December 16, 2007

Major Weather and a Major Win Over St. Mikes: Ottawa Takes It 5 – 0

This afternoon’s set up:

Mississauga is playing their third game in as many days. Their two previous games were at home where they beat Owen Sound 5 – 3 on Friday and were then shut out by Sault Ste Marie yesterday 3 – 0. They are in 6th place in the conference with 35 points, same as Ottawa, but get the nod for having won one more game than Ottawa. Their record is 17-14-1-0, GF 97 and GA115. Their P10 is 7-3-0-0. Their big guns are Senator prospect Kaspars Daugavins with 37 points (19 goals), Casey Cizikas with 28 points (12 goals) and Kris Parre with 25 points (14 goals).

Ottawa has won their last 3 games by the hairs on their chinny chin chins, all one-goal games with two in the shoot out. They too have 35 points in 32 games with a record of 16-13-1-2, GF 109 and GA 114 and a P10 of 7-2-1-0.

This is the first of 4 scheduled matches between these two teams. On paper, these two teams are pretty evenly matched. Missy will want to bounce back from yesterday’s shutout. Ottawa will want to extend their winning streak and show that they don’t sleep through all their Sundays. Both want to head into the break on a winning note. And there’s the standings to boot.

Ottawa lineup news:
Ottawa is still sitting Matt Lahey with his shoulder injury. Martin Paryzek is at home in the Czech Republic looking forward to his WJHC opening match against Team Canada. Adam Courchaine got the call.

Mississauga lineup news:
Kaspars Daugavins is in Europe as a member of the Latvian WJHC team. Dylan O'Neil, Jeff Barletta and Jason Cassidy were scratches today (for reasons unknown to this blogger). Nepean native Chris Carrozzi started in goal.

Ottawa Lines:
Bailey, Couture, JMcGinn (until Couture was knocked out of the game)
Methot, Kiriakou, Nesbitt
Zamec, Lindsay, Latta
TMcGinn, Martindale, Carnevale

Defensive pairings:

Game Summary
Well, we put emergency provisions in the truck, dug the Sorrels out of the basement, locked into 4-wheet drive and broke trail up Bank Street to the Civic Centre for this afternoon’s game. Us and about 600 other true Canadians. Ahhh – winter is really here! (thankfully we have a snow blower to deal with a driveway that can park 6 vehicles).

Mississauga started with a jump – for all of about 2 minutes, getting the first rush and a shot on Courchaine that was denied. Then Ottawa took over. And they pretty much held court for the period although they were unable to score early. Ottawa had some shots on goal but the Majors just were not generating anything useful.

With about 15 minutes gone in the period, Tim Billingsley caught Logan Couture with his head down at center ice and nailed him hard. When he finally got up, he headed right for the dressing room – didn’t stop by the bench. In the meantime, Jason Bailey sought to avenge this insult on his assistant captain colleague but nothing much resulted. For his efforts Jason earned 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting and 10 minutes just because. Billingsley got 5 for fighting.

Ottawa did a really good job of keeping the Majors from getting anything organized. The Majors ended up with an icing call and from the ensuing face off in their own end, Thomas Nesbitt, with three Majors to keep him company, fed the puck to Jamie McGinn who was left all alone in front. He stuffed it blocker side to put the short handed goal (and what would turn out to be the game winning goal). That was with 4:10 left in the period.

As the clock was winding down for the first period, the referee signaled a delayed penalty against Mississauga. Courchaine skated to the bench and Jamie McGinn headed right for the front of the net where he picked up a rebound and again beat Chris Carozzi, this time glove side with 17 seconds left in the period. Zach McCullough and Thomas Kiriakou got the assists. Ottawa dominated that period, out shooting the Majors 14 – 3.

Jason Bailey spent a good chunk of the second period finishing his sentence in the sin bin and Logan Couture didn’t return so Kilrea had to juggle his lines. For the start of the period, I thought I saw Carnevale up with Lindsay and McGinn. St. Mikes was starting to get more shots on Courchaine but Adam was turning them all away. I thought that the referees were taking their time whistling some plays dead when Adam gloved the puck so he put it back in play several times.

As with the first period, all the scoring happened in the last 5 minutes of the period. Jamie McGinn notched his natural hat trick and 17th goal of the season just 44 seconds into the high sticking penalty by Zac Rinaldo. After Adam Courchaine stopped a Majors short handed opportunity, Tyler Cuma took possession and got the puck into the corner. Jason Bailey shot the puck around boards and Julien Demers pinched in to get it back in the corner where Jason Bailey got the puck to McGinn at the side of the net and he knocked the puck behind the goalie.

And again, in the dying seconds of the period, Thomas Kiriakou scored his 8th of the year on an odd-man rush by beating the Majors player to a puck that was cleared from the Ottawa zone. Matthieu Methot assisted on that one.

With two in the books, Ottawa still had a solid lead in shots on net: 26 – 16.

After a good penalty kill early in the period, including a good short handed opportunity by Methot, Ottawa didn’t play so well. Mississauga started getting their shots on Adam and Adam did his thing. But it also seemed that Mississauga was sufficiently snake bitten as they just could not get anything behind Courchaine. In one particular potential gift with Courchaine waaay out of position, Julien Demers was there to keep the puck out of the net. And then there was the good give-and-go between Cizikas and Sparre but Courchaine made the great to preserve his shut out. Finally, there was the iron. Nuthin’ doin’. Could not buy a goal.

In keeping with a theme, the final goal of the game was scored in the final 5 minutes of the game. A power play goal at 15:08 to be precise. With Justin Larson off for high sticking, Julien Demers scored his 4th of the season beating Carrozzi short side with a shot from the left point. Tyler Cuma and Ryan Martindale assisted.

St. Mikes finished on the power play but were unable to ruin Courchaine's shut out.

That’s how the game ended: 5 – 0 for Ottawa with final shots even at 33.

Three stars
1. Jamie McGinn (a short handed goal, a goal on a delayed penalty and a power play goal in a natural hat trick. Yup – that pretty much qualifies for a first star)
2. Adam Courchaine (first OHL shut out with 33 saves)
3. Julien Demers (goal and an assist)

Team 1200 hardest working 67s: Te Tyler Cuma (again)

Random Thoughts:

  • The referees today were local linesmen who were converted to refs as the scheduled OHL refs could not make it from Toronto – flight problems.
  • Ottawa certainly dominated today but I don’t think they were seriously challenged by a tired Mississauga team. As mentioned, it was their third game in as many days while the 67s rested yesterday. But it was still good to see them play a strong Sunday game.
  • Notwithstanding the above, this was an important win today. They vault from 7th place in the conference to 4th place tied with Barrie (!) and Niagara with 37 points but getting the nod due to having played fewer games
  • The 67s goalies have been particularly strong of late. Adam made several key saves today which was really good to see after the brief problems from Friday. He wasn’t sufficiently spooked to keep him from leaving the crease. And he earned his first OHL shut out. Congrats Adam.
  • Nice to see the team picking up their play and breaking on a winning streak – including some really tight games.
  • Congratulations to all the fans that braved the weather to be there. You could hear the laughs when the official attendance was announced at 7184. Now that was hard evidence that tickets sold does not equate to attendance. I would hazard a guess closer to 600 – 700 max.
  • Wonder if Eugene was here to see his team. He’s in town. Would be a tough day for someone softened by the Caribbean climate of Barbados.

That’s the last game before the Christmas break. The boys will be heading home for some quality time with their families. The next game is on December 28th when Ottawa will be hosting the Belleville Bulls. God willing and the creek don’t rise, I should be back from out west for the game. It’s my travel day so circumstances may conspire against a timely arrival in Ottawa. I was hoping to catch a game of the returning Edmonton Oil Kings (their last year was when I was in high school) but they will be on the road.

Hope that the Mississauga St. Michaels Majors have a safe and uneventful trip home.

Here’s wishing a wonderful and safe Christmas to everyone.

Finally, Merry Christmas from a few of your favorite 67s players!!
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Go 67s Go!

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