broken up by Logan. Both teams were having trouble getting anything organized and it took almost 5 minutes before the first shot on goal was registered by either team (Oshawa). Then Ottawa took its first of 14 (!) penalties of the game when Jamie McGinn was called for hooking. The Ottawa PK units played tough against the 5th best PP team in the league – limiting them to 2 shots which Flueler handled.

Ottawa took the early lead when Sean Ryan scored his first goal of the year on a shot from the point. It may have hit an Oshawa player but it just trickled through Lacasse’s legs. Thomas Nesbitt and Scott Cowie got the assists. Then Ottawa went up by two 12 seconds into Kody Musselman’s checking to the head penalty. Jamie McGinn received a beautiful cross-crease pass from Logan Couture and buried it for his 43rd goal of the year. Derek Joslin got the other assist.

The set up for the end of the first period started with Joe Grimaldi laying a bit hit on Gongalsky (I think – could have this wrong). In any case it was late enough that the ref called him for charging. Displaying his penchant for standing up for his team that many 67s fans admired (and regretted losing in the trade) Shea Kewin charged in to take Joe on. Shea didn’t do any damage to Joe that I could tell but his efforts earned him 4 minutes in the box for roughing which not only took away the power play that was coming to Oshawa but it also gave Ottawa the power play. But that didn’t last long as Vojta managed to get called for hooking to end the PP and return the play to 4-on-4. But that didn’t last either when Eric Regan was called 26 seconds later for tripping which put Ottawa back on the power play. Ottawa must have been sorely confused in all this as they sure didn’t play like they had the advantage. Brett MacLean managed to take advantage of Ottawa’s total breakdown to get a short handed goal with 1:45 left in the period. The official score sheet does not have it scored as a SHG but if you follow the bouncing penalty puck it was clearly short handed. The goal also put Oshawa back in the game. But Logan Couture almost restored the two-goal lead in the dying seconds when he rung a fast shot off the post.

After the first 20 minutes the score was 2 – 1 for Ottawa with the shots on goal 6 – 10 for the Generals.

About the second period....it was the good, the bad and the ugly. In reverse order, first the ugly: 8 penalties were handed out, 6 to Ottawa and 2 to Oshawa. Ottawa had the power play for a whole 1:39 in the period, they played short handed for about 8 minutes including 1:40 down two men, and only played 5-on-5 hockey for maybe 9:30. The bad, Ottawa was seriously outshot (which makes sense when they were on the PK so much). The good: Ottawa killed all the penalties, Cuma was a defensive monster (to borrow from Pierre McGuire) with another great effort to keep Tavares off the score board, Clutterbuck was nailed twice in open ice with good clean, hard hits. In his frustration he tried to take on Bailey and they earned their second set of offsetting minors for the game.

No scoring in the second so it ended still with Ottawa leading 2 -1 but Oshawa had increased their shots: 13 for Ottawa to Oshawa’s 27 in total.

Oshawa melted down in the discipline department in the third earning 10 penalties to Ottawa’s 3. Their frustration was getting the better of them and in the process James DeLory was tossed after getting 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct when he took exception to Methot’s huge and completely legal open ice check on Matt Seegmiller. In the ensuing scrum Bailey and Igor Gongalsky also earned a pair of offsetting minors. And that was in the first 1:23 of the period. So Ottawa got the powerplay for a full 7 minutes once the refs and scorekeepers and anyone else who had an opinion sorted it out. Just 12 seconds into that PP, Jamie McGinn scored his 44th goal of the year, his second of the game and his 5th power play goal in two games when he was able to poke a loose puck over the line. Joe Grimaldi and Logan Couture got the assists.

The goal retired the 2-minute instigator penalty so Ottawa still had 5 minutes with the advantage with the score 3 – 1 in their favour. But in another collective brain cramp, Ottawa allowed Brett Parham to score Oshawa’s second SHG of the game and get back to within 1. But 40 seconds later Ottawa restored the cushion when Logan Couture was left all alone on Lacasse’s doorstep and he buried the puck for his 25th goal of the year to make the score 4 – 2 Ottawa. McGinn and Aphonso got the assists. Oshawa continued to take stupid penalties that kept them short handed for quite a while. Greg Brown got two minute and a 10 minute misconduct when he checked Julien Demers to the head. That put him out of for rest of the game. Gotta give Oshawa some credit as they played very aggressively on the PK and why not given that Ottawa had already given up two shorties. Finally playing even-strength hockey with 1:23 left in the period, Brett MacLean gave Oshawa a brief glimpse of hope when he got one past Lukas Flueler. John Tavares’ only point of the game came as an assist on that goal. But 12 seconds later, Chris Cowie sprung the puck loose for Logan Couture who then put a beauty move on the defender and Lacasse to squelch any thoughts of possibly tying up the game.

Ottawa wrapped up the game with a 5 – 3 win over Oshawa and ended with getting 31 shots on goal to Oshawa’s 38.

Stars for the game:

1. Jamie McGinn (2 goals and an assist)
2. Tyler Cuma (no points but some great plays to keep the other guys off the board)
3. Logan Couture (2 goals including the GWG and 2 assists)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67: Cool headed rookie defenseman Julien Demers

Random Thoughts:

  • Forgot to mention yesterday that some players are already sporting their playoff hairdos which mostly consist of bleaching. There were some bright colours on a few of the Oshawa noggin’s
  • The Oshawa gang must have some collective hate-on for Jason Bailey. He and Clutterbuck had something going on that resulted in a pair of offsetting minors for the two of them and he had a fight with Igor Gongalsky. It really wasn’t much of anything – Jason might have gotten a couple of good hits off before he was tackled to the ice.
  • Brett Liscomb left the ice with just over 6 minutes left in the first period and I can’t recall if he returned at all during the game. Hope he’s OK. He didn’t seem to be hurt.
  • The teams weren’t as lively as yesterday – it must have taken a lot out of them.
  • Flueler had a great game in net today and seriously contributed the team’s success today.
  • Keys for success for teams playing against Oshawa would seem to include getting them to draw penalties.
  • Keys for success for teams playing against Ottawa could include letting them get the PP. It sure would be interesting to know how many SHGs Ottawa has allowed this year. Just from what I’ve seen it seems to be a disturbingly high number.
  • I also would like to see Kiriakou’s face off stats. Seems to me that he must have a pretty high success percentage.
  • Between Couture and McGinn they scored 8 goals and had 6 assists in the two games so far this weekend.
  • First intermission entertainment was a shoot-out between 67s owner Jeff Hunt and Steelback owner Frank D’Angelo. D’Angelo was in net and Jeff was the shooter. The deal was for every goal Jeff scored on Frank, Frank would donate $1000 to the Ottawa 67s Foundation. For every goal Frank saved, Jeff would donate $1000 to Breast Cancer Research. Frank saved the first two, Jeff scored on the third, and Frank saved the final two. So Jeff will donate $4000 to Breast Cancer Research and Frank will donate $1000 to the Ottawa 67s Foundation.

Hope Ottawa has some legs left to take on Sudbury tomorrow as it will be the deciding game for playoff rankings and therefore the brackets for these two teams. It's the last game of the regular season. Hope you can make it to the game or catch it on the radio or internet broadcast.

Go 67s Go!!

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