March 27, 2007

Ugh!!! Belleville 5 – Ottawa 4

This is going to be very quick as 5:00AM gets here real soon and this blogger needs her sleep.

Game 2 of a pretty aggressive quarterfinal schedule. Ottawa won game 1 in overtime at the Yardman Arena in Belleville last night. A rare win there for Ottawa this year and a great way to start the playoffs.

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Belleville player notes: not dressing were Shawn Lanlonde and Aaron Snow. Kevin Lalande was in goal for the second night in a row.

Ottawa player notes: Matt McDougall, Matt Lahey (still out with a knee injury), Jordan Gallea, and Matt Ribeiro did not dress. And Brady got the call for game 2.

Lines for tonight: was taking pictures again tonight so I may have missed some movements, but it looked mostly like:

McGinn, Couture, Alphonso
Methot, Kiriakou, Bailey
Liscomb, Cowie, Nesbitt
And Lindsay saw some ice time but I lost track of where and when.
No 4th line to speak of

Defensive pairings: Joslin –Vojta, Cuma – Demers, Beard – Grimaldi
Ryan saw some ice time in the first but I don’t recall seeing him after that.

Either the play early in the period was very defensive or neither team could get organized. I’m still pretty new at this and don’t catch many of the nuances. In any event, the very first shot on goal by either team was 6 minutes into the period. In the meantime, we were treated to some solid physical play and some great second efforts such as Logan Couture throwing himself to bat the puck across the blue line while defending on the Bulls’ power play. Aaron Alphonso was serving time for hooking. The Bulls didn’t get a single shot on Brady with the 2-minute advantage.

Belleville then got themselves into a string of penalty trouble that eventually resulted in Ottawa getting a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:16 just before the half-way mark. In the dying seconds of the first Belleville penalty, the aforementioned Aaron Alphonso parked himself in front of Lalande and the puck bounced off him for the first goal of the night. Derek Joslin and Logan Couture got the assists.

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Belleville defended the back half of that penalty pair as well as a couple more penalties. For their part, the Barber poles also successfully held their own on a couple of PKs, limiting the bovines from down south to maybe two shots during the advantage.

After the first 20 minutes Ottawa had the only goal; shots on goal were 11 – 4 for Ottawa.

Ottawa started the second period down a man for 1:11 as Grimaldi had to close out his elbowing penalty from the first. Our usual PK units did their job and the Bulls only got 1 shot on Brady. I sure hope he wasn’t getting bored out there. Then with Aaron serving his second penalty of the game (this time for slashing), Derek Joslin sprung the puck and Thomas Kiriakou picked it up for a rush into the Belleville zone. Scott Cowie was driving for the net but rather than passing, Kiriakou shot it over the left shoulder of Lalande for a nifty short-handed goal and put Ottawa up by 2! Derek Joslin got the assist. Scott should get honourable mention for being the decoy.

Good thing we had the two-goal cushion 'cause less than a minute later, Belleville’s Bryan Cameron made good on the Bulls’ PP by jumping on the loose puck and getting it past Brady. But Ottawa got it back just over the half-way mark when Jamie McGinn dipsy-doodled through the Belleville line-up and beat Lalande upstairs to restore the 2-goal lead. Logan Couture and Derek Joslin got the assists.

The second period ended with Ottawa leading 3 – 1 but Belleville having increased their shots on Brady with total shots on goal 18 – 16 still in Ottawa’s favour.

How to put this nicely…nah…can’t do it. There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of “if you can’t say anything nice…at least be vague”. Can’t do that either. A lesser person would resort to colourful language. But I try to write a family-friendly blog so I will exercise some uncharacteristic self-restraint. And it is Lent and I am trying to control my vice for cussing. This was indeed a trying 20 minutes of play. Heavy sigh!!!

Let’s start with our first penalty – Liscomb for hooking. Job well done by the PK units and the Bulls don’t get a single shot on Brady. So far, so good. Then we get the PP when Belleville’s Cory Tanaka gets tagged. Now it’s the 67s who don’t get any scoring chances, good or bad. hmmm. Then P.K. Subban succeeds in getting an offsetting minor with one of our most dangerous players – Jamie McGinn. No problem, it’s 4-on-4; we should be able to hold our own. Nope – Belleville’s Nick Pageau manages to get one past Brady from an improbable angle from the left face-off circle. A very good example of why it can’t hurt to through the puck at the net. I imagine that Brady wishes he had that one back! Then less than two minute later, Shawn Matthias scores to tie it up. And he does it again less than two minutes later to take the lead with Tyler Cuma taking a timeout for cross-checking. Can you say collective mental brain cramp sports fans? Yikes! So now I’m channeling all my energy into the players on the ice…you can do it, you can tie this up again! Well, for a superstitious sort like me, it works! With a delayed penalty call in the making, Brett Liscomb manages to take advantage of the scramble in front of Lalande and tie it up!! Tyler Cuma an Mathieu Methot get the assists.

So with less than 4 minutes left to play, the game is tied at 4. Ottawa is on the power play as the penalty that was in the works when Brett scored his goal is now being served. For some reason unknown to mere mortals, Jason Bailey gets tagged for interference with just over two minutes to play. Not great but not necessarily fatal as the Ottawa PK has been pretty decent all night. Belleville is pressing, Grimaldi gets the puck in the defensive zone, and to my eye, he has an easy opportunity to fire the darn thing down the ice. But nooooooo, he takes it behind the net and then tries to fire it off the glass and down the ice. Except for missing the darn glass altogether and getting the delay of game penalty. AAAACCKK!! This little nifty move gives the Bulls the 5-on-3 advantage for 1:12. Despite my mantra of “kill the penalty , kill the penalty”, it’s not enough. With just 45 seconds left in the game, Tyler Donati notches the game winner. Ottawa doesn’t even get enough control of the puck in the remaining 45 seconds to pull Brady.

The game ended with Belleville winning 5 – 4. Final shots were 25 – 27 in Belleville’s favour.

Stars for the game:

1. Shawn Matthias (Belleville – 2 goals)
2. Derek Joslin (3 assists)
3. Nick Pageau (Belleville – goal and 2 assists)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67: Thomas Kiriakou.

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There's your picture Thomas.

Random Thoughts:

  • Woulda been, coulda been, shoulda been. This was winnable. This loss had nothing to do with skill or ability; it was all about what goes on between the ears.
  • Took pictures again which is why my notes and summary suffer. Just can’t do both well at the same time. Having more fun with the pictures right now. If there are any good ones I will post after I get this blog up.
  • Stood by the 67s bench for part of the 3rd period to take pictures. That was an eye (and ear) opener. It was really interesting to hear what goes on on the bench. I really am a social anthropologist at heart (social anthropology - the branch of anthropology that deals with human culture and society). Sure would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall in the locker room after the game.

Not a bad turnout at the Civic Centre for an earlier game on a Tuesday night with the Sens playing in town.

I think the team can recover from this – they have shown that they can skate and play with this team. Both games have been 1-goal games. Both games have gone to the wire. This series will go to the team that has the mental toughness to win. And that can be our blonde bombshell barber poles.

This isn’t done….not by a long shot. Go 67s Go!

See y’all on Friday.

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