November 24, 2007

Ottawa 4 – Niagara 2

No time for a clever title and I didn’t have time to do a pre-game set up. Coming into the game Niagara was 5th in the conference with 25 points and Ottawa was 6th with 20. But Niagara was on a 5-game losing streak and having missed a few players due to injuries.

Ottawa was home again for the weekend hoping for a better record than last week.

Both teams had players on the roster of the ADT Canada Russia Challenge game that was played yesterday in Kitchener. So team mates one night and rivals the next were: Luca Caputi, Stefan Legein, Alex Pietrangelo, and Matt Corrente for Niagara and Logan Couture, Jamie McGinn and Tyler Cuma. The OHL team won the game. Team OHL won the game. Couture, Caputi and Legein all contributed assists. Legein, Piertrangelo, Couture and Cuma will play the second OHL game in Sudbury on Monday.

The Buzz (not referring to Buzzy-Boo-Bear from Team1200)
Alex Pietrangelo is expected to go high in next year’s NHL draft – currently pegged in the top 5.

Ottawa lineup news:
Chris Cowie and Jason Bailey were today’s scratches again. Adam Courchaine started between the pipes.

Niagara lineup news:
Scratches for tonight: Stephan Ceccanese, Vladimir Bessonov, Jay Gilbert, Chris Van Laren, Jason Bergeron (injury) Aaron Snow and goal tender Lucas Lobsinger (injury). Andrew Loverock was in net. Matt Corrente was returning to the ice after serving an 8-game suspension.

Ottawa Lines to start the game:
Couture, JMcGinn, Lahey (yes – that’s Jamie at centre)
Methot, Latta, Nesbitt
Martindale, Kiriakou, Zamec
TMcGinn, Lindsay, Carnevale

Defensive pairings (in no particular order):
Ryan/ McCullough

First Period
The game started getting physical right away with Michael Latta getting stood up pretty firmly by Matt Corrente at the Niagara blue line on the first play of the game. Ottawa quickly got its first PP of the night when Luca Caputi was called for playing with a broken stick (pretty good catch by the ref). Niagara played their PK pretty aggressively and didn’t allow Ottawa to get organized at all. The IceDogs sprung Legein on stretch passes but the puck slid off his stick to foul up his scoring chance. At the end of two minutes, Ottawa didn’t manage a single shot on goal.

The 67s were not playing well defensively and in the first five minute the shots were 6 – 0 for Niagara. Courchaine kept them out of the net.

Then it was Niagara’s turn on the PP when Carnevale was called for tripping. Niagara used 4 forwards on their PP but the 67s did a good job of defending – only allowing 1 shot through.

Then, for some reason that was not obvious to us, Nesbitt and Chris DeSousa dropped the gloves and went at it. There were some solid shots by both but the call goes to Thomas Nesbitt. They both were sent off for 5 minutes to feel shame.

Both teams were trying to open it up with long stretch passes and both teams were playing strong defense to breakup scoring chances. But I thought the person running the shot clock was being a tad stingy with the count.

It seemed that one play that the IceDogs tried consistently was for Legein to cheat up ice to wait for a stretch pass – even on the PKs. Ottawa caught on pretty quickly and was doing a good job of anticipating the pass and breaking up the play.

Ottawa finally broke the ice at 12:03 in the period when Cody Lindsay slide a pass through the crease and pretty much hit Jon Carnevale’s stick for the re-direction into the net. Tye McGinn got the second assist.

Then Matt Lahey had his game seriously shorted when, in the process of breaking up a Niagara breakout, Lahey was trying to scoop up a pass that was not quite right on and Scott Fletcher decked him with an elbow to the head. Lahey was kneeling on the ice with his head in his hands for a while. Patafie (the 67s team trainer) went to the ice and it took a while to assess the damage and get Matt up. It looked like he had a nasty nose bleed (at least) and he left the ice – and did not return to the game. Fletcher was assessed 5 for the hit to the head and a game misconduct. I think this generates a review by the league.

So Ottawa went on its second PP of the night – a 5-minute advantage with 6:55 to go in the period. Zamec was set up at least twice right in front of the goalie, one of which was an absolute gift that he could not get his stick on and another that he missed by not paying attention. About 2 minutes into the 5-minute PP, the whole PP appeared to break down – like Ottawa just couldn’t sustain the attack. But Ottawa finally made good on the advantage when Adam Zamec, from behind the net, found Cody Lindsay alone in slot and Lindsay found the back of the net. Mathieu Methot got the second assist on Ottawa’s second goal of the game.

Ottawa was still on PP but didn’t do any damage.

With 1:09 left in the period, Alex Pietrangelo was called for high sticking and Ottawa was back on the PP. Again, the IceDogs managed to make a quick transition by getting control of the puck and springing Legein for a breakaway. Julien Demers did a solid job of playing Legein and essentially moving him and the puck out of harm’s reach.

The first 20 minutes ended with Ottawa up by two (2 – 0) but slightly out-shot (10 – 13).

Second Period
This is when my seat neighbor noticed that McGinn was taking all the face offs. Kept watching and sure ‘nuff, he was. Things that make you go hmmmmm. We also noted that Lahey had not returned. So both teams continued the game with a shortened bench (Fletcher having been ejected and Lahey with an injury).

Ottawa also started with a 51 second PP as Pietrangelo continued to serve his sentence for an unauthorized use of his stick. Well, the period had hardly started when Niagara’s Nathan Swift and out own Thomas Nesbitt had a little set-to. Looked pretty even but Nesbitt gets the call as he eventually dropped Swift. For the record, Michael Swift is one of the IceDogs overagers (already 20 years old) and he took on a 17 year old. In the spirit of full disclosure, Nesbitt has a couple of inches on Swift and about 25lbs (if you believe the roster information). Both were sent off for 5 for fighting.

Back to the PP – nothing of note beyond the tilt happened.

No sooner were we done with that, then Niagara was on the PP with Cody Lindsay off for a very questionable call for hooking.

Note that all of the above action took place within the first 1:30 of the game!

Well, the team did a dandy job on the PK and the dogs didn’t get a single shot through!

Then it was Ottawa back on the PP (the refs were calling everything that moved!!) on a Niagara tripping call. Ottawa managed a couple of shots on Loverock but again, the scary scoring chance came with the IceDogs once again springing Legein and generating a 2-on-1 breakaway. The pass was too far and the scoring chance was defeated.

Finally we got some 5-on-5 hockey and, with 6:15 gone in the period, Jamie McGinn batted a rebound out of the air to put Ottawa up 3 – 0. Logan Couture and Thomas Nesbitt got the assists.

I don’t often speak of the non-scoring plays of the defensemen. Well, Radim Ostrcil was having a good time of it, especially in the second period when he was giving Stefan Legein no room to move. In a matter of a few minutes, I saw him lay a couple of good, solid, fair hits on Legein to let him know that they had his number.

At the mid-way point of the game, we finally got the eruption we were expecting. I could not see it clearly from my seat but it appeared that Matt Corrente cross-checked Methot deep in the Niagara zone. Cody Lindsay didn’t think much of this and took action. Fully imbued with the team spirit (and probably itching for something to hit), it looks like Michael Latta decided a little cross-check tit-for-tat was in order and Niagara’s Chris DeSousa had some rough love for someone. Everyone paired off but nothing more happened. The combatants were sent to their respective corners to cool their jets. 4 in the boxes - all off-setting minors.

Then Radim Ostrcil was called for tripping and Ottawa was back on the PK. The IceDogs managed a couple of shots but were unable to score.

Then, with 7:14 left in the period, behind the Niagara net, Tyler Cuma and Andrew Merrett decided to dance. As far as the fight itself goes, it was an uneventful draw. As far as the impact goes, the IceDogs won this hands down as both were assessed 2 for roughing, 5 for fighting and 10-minute misconducts. With Cuma off the ice for 17 minutes, Ottawa clearly paid the higher price. They had to evict some players out of both penalty boxes to make room for the more recent arrivals.

Ottawa continued to stymie Niagara’s efforts to get back in the game and after 40 minutes it was 3 – 0 for Ottawa with the shots 18 – 23 for Niagara.

Third Period
Niagara was determined to get back in this game and came out strong in the third. Before a minute had passed, Stefan Legein broke out for a scoring chance but Courchaine made the save! But when Adam Zamec failed an easy chance to clear the puck, Chris DeSousa put the IceDogs on the board with assists from Barry Sanderson and Alex Pietrangelo. Zamec found himself immediately pinned to the bench – right in the middle of the shift as Jon Carnevale was sent out to replace him.

Niagara continue to press hard with an aggressive fore-check and Ottawa continued being unable to clear their zone. With 4:58 gone in the period, Barry Sanderson shoved a loose puck through the legs of Courchaine to make it a one-goal game. He was unassisted on the goal.

Yikes – now we were getting nervous – all the momentum was with Niagara and they were keeping Ottawa fairly pinned. Ottawa run up a long string of icing calls (good thing they are still allowed to make changes on an icing call) and Courchaine made some spectacular saves – including one off his mask that damaged the mask. Repairs could not be made quickly so he had to use Chris Perugini’s mask instead.

Ottawa had its chances to press and McGinn paid the price with his face. Pressing in the Niagara zone, (I didn’t catch the name of the player) the Niagara player attempted to flip the puck up out of his zone. It just so happened that Jamie McGinn’s face was right in the way and he went down like a ton of bricks. Again, Patafie was on the ice tending to another bleeding 67s player. It took a while to assess the damage and get Jamie up on his feet. He went straight to the dressing room and Zamec returned to the ice for an opportunity for redemption (borne more out of need that out of forgiveness). Before the faceoff took place, the players were looking for something on the ice. McGinn’s teeth perhaps? (ouch!!).

Ottawa continued with some unnecessary icing but there were also some really good transition plays. McGinn made it back to the bench with 4:21 left in the period. With 1:15 left in the period and another faceoff in Ottawa’s zone due to an icing call, Niagara called a time out and when play resumed, Loverock was on the bench for the extra attacker.

Ottawa lost the faceoff but eventually was able to get the puck out and with the extra effort, Thomas Kiriakou made it across the blue line and back handed a shot that found the empty net with 48 seconds remaining. Tyler Cuma got the assist.

So, Ottawa survived a resurging IceDogs team to hand onto a 4 – 2 win. Final shots were 31 – 37 for the Dogs.

Three stars:
1. Adam Courchaine (35 saves and a number of them were brilliant game savers)
2. Cody Lindsay (goal, assist and a couple of good tilts)
3. Barry Sanderson (Niagara – goal and an assist)

Team 1200 hardest working 67s: akk! I forget!! Edit: Thanks to Elizabeth for telling me that it was Thomas Nesbitt who was recognized as the Hardest Working 67s!

Blitzen’s rate the anthem singer: Full marks!! It was a constable from a Belleville (?) detachment. His mike was not working but his voice still carried. We might have all gone deaf had his mike worked. Many in the audience sang with him. He can be invited back!

Random Thoughts:

  • During the warm-up the IceDogs looked entirely indifferent to the exercise. I could imagine more enthusiasm for a dental appointment.
  • The club had live musicians play to the pre-game video. I thought they were great and it worked really well. Nice touch.
  • In the third period, it looked like the 67s were panicking a bit when trying to clear the zone. They must have iced the puck 8 times unnecessarily. A half-second more to slow it down and ensure a sustained exit out of the zone might have worked.
  • The IceDogs were just a half-second, half-step away for some really solid scoring chances. For the break-aways that they got, thank goodness Courchaine had a solid night.
  • Our defensive game suffered when Cuma was in the penalty box for 17 minutes. Niagara scored both goals during his time out. Not that he would have been on the ice the whole time, but 17 minutes is a long time to lose him both on the ice and the adjustments that are necessary to fill the gap. So don’t do that again please. You’re a smart kid – apply them brains next time some third liner wants to take you on.

Next game on Sunday against Kingston.

Go 67s Go!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hardest Working 67 was Nesbitt with 2 scraps and an assist