September 29, 2007

Iced by them Dogs!

Home opener tonight and there was a good crowd on hand – 9708 fans in the building to see the boys play their fourth game of the season. They started strong last weekend – winning all four on the road. We were treated to an entertaining laser show (went on just tad too long), fireworks and an introduction of all the players that were dressed for the game.

Take a look at this:

CHL Mosaik MasterCard Top 10 Rankings - Week 1
Created: Sep 26, 2007

Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Hockey League today announced the CHL Mosaik MasterCard Top 10 Rankings for Week 1 of the 2007-08 season. The weekly rankings of the Canadian Hockey League’s Top 10 are selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts.
1 Calgary Hitmen (3-0-0-0)
2 Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds (3-0-0-0)
3 Acadie-Bathurst Titans (3-0-1-0)
4 Ottawa 67's (3-0-0-0) (woo hoo!!)
5 Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (4-0-1-0)
6 Tri-City Americans (3-0-0-0)
7 Oshawa Generals (2-0-0-0)
8 Halifax Mooseheads (3-1-0-0)
9 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (4-1-0-0)
10 Brandon Wheat Kings (2-0-0-0)

Gotta like that. But it’s way too early to get excited about it. Just wanted to note it here for posterity.

Ottawa changes:
Ottawa scratches for today: Matt Lahey (injury), Matt Ribeiro, James Craig, Radim Ostrcil (injury) and Jordan Gallea. Adam Courchaine started in net.

Niagara changes:
Scratches for today: forwards Steven Ceccanese, Alex Friesen (injury), and Jadran Beljo (sitting at home cooling his heels after some apparent disagreement with team management); defencemen: Jay Gilbert, Matt Corrente and Matthew Maione and goalie Lukas Lobsinger (injured). Players Jordan Foreman, Paul Gismondi and Coach Mario Cicchillo were returning after a 2 game suspension. Can’t seem to find any information on it. Andrew Loverock started in net.

Ottawa Lines:
JMcGinn, Couture, Latta
Cowie, Kiriakou, Nesbitt
Methot, Lindsay, Bailey
TMcGinn, Martindale, Carnevale

Defensive pairings:

First Period:
None of the technology I usually rely on is working tonight – my batteries died in my radio, the OHL site is not updated and my attempt to capture the internet broadcast as a backup to my radio crapped out on me. So now it’s just my prescription-writing-worthy notes and my end-of-week weary old memory. Sorry about that folks.

Ottawa started with an early good scoring chance when Martin Paryzek fired one at the goal and Jamie went for the tip but Loverock was able to make the fast save. After that Ottawa had real trouble trying to maintain control of the play. They got their first PP opportunity just three minutes into the period but only managed 2 shots on goal. The IceDogs also managed two shots on goal short handed. This was not a good two minutes.

With 13:34 left in the period, it was the rookies again that put the first score on the board. This happened so fast, I didn’t really see it. Tye McGinn snapped a pass from the boards beside the net to Martindale who banged it home before anyone had a chance to see it. It was bang – bang – score! Jon Carnevale got the second assist. Capt’n McGinn was quick to get the puck for Ryan as it was his first OHL goal! Conrats kid!

After this, Ottawa managed to pick up its play somewhat but it still wasn’t stellar. Just past the halfway mark, Niagara’s Scott Fletcher was called for his check to the head of Logan Couture. The verdict was swift and firm: 5 and a game. He was done. So Ottawa was to enjoy a 5 minute power play – a good opportunity to go up by 2. Well, exactly 1 minute into the PP, Tyler Cuma gets called for elbowing so it was 4-on-4 for two minutes and what a sloppy 4-on-4 it was. Then Ottawa was back on the PP for the remaining 2 minutes of the 5 minute penalty to Fletcher. The IceDogs did a really good job of not only keeping the 67s from getting anything remotely dangerous to Loverock, but Stefan Legein managed to get sprung for a breakaway. Thankfully Adam stoned him!

At the end of the first period, Ottawa led by 1 but the IceDogs led on the shot clock: 12 shots to Ottawa’s 9.

Second Period:
Again, the second period started with an early scoring chance, this time by Thomas Nesbit and he managed to get a shot on net but the defender caught up and was able to reduce the danger. The IceDogs were playing aggressively and just over two and a half minutes into the period, they tied it up when Gianluca Caputi backhanded it over the shoulder of Courchaine. Stefan Legein and Joshua Day got the assists.

Ottawa was on the power play again and while Ottawa managed to get at least two shots on Loverock, the IceDogs played aggressively and had their own good scoring chances while shorthanded. One of the shots was saved by Adam’s mask! That musta hurt! Or at least sound loud.

At the 12:24 mark of the period, Gianluca Caputi put the dogs ahead with what looked like a weak shot that got through the wickets. I would think that Adam wants that one back. Alex Pietrangelo and Dylan MacEachern got the assists. Just over two minutes later, Thomas Nesbit tied it up when he picked up a pass from Jamie McGinn and beat Loverock. Logan Couture got the second assist.

Then Ottawa managed to get itself into a bit of penalty trouble. First Martin Paryzek ws called for cross checking. With great anticipation, Julien Demers intercepted an IceDogs pass from the point and started a short-handed rush up-ice. They didn’t manage to score but they chewed up time on the penalty. But then Thomas Kiriakou was called for tripping and the dogs had a 5-on-3 for 1:26. It only took them 40 seconds with the 2-man advantage to go ahead when Stefan Legein managed to put another one through the 5-hole. It was back to 5-on-4 for Niagara when Jamie managed a nice steal to break up the play. Niagara closed out the period on the penalty kill when Joshua Day was nabbed with 1:37 left in the period.

With two in the books it was 2 – 3 in favour of Niagara but Ottawa managed to move up on the shot clock: 23 – 19.

Third Period:
Ottawa started the period with a heart-stopping 23 seconds left in the Niagara penalty. Niagara won the face off so that took the edge of a bit. Nesbitt tried to feed the puck to Couture but they just couldn’t make the connection. The IceDogs then kept the 67s pinned in their own zone for the next 3 minutes culminating in their fourth goal of the night with – wait for it – another shot through the 5-hole. This time it was Andrew Agozzino with the help of Alex Pietrangelo. We were sitting at the other end of the ice and thought that Adam might have been screened on that one. But for those who are keeping track, at this point, Adam has allowed 4 goals on about 8, maybe 10 shots. Not good numbers.

Then Ottawa seemed to find its game. Thomas Kiriakou and Scott Cowie teamed up on a great scoring chance but Scott was stoned by Loverock! Then it was Niagara’s turn to get into penalty trouble. First Jordan Foreman was called on a slash on Bailey followed by a cross-checking call on Joshua Day. In the ensuing 5-on-3, Ottawa put 4 forwards on the ice with Tyler Cuma. Jamie McGinn pulled Ottawa within one with a goal that should be on a highlight reel. From what I recall, he faked like he was going around the back of the net and got everyone, including the goalie, moving to the other side when he managed to suck the puck back and tuck it in the open side. Beauty. Latta and Couture got the assists. Hope someone got in on film and we can see it on YouTube some day (nothing at the time of this writing).

Then the 67s turned up the pressure. Tye McGinn managed to work hard and draw a hooking penalty. Ottawa only managed 2 shots but they kept up some good pressure. Ottawa was getting the scoring chances but Loverock was holding down the fort. Then, with less than two minutes to play, Julien Demers fired a hard shot from the point that was right on target. Loverock let out the rebound and Jamie McGinn was right there to backhand it home to tie up the game! The score sheet credits Jason Bailey (yes the OHL site is up now) but I’m pretty sure it was Jamie McGinn. Demers and Couture got the assists.

After regulation play the score was knotted at 4 with Ottawa having increased its shots on goal: 39 – 26.

The 4-on-4 play started with the IceDogs keeping Ottawa in their own end but Scott Cowie managed to get sprung with the puck for a breakaway but was interfered with and was awarded a penalty shot. The crowd came to life and cheered Scott on but Loverock made the save. The rest of the overtime period was fast and exciting with good scoring chances by both teams but both goalies managed to get some body part in the way. Don’t know how they did it but they did.

At the end of overtime, it was still tied and the shots were 45 to 31 for Ottawa.

On to the shoot out:
Alex Pietrangelo: score
Logan Couture: x (don’t think he even hit the net)
Stefan Legein: x
Jamie McGinn: x (another miss of the net entirely)
Michael Swift: x
Tyler Cuma: x

So it ends on a shoot out with the Niagara IceDogs spoiling Ottawa’s home opener.

The final score: 5 – 4

Random thoughts:
  • Another fast exciting game even if it ended in a loss. At least Ottawa got one point for their efforts.
  • It didn’t start too well – waaaay too many missed passes and turnovers. Especially in their own end. Just was not crisp. It seemed that 2 out of 3 outlet pass attempts were intercepted.
  • Great effort though to come back from a two-goal deficit and tie the game up.
    The total skill level of this team seems to be better than in previous years. They are still a tad raw…but when they start really gelling, this will be really fun to watch. It’s fun now and will only get better.
  • Especially the power play – they just gotta get better on the power play. In the early going, Niagara had more offense while on the PK than they did at even strength. They play the PK very aggressively and expose the weaknesses of the PP of their opponents.
  • This batch of rookies is unbelievable. Martindale might want to think about sharing the puck a tad more but generally speaking, this crew works hard, has skills and is contributing. I think they are pushing some of the veterans which is great. It makes the willing players better and exposes the weaker ones. There are a few guys on the sidelines who might be a bit worried about their spots – with reason.
  • Killer rolled all four lines tonight, even when the team was down by two. I have no idea about coaching strategy – either in games or out of games but giving them ice time in tough situations appears to be working out. From my very rough calculations, the rookies were -2 and the vets even for the night.
  • With Ottawa having spoiled a couple of home openers last weekend, there might have been some need for balance in the cosmos thus the nail biter loss tonight. This was still a fun game to watch even if the outcome was not what we hoped for.
  • Refs were back to their old tricks – one set of rules for each period of play. Fortunately nothing got out of hand.
  • Speaking of refs, they sure didn’t hesitate at the first head shot. Given the heightened state of awareness, I am sure Branch issued a reminder of the OHL stand on this point. And it proves that a tough stance on shots to the head does not take the physicality out of the game. I thought we still had a good physical game with fair body contact and fast skilled play (when the skills were up to snuff). I really wish the NHL would go this way.
  • The spousal unit muttered all way home about hating shoot outs to decide an outcome.

Three Stars
1. Jamie McGinn (2 goals and an assist)
2. Logan Couture (3 assists – I’m not a fan of this selection. Logan was also the author of many a turn over. But he may be playing with sore ribs from the shot he took from Wallingford last Sunday.)
3. Alex Pietrangelo (Niagara 3 assists and the shoot out winner)

I think honourable mention should go to the Niagara goalie Andrew Loverock.

Hardest working 67s: Julien Demers (I thought that Scott Cowie owned this one)

Hope you are planning to attend the Ball Hockey tournament tomorrow (today now that I see the time). See you on Sunday when the Fronts are in town with revenge on their minds.

Go 67s Go!!

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