April 02, 2007

Playoff Run Ends: Ottawa 3 – Belleville 4 in Overtime

As we were enjoying our after dinner beverages on Saturday night my sister-in-law mentioned that she would like to go to the game in Belleville. I thought it was a good idea but our respective spouses were disinclined to join us. Who needs 'em to have fun? So, having secured tickets on Sunday morning, the two of us were on the road to Belleville to see game 5.

I couldn’t catch the line-up change announcements in the arena but Matts Lahey and Ribeiro were out of the Ottawa line up.

Lines for the game: It seemed there were frequent changes but they looked sorta kinda like:

McGinn, Couture, Alphonso
Methot, Liscomb, Bailey
Cowie, Kiriakou, Nesbitt
Cimadamore, Lindsay, and a double shifter

Defensive pairings: Joslin –Vojta, Cuma – Demers, Beard – Grimaldi with Sean Ryan thrown into the mix now and again.

Brady Morrison got the call again.

As I have mused before, I’m not sure that the warm-up is any indication of what’s to come. The 67s warm-up looked kinda flat. R (my sister-in-law….all identities have been changed to protect the innocent) suggested that the boys were playing mind games with the Bulls. She may have been right. Read on faithful readers…..

Twenty-five seconds into the game Ottawa was assessed its first of 11 penalties of the game when Scott Cowie was called for a high stick. The PK didn’t last too long as 12 seconds into it Belleville’s Matt Beleski was tagged for interference. About a minute into the 4-on-4 hockey Belleville’s Nick Pageau scored his second goal of the playoffs going upstairs from the left face-off circle to beat Brady on his first shot on goal of the game. Oh my! But Belleville’s lead didn’t last all that long as Brett Liscomb also scored his second of the playoffs off a shot from the point from Jakub Vojta just 2:17 into the game. Cody Lindsay got the other assist. The game was quickly tied at 1.

Ottawa was doing a good job of cycling the puck down low and creating good scoring chances but they just couldn’t bury it. Ottawa got a PP when Matt Beleski was sent off for his second penalty of the period. The Barber Poles had a real tough time generating anything but finally, Jamie McGinn notched his 5th goal of the playoffs to put the 67s ahead. Logan Couture and Jakub Vojta got the assists. In the last 5 minutes it looked like Ottawa was easing off and giving Belleville more room on their rather large ice surface. But Brett Liscomb generated some excitement when he picked up a turnover in the Ottawa defensive zone and skated in on Lalande to create a scoring chance. He also managed to get Belleville on the wrong end of a series of infractions that were committed in the ensuing gathering in front of Lalande. For his efforts, he was called for spearing but Shawn Mattias was nailed for roughing and Nick Pageau for cross checking. This also resulted in an arena chant of “we want a ref!!”. Even the six-year old behind us accused the refs of being Killer’s boys. Ottawa only managed 1 SOG for the two minutes and then back on the PK with 16 seconds left when Thomas Nesbitt was called for tripping.

The first period ended with Ottawa up by 1 Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket with the Bulls leading in SOG 14 to 11. It sure looked promising.

Ottawa started the second period on the PK for 1:44 but the two main PK units of Cowie, Kiriakou, Vojta, Joslin and McGinn, Couture, Demers and Grimaldi kept the Bulls from even registering a shot on goal. But, in a sign of things to come, Ottawa was back on the PK in short order when Brett Liscomb was called for elbowing (the kid is 5’9”!! How can he possibly elbow anybody??!!). Anyhoo….Belleville’s Matt Beleski made up for past sins as he buried a beauty pass through the crease to tie it up.

Ottawa then got a PP opportunity but only managed a couple shots on Lalande. Ottawa was having a rough time staying onside as the intensity picked up. But as the period and the game neared the half-way mark Logan Couture gave the 67s the lead again on a missile from the high slot as he came off the bench on a delayed penalty against the Bulls. T’was indeed a thing of beauty.

And then Ottawa promptly went back on the PK and then a couple more times for good measure. While Derek Joslin was serving a very questionable hooking penalty, Belleville’s P.K. Subban notched his first of the playoffs to tie it up on a blast from the blue line.

So after 40 minutes the game was tied at 3 with Belleville holding the slight edge on shots: 27 to Ottawa’s 23.

We weren’t long into the period when Brett Liscomb earned his 4th penalty of the game when he was nabbed for hooking. Not only did the boys limit Belleville to 1 SOG, Jamie McGinn had a great chance at a SHG but couldn’t get it past Lalande. The teams traded a couple more penalties in a generally fast-paced period and I got worried about another potential 3-minute meltdown but neither team was able to score in the third frame.

So regular time ended in a 3 – 3 tie with Belleville still edging the 67s in SOG: 35 to 31.

On to overtime. Belleville came out pressing and the barn was hoppin’. The Bulls pretty much had Ottawa on their heels from the get-go; the 67s just couldn’t generate any sustained offense. The game ended almost 6 minutes into the extra frame when Eric Tangradi scored his second GWG of the series as he buried the rebound.

Stars for the game according to the game sheet:

1. Eric Tangradi (Belleville – game and playoff round winning goal, assist)
2. Logan Couture (goal)
3. P. K. Subban (Belleville goal)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67: didn’t pick it up (of course)
Blitzen’s Hardest working 67: Brady Morrison. He made more than a few saves that kept the team in the game.

Random Thoughts:
  • Despite the loss, this game was well worth the trip. Even getting in at 1:30 am and getting up at 5:00. The Belleville fans were great as were the many 67s fans.

  • The 67s beat themselves by getting too many penalties. Killer basically used the same players on the PK and they just ran out of steam.
  • This series was not handed to Belleville; they had to work for it.

  • Behind us sat an incredibly articulate 6-year old girl who had many opinions about the game which she shared willingly. But over the course of the game she was almost won over by our conversation and Lukas Flueler who gave her some glove love. She actually started chanting to the Ottawa cheers. But it didn’t last as she quickly reminded us at the end of the game that “Ottawa was done”. Despite that, she broke out into tears when she noticed that some of the 67s were upset at the outcome. She felt quite badly for them. You’re a nice kid Allie – you’re folks have done well.
  • Speaking of nice parents, I managed to drain the battery of my truck by leaving the lights on (ya ya I know – dumb!!). Aaron Alphonso’s dad was kind enough to boost the vehicle (after noticing that I was wearing a 67s jersey). We didn’t know who he was until we were chatting over the battery terminals. Thanks Mr. Alphonso – much appreciated. Can’t imagine what would have happened if we needed a boost from the bus! (remind you of the TV commercial where the car blows up??).
  • Official attendance was 2952, of which at least 52 were Ottawa fans. The remaining 2900 created more atmosphere at the Yardmen Arena than 6000 do at the Civic Centre. The “more cowbells” was a good game day gimmick.
  • BTW, the picture in the Ottawa Citizen had it wrong…it was Tyler Cuma in the crease helping Brady out.

Hope to write a season wrap-up update by the end of the week.

Go 67s Go!!

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