March 31, 2007

Heartbreak At The Civic Centre: Ottawa 2 – Belleville 4

The teams returned to the Ottawa Civic Centre for the 4th game in 5 days in this first round series. Belleville came in leading the series 2 -1 after their 3 – 0 win over Ottawa yesterday on home ice.

Belleville player notes: not dressing were Paul Cianfrini, Andrew Gibbons and Erik Caladi. For the third straight playoff game, local boy Kevin Lalande started in goal.

Ottawa player notes: Matt McDougall, Matt Lahey, Jason Bailey (charlie horse??) and Jordan Gallea did not dress. Brady was also in net for his third start of the series.

Lines for tonight:

McGinn, Couture, Alphonso
Methot, Kiriakou, Liscomb
Cowie, Lindsay, Nesbitt
No 4th line but I saw Cimadamore and Ribeiro out for at least one shift each.

Defensive pairings: Joslin –Vojta, Cuma – Demers, Beard – Grimaldi

Ottawa started with a lot of energy and quickly generated some early shots on Lalande. But it was the Bulls that got on the scoreboard first on an odd-man rush that resulted in Tyler Donati scoring his second goal of the playoffs when he beat Morrison upstairs from the right face-off circle. Ottawa then earned their first penalty of the game when Tyler Cuma launched the puck score. It was a fast-paced period where a couple more penalties were exchanged but …..

After 20 minutes Belleville led by 1 in spite of Ottawa outshooting the Bulls 18 – 10. (Is that what they mean by shooting the bull???). Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The second period started with 4-on-4 play for 1:02. The Ottawa play was reasonably aggressive although not matching the intensity of the first period. For some reason Aaron Alphonso had drawn a bead on Matt Pelech as he was dumped 2 or 3 times over the course of the period. Then Belleville got themselves into a bit of a corner with a string of penalties that included a delay of game (puck over the glass ) and the goalie Lalande getting called for slashing Alphonso. It was a delayed penalty and before the play stopped it seemed to me that Lalande dumped Aaron again but was not called on it as well. Ottawa ended up stringing together something like a 5 –on-4, 5-on-3 for 1:24, followed by another 5-on-4. They overlapped somewhat but in the entire stretch Ottawa managed only 6 shots on Lalande (3 during the 5-on-3) but the 6th was the charm as Jamie McGinn roofed it upstairs to tie up the game and notch his 3rd goal of the playoffs. Aaron Alphonso and Tyler Cuma got the assists.

Ottawa was pressing hard and managed a really good penalty kill while Cuma was off for tripping only to be scored on early in the following questionable roughing penalty called against Brett Liscomb. It certainly seemed that the ref was trying to even up the calls after the string by the Bulls. Bull I say!! Belleville’s Eric Tangradi got the PP goal to put the Bulls up again.

And that’s how it ended after the second period: Belleville 2 – Ottawa 1 with Ottawa out-shooting the Bulls 33 – 18.

The third period started fast again as Ottawa looked to tie it up. It took almost half the period though until Jamie McGinn was credited on the deflection during an Ottawa PP for his second of the night and 4th of the playoffs. Aaron Alphonso and Logan Couture got the assists.

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The Bulls got some offense going and had Ottawa pinned for a while but Brady made a couple of potential game-winning saves to keep the team in the game. Then it was Ottawa’s turn to put some pressure on. But it was Belleville that came up with the crucial goal with 3:29 left in the period when Eric Tangradi was able to beat Brady through the 5-hole. The Bulls then had a chance to build their lead when Tyler Doig sprung loose for a breakaway. Tyler Cuma was the only 67s with any chance defending and he tripped up Doig resulting in a penalty shot. Doig picked up the puck from center ice and tried to deke Brady out of position but he was unable make it count.

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It didn’t much matter because with less than a minute and a half left in the period, Doig got his goal to ice the game for the Bulls.

Despite having out-shot the Bulls 42 – 29, it was the Bulls that came away with the only stat that counts: 4 goals to Ottawa’s 2.

Stars for the game:

1. Eric Tangradi (Belleville – 2 goals and an assist)
2. Kevin Lalande (Belleville – 40 saves)
3. Aaron Alphonso (2 assists and a snoot full of really hard work)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67: Jamie McGinn with 2 goals

Random Thoughts:

  • Again, this was a game that Ottawa could have won. They actually outplayed Belleville for most of the game but somehow could not bury the puck. Another loss in the last 5 minutes of the game.
  • One of the clichés of the game is that specialty units make the difference and that just might apply here tonight. While both of Ottawa's goals came on the PP and they only gave up 1 on the PK, Ottawa really should have been able to take more advantage of the advantages they were given. During 1:24 of 5-on-3 play they only managed 3 shots on Lalande. They did manage to keep the puck in play the entire time in their offensive zone but it really doesn't matter much if all you do is pass the puck around like a warm-up.
  • While Lalande made 40 saves, I’m not convinced that many of them were tough scoring chances. Brady made more outstanding saves than Kevin was forced to make.
  • The third line was working hard and generated their share of pressure.

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  • The refereeing was atrocious both ways. I have no idea how Brad Beer gets any playoff assignments…unless of course it’s simply a matter of needing the least worst live body for the first round. It will be interesting to see if this guy gets any assignments in the following rounds.
  • The 67s are in a bit of a hole Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket but it’s still not impossible. I don’t have any other plans for next Tuesday so a game at the Civic Centre would be great. See what you can do guys. Need to see some scoring from the other guys - so far it's been pretty much all the top line with assistance from Derek Joslin.
  • Animated critters courtesy of the SensNetwork.Com...thee place for Senators fans to discuss hockey and all other matters of importance: http://www.sensnetwork.com/sensforum/

Hope to see you on Tuesday.

Go 67s Go!!

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