December 15, 2007

Much Much Closer than it Needed To Be: Ottawa wins 6 – 5 in the Shoot Out

Let me set you up for the game.

Coming into the game, this is Peterborough’s second game in as many nights as they lost to the Plymouth Whalers 5 – 2 in their own barn. They sit in 8th place in the Eastern Conference with 25 points in 31 games, their record being 12-18-0-1, GF of 84 (37 on the PP) and GA 122 (49 allowed during PK). They are also the second most penalized team in the conference with 731 penalty minutes which works out to about 23.5 minutes a game. With all that practice at killing penalties one might think they could be better than 15th in the league. Peterborough is also the youngest team in the league and they dress 5 16-year olds.

Ottawa comes in after a 2 – 1 shoot out victory in Belleville on Wednesday night where Courchaine put in a strong performance and Couture and Zamec made good in the shoot out. The 67s remain in 7th place in the conference with 33 points in 31 games, their record being 15-13-102, GF 103 (35 on the PP) and GA 109 (34 during the PK). Their PP is 15th in the league while their PK is 10th. The total goals for Ottawa in their last two wins: 3.

This is game 3 of the 8 scheduled games between these two clubs and Peterborough has won both previous contests by one goal. Peterborough is riding a two-game losing streak while Ottawa puts a two-game winning streak on the line. One of these will be broken tonight (now there’s a profound insight – I should get paid for this stuff!).

Ottawa lineup news:
Matt Lahey still out with his shoulder and Martin Paryzek is back in the Czech Republic having been invited to try out for their WJHC team. Adam Courchaine started the game.

Peterborough lineup news:
Players John Armstrong and Bobby Davey and Assistant Coach Darren Keily are serving suspensions for pretty much losing it when their team was getting seriously whupped by the Oshawa Generals on December 7th (10 – 0), and Justin Soryal is serving his first of two games for essentially being a huge jerk at the game last night. Also, one of their top guns, Zach Bogosian sat out with a nasty hip-pointer. Finally, Arturs Kulda is off to join up with the Latvian World Junior Team. Former Ottawa 67s, Pat Daley is the Pete’s 3rd best scorer with 23 points (17 goals). The goalie for tonight, the really big 17-year old Jason Missiaen (6’7” and 200lbs!!).

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

Defensive pairings:

Game Summary
Well, this game turned out to be closer than it needed to be. Peterborough played with 5 key players out of their line-up, including two of their top three scorers. In the pre-game interview with Buzz Kilpatrick, Vince Malette admitted that they were not in the best of positions to be in but he also said that all season he has been encouraging his team to always play hard. And that they did.

Peterborough started the game fairly strong including a solid power play. Although they were unable to score, they managed to keep the 67s in their end for most of the two minutes and got 4 shots on Courchaine. The hard work paid off when, just after the PP ended, Yves Bastien opened the scoring on an odd-man rush beating Courchaine glove side. Jack Walchessen and Zach Harnden got the assists

And they continued dominating the 67s as they quickly doubled up on shots: 8 – 4.

But ya know, it‘s not just about quantity, it’s about quality and on just their 6th shot on the night, Logan Couture made a nice move around a Pete defender and beat Missian high on the glove side to tie up the game. Ottawa D-men Julien Demers and Tyler Cuma got the assists.

But Ottawa could not sustain and Peterborough kept playing with intensity. Too many turnovers and passes that were going no where. Peterborough was just out-skating and out-playing Ottawa but just like Vince Malette said in the pre-game interview, sometimes hard work does not get rewarded and it certainly happened that way in the first period.

With just 29.8 seconds left in the period, Thomas Nesbitt scored his 7th goal of the season when he sniped one between the blocker and pad and gave Ottawa a one-goal lead. Thomas Kiriakou got the assist for starting the whole thing with a neutral-zone interception.

This is how a goalie feels getting scored on with just 30 seconds left in the period. Like the air was let out of his tires.

The referees were not so good tonight. Among the missed calls was an early second period stick to the head of Jamie McGinn that knocked his helmut off – no call. In fact, when the play continued down into the Peterborough zone, Thomas Kiriakou was nailed with a very questionable interference call. The Ottawa penalty killers did a dandy job keeping the Petes to the outside. No shots got through.

Less than 10 seconds after the penalty was over, Matthieu Methot scored his 9th of the season when Radim Ostrcil fed the puck to Cody Lindsay who carried it over the blue line and fired a shot on Missian that was stopped but Matthieu Methot was there to bang the puck home as it sat in the blue paint just waiting to be rescued. Ottawa was now up by 2! Time of the goal: 3:12 of the second period.

Then Ottawa turned it on. They kept up the pressure and kept putting the shots on Missian (that he kept saving). In the dying seconds of their first power play opportunity of the game, Peterborough had managed to clear the puck from their zone. Zach McCullough’s breakout pass connected beautifully with Cody Lindsay who skated in on the breakaway and roofed it to make it 4 – 1 for Ottawa! Time of the goal 7:21.

So far, this period had been all Ottawa. By the half-way mark of the period, Peterborough had managed only 1 shot on goal.

But, despite having been out-played for most of the period, this young and depleted Petes team was not giving up…not at all. They came to life in the final 5 minutes of the period, putting pressure and shots on the 67s. Finally their hard work was rewarded with 3:37 left when Pat Daley beat Courchaine with a shot that came from against the grain. Chad Lowry and Kenzie Sheppard got the assists. This cut the 67s’ lead in half.

So now we turn to the final chapter of this little drama on ice. The story so far has young team without its big guns playing a plucky game against a relatively healthy and complete divisional rival. They drew first blood, then allowed four goals but dug deep to get one back near the end of the second frame. Oooohh – what twist in the plot awaited the faithful fans (and anxious coaches)?

Well, a whole lotta “what the heck happened here” happened! It all started relatively normal with one team sitting on a two-goal lead and the other one wanting to change that. Both teams were working hard and getting shots on the other goalie.

Then, in what has to be acknowledged as the brain cramp of the game (if not the month), with 8:49 left in the game, Adam Courchaine made a terrible, terrible mistake. He went behind his net to retrieve the puck and made a blind pass to…..no one! A Petes player was right there and before Adam could recover, the puck was over the line. The sound of collective deflation filled the arena. Call-up replacement Josh McQuaid accepted this first OHL goal gift. He should at least send Adam a Christmas card or a thank you note.

Courchaine was obviously seriously rattled by this awful miscue as Peterborough tied up the game on the very next shot on goal 11 seconds later. Mike Ryan got his first goal with an assist going to Liam Heelis. This game was now tied with 8:39 left to play.

Do ya think that this turn of events gave the Petes a bit of a lift? Hell ya!

Kilrea did the right thing and put Chris Perugini in net.

The drama was building, the plucky team that could actually did – they tied the game. How was the home team going to respond? Well, they were a little rattled at first but, like the cliché says, your best guys gotta be your best guys and our top line did just that. With 7 minutes left in the period, Logan Couture recovered the puck off a blocked shot from Jamie McGinn and deftly stick handled it until Missian was committed and beat him with the back hand on the glove side. Tyler Cuma got the other assist.

Then Ottawa got a power play and played strong – getting 6 shots on Missian to give themselves a bit of a cushion but none found the back of the net.

Then, like all good stories, the tension kept building. With only 1:41 left in the period, the guy who opened the regulation scoring, made it a pair of bookends with the final goal of regulation. Yup, Yves Bastien got his second of the game and 5th of the season beating Perugini to tie it up once again. Jack Walchessen, Zach Tatrn got the assists.

And that’s how regulation ended: Tied at 5 with Ottawa outshooting the Petes 42 – 32.

Off to overtime! The best scoring chance of the 4-on-4 five minute scrimmage came when Jamie McGinn’s attempted pass to Cuma on the point was intercepted by the most dangerous Pete of the game, Yves Bastien who was off to the races all alone (or more precisely to the net). Jamie and Cuma made for hot pursuit and Cuma made a dive for the puck. This might have held up Bastien a bit but he was still able to get a shot at Chris who came up with the game saving save!

Nothing was resolved so it was time for the shoot out:

Branislav Rehus X (save by Perugini)
Jamie McGinn SCORE!
Pat Daley X (hit the post)
Logan Couture SCORE!

And that’s how it ended. Ottawa winning again for the second game in a row in a shoot out.

OK - find Perugini in this picture - look closely - he's the short guy on the left trying not to get crushed by his team mates. 5'9" - right! Regardless, he's all goalie!

Final shots on goal (not counting the shoot out) 43 – 34 for Ottawa.

Three stars
1. Logan Couture (2 regulation goals and one in the shoot out - and a solid game)
2. Cody Lindsay (a goal and an assist - could he look any unhappier?? Somebody find his puppy real quick and get it back to him!)
3. Yves Bastien (2 goals and a few mighta-been's)

Team 1200 hardest working 67s: Tyler Cuma

Blitzen’s rate the anthem singer: I’m giving up. I will simply reconcile myself that one of my favorite game-day experiences, being able to sing along and enjoy the national anthem, is no longer part of the Ottawa 67s game day experience. I’ll get my fix at the Senators games. heavy sigh!

Random Thoughts:
  • Ottawa wins three in a row – two in the shoot out, all one-goal games. Now that’s keeping it close.
  • As I prepared the set-up for tonight’s game, it occurred to me that this was a perfect set up for Ottawa to under perform and the other team to play over their heads.
  • Clearly, despite the loss, the Petes go away with the moral victory. Down 5 key players, on the road, and a young team against a fairly complete and healthy team, they work back from a 3-goal deficit and take the game all the way to a shoot out and get at least one point for their efforts. No shame in that performance.
  • It seemed that Pat Daley logged a lot of time.
  • It also seemed that Ottawa dominated in the face off circle.
  • Bailey on the top line, himmm. Jury still out on that for me. I think I liked Nesbitt there better but I gotta admit the production seems to have gone up. I liked the chemistry between Bailey and Kiriakou on the second line.
  • There was a moment in the overtime period where our defensemen were up and the forwards were covering the points! Get back to where you belong!!
  • Great job by Chris Perugini coming in late in the game, holding the fort, making the great OT save as well as the shoot-out save.

See you on Sunday!

Go 67s Go!

Riley Junior dropped by for a visit.

Winning another faceoff

This guy's knees almost go to the cross bar!!

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