October 20, 2007

Oh for Pete’s Sake!!

An unusually warm Friday night in the Nation’s Capital and we’re doing what we usually do – sitting in the Civic Centre for another 67s game.

The 67s come into tonight’s game having lost the last three games and having slipped to 4th place in the Division with a record of 5-4-0-2. Quite the fall from their very brief stint in the CHL top 10 teams in the country.

Vince Mallet, the one-time assistant coach in Ottawa, brings his Peterborough Petes to town enjoying a two game winning streak and a record of 6-2-0-1.

Ottawa lineup news:
Jordan Gallea, Thomas Nesbitt (shoulder) and Jason Bailey (mono) were scratches. Adam Courchaine started in net. Killer started the game with his 3rd line.

Peterborough Petes lineup news:
Chad Lowry, Justin Soryal, Mike Ryan, Tyler Sheldrake and Derek Holden were scratches. Trevor Cann started in net.

Ottawa Lines:
JMcGinn, Couture, Latta
Methot, Lindsay, Lahey
Cowie, Kiriakou, Carnevale
TMcGinn, Martindale, MacDougall

Defensive pairings:

First Period:
The Petes got the first of 10 penalties of the night just 26 seconds in to the game when they were caught on a bad line change with too many men on the ice. In the ensuing power play, we got a glimpse of what to expect as Ottawa managed to get only one shot through to Cann during the two minute advantage. It wasn’t long after when Ottawa was on the penalty kill when Tyler Cuma was called for hooking. Not only did Ottawa limit the Petes to one shot on goal, McGinn and Couture generated a great short-handed opportunity that they just couldn’t close on.

Then the Petes got themselves into a pile of penalty trouble, racking up three penalties pretty much back to back starting with about 7 minutes played into the period. The Petes played a very aggressive penalty kill, challenging the puck handlers hard and pressing when the play went into the Ottawa zone. In the 4 minutes and 12 seconds minutes with the extra man, the 67s generated some scoring chances with their 9 shots on goal and finally it paid off 12 seconds into the 4th PP of the period when Cody Lindsay finished a beautiful passing play from Matt Lahey and Martin Paryzek and beat Cann high with a backhand.

The period ended after Ottawa successfully killed another penalty, allowing the Petes only one shot to get to Courchaine.

After 20 minutes Ottawa had the lone goal and led in the shot count 14 – 7.

Second Period:
The Petes came out fast while the 67s looked flat and the Petes took just 20 seconds to take advantage and tie the game up. Adam made the first save (don’t recall who took the shot) but no one cleared the puck and Zach Harnden scored his 4th goal of the year with the assistance of John Armstrong. This was clearly the result of a collective defensive brain cramp of all the 67s on the ice (Adam excluded).

Ottawa went on the power play for the 5th time when the ref finally had to call John Armstrong after he had taken a number of hacks at Radim Ostrcil. But, once again, Ottawa could not take advantage on this nor the second power play they would get in the period. Ottawa could barely get organized in the Petes’ zone much less threaten to score.

On the other hand, Peterborough found its stride and with Logan Couture in the sin bin for holding the opponent’s stick (a penalty that he took while in their offensive zone on the power play and thus ended the power play). Latvian import Arturs Kulda scored pretty much into an open net with the helpers going to Kenzie Sheppard and Brett Theberge.

The Petes rounded out their scoring for the period when John Armstrong notched his third of the year with assistance of the Slovakian native, Branislav Rehus and Zach Harnden.
With their 3 unanswered goals on 12 shots in the period, Peterborough went to the dressing room with the score 3 -1 in their favour while Ottawa out shot them 23 – 19.

Third Period
Well, some of us weren’t very hopeful for this period. And it didn’t get much more hopeful when Scott Cowie was called early for tripping. But the penalty killers did what they are supposed to do and they came out of it without allowing a goal.

Then Peterborough was assessed its 7th penalty of the game for delay of game (puck over the glass) and in 12 short seconds, Logan Couture fed Julien Demers in the high slot and Julien wired a fast one past Cann. Michael Latta was credited with the second assist. The momentum was with Ottawa and they played like they planned to win.

And Jamie McGinn brought them closer to that objective when his weak shot from the face-off circle to Cann’s right somehow trickled through the wickets to tie the game!! Logan Couture and Martin Paryzek assisted.

The 67s carried the game to the Petes and caused them to earn yet another trip to the feel-shame-go-free spot when Zach Bogosian was called for holding. During the ensuing power play, Zach Harnden lost his stick and when the puck came to him, not only did he cover it with his glove, he picked it up and tried to throw it clear (and in the process managed to lose his glove as it went with the puck). Who did he think he was – Martin Gerber??

But with a 5-on-3 for 20 seconds, and 5-on-4 for 1:40, Ottawa could not close the deal. In fact, they almost gave it away with a lousy line change and a weak defensive play by Cuma allowed a Petes player (didn’t get the number), to get to Courchaine and threaten to score.

The Petes started playing the trap and Ottawa could not get out of their zone. This lead to a turn over by Logan Couture in his own end that ended up on John Armstrong’s stick and resulted in a bullet beating Adam. It was John’s second of the night and 4th for the year.
This put the Petes ahead with just over 3 minutes left in the game.

Ottawa didn’t give up and put the pressure on the Petes and the Petes responded with their 10th penalty of the night with 1:28 left to play. Ottawa managed to get control of the play and pulled the goalie. Ottawa generated a couple of great scoring chances but Cann and his crew were outstanding!

The game ended with the Petes earning their 3rd straight win and Ottawa skating to their 4th straight loss.

Final score 4 – 3 for the Petes while Ottawa still had more shots: 38 – 22.

Random thoughts:
  • The Petes really played a really strong, hard hitting, defense-first game and their patience paid off. Vince is clearly doing something right.
  • It seemed like the 67s played really hard at times but not for 60 minutes and they just could not finish anything, including their hits.
  • Not sure if the performance issues lie with the players or whether we should be looking at the coach to accept more of the responsibility. Sure we could probably use some better skilled players at a couple of positions (I’m not convinced by Wynn for example), and they are a bit short forward now with both Bailey and Nesbitt out (too bad Ribeiro burned his bridges), but maybe the coach is well past his best-before date. And we have to remember that the same guy is the GM so he is also responsible for the mix of talent available to ice. I know that this is an annual debate – one I have largely avoided out of respect for Kilrea but as I see younger coaches making big differences with their teams, I wonder when he will realize his own limits. I don't find mediocre results to be all that entertaining. I don’t expect the team to win all the time but another .500’ish year will be a drag and will have a bearing on my decision to renew. It will be criminal to waste our last year of the Couture – McGinn combo. We have the talent to compete better; what impact is the coach having on developing their their individual and collective skills?
  • Section 22 was pretty much taken over by a large crowd of young folks – some wearing Carleton Engineering coveralls. As they were rocking the arena, some of us were wondering whether these engineering students were aware of the structural damage that already exists in the facility!

Three Stars
1. Trevor Cann (Petes 35 saves)
2. Martin Paryzek (2 assists)
3. John Armstrong (2 goals and an assist)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67s: Cody Lindsay

Blitzen’s Rate the Anthem: 0 stars for the official singer (actually minus 4 stars – I could not suppress my painful groans – gawd that was awful); 4 stars for the Carleton students. I think the objective was to drown out the caterwauling taking place at centre ice.

Ya – I’m crabby; it was a long week (with more of the same to come) and I’m disappointed.
Maybe Sunday will be better.

Go 67s Go!!

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