March 11, 2007

No Breaking These Colts Today: Ottawa 1 – Barrie 3

Last meeting of the year between these two teams with the series split 2 – 1 in Ottawa’s favour. Barrie had not won in their last 9 visits to the Civic Centre. With a win today Barrie could lock up 1st place in the Eastern Conference. They came into today’s game on a 3-game winning streak.

Ottawa didn’t play yesterday but still managed to clinch a playoff spot by virtue of Peterborough’s loss. At stake in today’s game: a firm lock on 8th place, starting a modest winning streak, keeping the Civic Centre hex on Barrie alive and staying over .500 at home.

Barrie player notes: not dressing were Kyle van den Bospoort, Tomas Marcinko, Alex Hutchings, Ryan Gottschalk, George Lovatsis and former 67 Joe Pleckaitis. Andre Perugrini started in net.

Ottawa player notes: Sean Ryan, Jordan Gallea and Aaron Alphonso sat out. Brady Morrison was between the pipes.

Lines for tonight:
McGinn, Couture, Liscomb
Methot, Kiriakou, Bailey
Lindsay, Cowie, Lahey
Nesbitt, Cimadamore, Ribeiro

Again, all 4 lines saw some ice, even in the third.

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

The period started like a pong game in the neutral zone between the two teams. Took a while before anything of note to start. Ottawa had it’s first power play just 3 minutes into the game when Richard Clune was called for roughing. Barrie had the 4th best PK in the league coming into today’s game having allowed 75 goals in 447 shots on goal while down a man (I wonder why wouldn’t that be a goalie statistic rather than a team statistic??). Ottawa’s PP was ranked at 17th coming into today’s game. Ottawa managed 3 shots but didn’t convert any.

The game was moving at a reasonably fast pace. At about the halfway mark, former 67s Tyson Aitcheson caught Jason Bailey just inside the Barrie blue line with a decent check that coughed up the puck. Shortly after that Ottawa was caught with too many men to give Barrie its first PP of the afternoon. This time Killer started with McGinn, Couture, Joslin and Vojta as the first PK unit. Logan made a great block at the end of his shift that stung him badly but saved the shot on Brady. The next PK unit of Cowie, Kiriakou, Grimaldi and Beard took over. Overall, the 67s limited the 5th best PP unit in the league to 1 shot during the advantage.

Ottawa was doing a fine job of putting the pressure on Barrie but a lapse in their defensive zone allowed Barrie to get on the board first. It started with Julien Demers giving the puck away and Ottawa not getting organized in response. Barrie’s Brian Lashoff got the shot away and Ryan Bellows was credited with the goal.

Ottawa held off another PP chance by Barrie allowing only 2 shots that Brady handled. Then it was Ottawa’s turn to get the advantage late in the period when Michael Lombardi was called for hooking. In the last 30 seconds of that PP Barrie’s Brian Little intercepted a pass to Joslin and the two of them were skating hard into the Ottawa zone. They ended up in the corner and Joslin was called for hooking which would have ended Ottawa’s PP but Little was also called for diving. So Ottawa held on the to advantage and managed 7 shots but none of them got past Perugrini.

The first period ended with the score 0 – 1 for Barrie with Ottawa out-shooting Barrie 13 – 9.

Somehow during his Oscar performance for diving, Barrie’s Brian Little also managed to earn himself a 10-minute misconduct so after the offsetting minor with Joslin expired, Brian continued to cool his heels. Not that Barrie missed him. The second period was all Barrie and no Ottawa. It was a stampede of Colts for 20 minutes. I’m sure Brady will be seeing blue jerseys in his sleep tonight. Certainly getting 4 penalties to Barrie’s NONE makes it hard to mount any offense. But so does not being able to clear the puck or pass it to the tape of your team mates. The two saving graces during the period were Brady’s outstanding tending and some good hits by Grimaldi. Despite some impressive pressure by Barrie, they were not able to get their second goal until over half-way. With Jakub Vojta off for a questionable roughing call, Barrie’s Richard Clune and Cory McGillis execute a fine give-and-go beating Morrison upstairs from the top of the crease. Brady didn’t stand a chance. Then with less than 3 minutes left in the period, a presumably tired Brady Morrison made the first stop on a shot and perhaps thought he had it smothered but the puck sprung loose and Hunter Tremblay was there to pot it and put Barrie up 3 – 0. (doncha think Hunter is a good name for a hockey player?? Sic ‘em boy!).

40 minutes of play found Ottawa on the wrong end of a 0 – 3 score but more telling, they managed only one shot on Perugrini for the whole period while the Colts bombarded Morrison with 30! No, that’s not a typo sports fans – 30 shots in 20 minutes. And only two beat him. In the last half of the period.

Oh to be in the 67s locker room during the second intermission! It must be difficult to find the right balance between lambasting the team and encouraging them to turn it around. Killer’s been around for a very long time so if he doesn’t have the touch by now, it’s way too late. Well, the team looked different in the third than they did in the second. But then, it actually would have been hard to look worse. The boys picked up their game and started playing in their offensive zone for a while. With Tyson Aitcheson off for a check to the head followed by Chris Purvess getting nabbed for delay of game when he put the puck over the glass, Ottawa finally broke the shut out. Jakub Vojta is not known for taking a lot of shots and certainly during the first of the two power plays, he passed rather than taking a shot (we were all yelling at him to take the shot but I wonder if he understood us). But finally, he took one from inside the blue line and scored his 6th goal of the year. Derek Joslin and Logan Couture got the assists. It appeared that the goal was scored after the first penalty expired which would have meant that the goal expired the delay of game penalty. After a review it was determined that the goal was scored while the first penalty was still being served. This gave Ottawa the PP for an additional 56 seconds. But Ottawa was unable to score on both halves of the penalty pair. Then Ottawa got another chance when Tyson Aitcheson was called for hitting Scott Cowie from behind. Ottawa managed 3 shots during the PP but still could not score. With yet another chance due to Barrie’s too many men on the ice, Ottawa could not score. With less than a minute left, Ottawa pulled Brady for the extra attacker. Barrie missed the open net twice and Joe Grimaldi made another save to deny the empty netter but in the end, Barrie preserved its two goal lead for the win.

Barrie got off the Civic Centre-schneid with a 3 – 1 win and out-shot Ottawa 29 – 45.

Stars for the game:

1. Andrew Perugrini (Barrie goalie with 28 saves)
2. Brady Morrison (42 saves)
3. Ryan Bellows (Barrie – goal)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67: Joe Grimaldi

Random Thoughts:

  • Way to go Brady! He single handedly gave Ottawa any chance of staying in this game. They owe you big time!!
  • Grimaldi had a great game. He made some good checks, good plays and even stepped in as goalie to keep Barrie from getting the empty-netter. Too bad we didn’t see this side of him all year. Let’s hope we see it for the rest of this year.
  • Barrie was beatable. The second period was definitely Ottawa’s undoing. I hope the team can figure out what the heck happened to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
  • Ottawa went 1 for 6 on the PP while limiting Barrie to 1 for 7. Ottawa can keep up with those higher up in the PP/PK rankings.
  • Daylight savings time was moved up three weeks this year thanks to our friend south of the 49th. Hope all your various electronic devices have made the necessary adjustment. Must admit it was nice to drive home in the sunlight after this afternoon's game.

The regular season winds down this week as Ottawa travels to Belleville for its only road game and a likely preview of the first round bracket. They wrap up at home next weekend with back-to-back home games against the Oshawa Generals and a game against Sudbury. Let’s hope the boys find the playoff rhythm that will carry them deep.

Thanks for your time. Hope to see you on the home stretch.

Go 67s Go!!

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