October 06, 2007

Oh Shoot!

Friday night of the Thanksgiving long weekend and we are once again in the Ottawa Civic Centre – tonight to see the Brampton Battalion. Ottawa was an ungracious visitor on the opening weekend of the season, having gone into the Brampton barn and beating the home team. Brampton has won their other 3 games of the season and sit in second place in their division. This will be Brampton’s only game for the weekend.

Ottawa changes:
Ottawa scratches for today: Matt MacDougall, Tye McGinn, James Craig (is he still on the team – he’s listed on the OHL roster), Jordan Gallea and Matt Ribeiro who is pouting at home waiting for a trade. Matt Lahey and Radim Ostrcil were back in the line up having recovered from their injuries (knee and wrist respectively). Adam Courchaine got the call between the pipes.

Brampton changes:
Jarolsav Hertl, Conor O’Donnoell, Thomas Middup, Mike Lomas and Bryan Pitten (injuryed during his time in camp with the Oilers). Adam Foote dressed as backup goalie while Carp native Patrick Killeen started in net for the guys in the ugly green jerseys (just had to mention it).

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

Defensive pairings:

First Period:
The Crazy-8s were reunited for the first time this season and the top line started by drawing a quick penalty when Luke Lynes was called for hooking Jamie McGinn at the offensive blue line. Killer left his top line on the ice to start the power play but no one could generate a real scoring chance. Both teams registered a shot on goal during the 2 minutes. Then it was quickly Ottawa’s turn to play shorthanded as Wynn was called for hooking. The usual number 1 PK unit of Kiriakou, Cowie, Demers and Cuma did what was expected of them – including a solid hit by Cuma Bobby Sanguinetti in the corner. The Battalion were limited to two shots while Ottawa managed one of their own.

It was shaping up to be a pretty defensive game – after 7 minutes the total shots on goal were 7 (3 for Ottawa and 4 for Brampton).

Kiriakou is one of my favourite players (and I’m so glad he got an A this year) because of how hard he works. Ottawa had earned (!) its second penalty of the night when Michael Latta was called for cross-checking. Again, the number 1 PK unit was on the ice and Kiriakou pressed hard in the Brampton defensive zone and forced Matt Duchene to hook him and put the play to 4-on-4.

Both teams continued to play strong defensively and limit the scoring chances and the pace picked up in the final minutes of the period but neither team could score.

The period ended without any scoring; the shots on goal were 7 – 10 for Brampton.

Second Period:
Brampton started the period strong and put some serious pressure on Ottawa. Courchaine did his bit to keep the team in the game, including a great save on a 1-timer from Cody Hodgson from the faceoff circle to Adam’s right!

Finally Ottawa opened up the scoring during 4-on-4 play when Logan was parked on Killeen’s doorstep to bang home the rebound off Tyler Cuma’s shot from the point. Captain McGinn got the other assist.

Then Brampton put on the pressure and again, it was Adam making the big saves to protect the lead including 3 quick saves as the 67s lost possession behind the net and Brampton took advantage. Brampton continued to keep the play in Ottawa’s zone but Ottawa did a great job of not letting Brampton really set up.

As we approached the mid-point the shots had crept up to 13 – 16 for Brampton.

But they were unable to hold the Battalion off forever. Less than 6 minutes after Logan’s go-ahead goal Cody Hodgson was left alone in front of Adam and was able to pot the rebound off of a Brad Albert shot.

The fast play generated some good transitions and the occasional odd-man rush. Both teams worked hard to back-check and bust up the scoring chances.

Ottawa earned its fifth penalty of the game with less than 5 minutes left in the period when Sean Ryan was called for boarding but the boys did what they are supposed to do and the guys in the ugly green jerseys were not able to convert.

So, after 40 minutes of pretty exciting hockey, the teams were tied at 1 and the shots were 14 – 22 for Brampton.

Third Period
Again, Brampton started with more energy and more determination and kept Ottawa on its heels early. Then Logan was called for tripping and Ottawa was back on the PK. The first PK unit did its thing but it was the second unit, McGinn and Lindsay with Cuma and Demers that made the difference. Jamie picked Bobby Sanguinetti’s pocket in the neutral zone and beat a leaning Killeen on the short side to score a SHORT HANDED GOAL!!! He was unassisted on that slick move. Waydago Jamieeeeee!

Well, that was short lived (no pun intended) as Ben Alavie, with Brampton, still on the PP, walked right past Sean Ryan and beat Adam with a backhander. Jason Dale and Alexander Eriksson got the assists.

Ottawa got another PP opportunity at about the halfway mark but Brampton’s aggressive PK pressure absolutely derailed Ottawa – they were completely unable to mount anything remotely resembling an offense. I don’t think they even made it into the offensive zone!

In one of its subsequent scoring chances, Logan chased a pass that was eventually covered by Killeen. Logan might have snowed Killeen a bit but he certainly didn’t come remotely close to crashing the goalie. But John de Gray took exception and gave Logan a bit of a shove. Logan didn’t do too much in retaliation but a scrum ensued and de Gray and Couture were sent off to their respective sin bins. This took one of our key players off the ice; I have no idea what material value de Gray brought to the party. So it’s unclear to me which team actually came out ahead but I’ll bet you a beverage of your choice that we lost the better player.

Nothing material happened in the ensuing 4-on-4 play and neither team could break the logjam in the remaining time.

At the end of regulation, tied at 2 with SOGs 28 – 32 for the guys in the ugly green jerseys.
So, for the third time in row, it was on to….

Killer rolled Kiriakou/Cowie, McGinn/Couture and at least once of Methot/Bailey (I may have missed a shift or two). The Ds were Cuma/Demers (and I missed the other ones – sorry – I was watching but not noting).

Back and forth, up and down, blah, blah, blah. After 5 minutes, Ottawa had not managed to generate a single scoring chance while Brampton had two shots that Adam managed quite well.

And so, again, for the third time in a row, it was …..

On to the shoot out:

Brampton Bobby Sanguinetti X
Ottawa Logan Couture SCORE!!
Brampton Luke Lynes score (ick)
Ottawa Jamie McGinn X (betrayed by the post!)
Brampton John Hughes score (sigh!)
Ottawa Cody Lindsay X

Brampton wins in the shoot out

The final score: 2 – 3

Random thoughts:
  • That third line did some gritty work along the boards. I like really that hard working line – lots of confidence when they are on the ice. May not be a scoring machine but they look like a shut-down line to me (but what the heck do I know).
  • Did I mention that Latta seems to have some skill handling the puck? There were some awesome displays that looked like he had it on a string.
  • It seemed like the 67s played the OT period to not lose as opposed to win. Just a thought.
  • Both goalies made some terrific saves.
  • Ryan Martindale was recognized for his academic achievements for the month. That advisor looked like a midget next to him. Congrats Ryan – school is important!
  • Cuma really had a good game tonight. He always has a good game but tonight seemed especially good. He is one to watch move up the draft rankings.
  • Welcome back to the ice Radim and Matt!
  • Really like our two guys from Europe – they are both playing really strongly.
  • Less slap shots – more wristers please.
  • Talk about building confidence in the goal keeping tandem!
  • We need a name for the number one PK unit. Suggestions welcome! (I lack the imagination to come up with something myself).
  • The Battalion had the extra defender tonight – the goal posts.
  • Another game that was fast, exciting, fun to watch, with hits ‘n all without being dirty, dangerous or damaging. Why major junior hockey is great entertainment value.
  • Brampton has a player named Christmas, guess what number he wears? Born in June – a December birth date would have been too cool.
  • Need to break out one of the game worn jerseys – need to bring some extra karma to the rink to break out of this shoot-out rut.
  • Did I mention that the Brampton jerseys are ugly?
  • Still ranting about the anthem. Why is it that a professional performer like Jim Cuddy gets it and these aspiring folks don’t? At the Leafs’ season opener, he sang the anthem perfectly – most folks could have joined in and he didn’t try to make it other than what it is. Lynden Slewedge is still THE BEST anthem singer in North America. To the 67s organization, please give this girl some advice. I couldn’t sing the anthem tonight and it didn’t feel good.

Three Stars
1. Adam Courchaine (32 saves – not counting the shoot out)
2. Patrick Killeen (26 saves – not counting the shoot out)
3. Jamie McGinn (short handed goal and an assist)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67s: Radim Ostrcil
Blitzen’s Hardest working 67s: Thomas Kiriakow (in consultation with Theognete).

Big game on Sunday with the Soo Greyhounds coming to town. Recently ranked the number 1 team in the CHL and new home of former 67s Aaron Alphonso. Don’t forget to take in the War on Ice on Sunday before the 67s game on Sunday.

Go 67s Go!!

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