Tough weekend schedule for the 67s playing all three games against teams that have already clinched playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. It was the Mississauga Ice Dogs who came into today’s game third place in the conference, only 1 point back of Belleville. The Ice Dogs were also riding a 6-game winning streak and a day off yesterday. Ottawa returned to the Civic Centre from losing both ends of a home and home series with the conference second place team Belleville Bulls. Ottawa and Mississauga have already met twice this year with Mississauga taking both: 6-1 and 6-3. Do I sense a pattern here? Hmmmm…..
Mississauga player notes: not dressed (hope I have these correctly) Joshua Day, Dylan MacEachern, Ben O’Connor, Chris DeSousa, Travis Fuller and Stevan Manojilovic. Rookie Andrew Loverock started in net.
Ottawa player notes: Julian Cimadamore and Logan Couture were today’s scratches. Looks like Julian will be out 3 - 4 weeks more with his back injury. Brady Morrison got the call.
Lines for tonight:
McGinn, Kiriakou, Lahey
Liscomb, Methot, Bailey
Cowie, Lindsay, Alphonso
Nesbitt, Ribeiro, cameo appearance of another forward
Again, I thought I saw Methot on the top line a couple of times; don’t know if it was an experiment or line change issues.
Defensive pairings: mostly Joslin - Vojta, Grimaldi – Beard, Cuma – Demers with Sean Ryan thrown in the mix from time to time until Tyler Cuma was injured on a cheap shot by Jadran Beljo.
Mississauga was clearly well rested as they started the game quickly with a sharp angle shot on Brady. Ottawa’s first attempt to get the play into the Ice Dog zone was quickly ended when Nathan Martine nailed Jason Bailey at the Ottawa blue line. Otherwise Jason was away with the puck. The Ice Dogs kept the pressure up early and it took Ottawa almost two minutes to get out of their own zone and put a shot on Loverock. Ottawa finally got a power play opportunity when Matt Corrente was called for checking Jason Bailey from behind. Ottawa only managed one shot on Loverock during the man advantage. About five and a half minutes later it was Mississauga’s turn for the PP when Brody Beard was called for holding. Our PK units did a fine job of keeping the Ice Dogs at bay – allowing only one shot on Morrison which he stopped. Mississauga finally broke the ice when their scoring leader Michael Swift was left alone in the slot to receive and bury a centering pass past Brady. Then he got his second goal of the night and 30th of the year just 35 seconds later to put Mississauga up by two with 5:50 to go in the first period. Derek Joslin got Ottawa within 1 with 1:35 left in the period with a one timer from the point that beat Loverock. Lahey and McGinn got the assists. But 34 seconds later, Mississauga’s rookie Alex Pietrangelo restored the 2-goal basically putting the puck into an empty net.
The first period ended with the score 3 – 1 for Mississauga and SOGs 8 – 18 for them too.
Ottawa got another PP opportunity early in second the period and managed to start getting some shots through to the goalie. Loverock was giving out lots of juicy rebound that Ottawa just couldn’t get to. In the first four minutes of the period, the SOGs were even at 18 but the score was unchanged. Then 6 minutes into the frame, Tyler Cuma passed the puck to Brett Liscomb but it was too high and it created a turnover in the Ottawa zone. Jean-Michel Rizk ended up with it and scored on a backhand over Bready’s shoulder to make it 4 – 1. Ottawa had a great scoring chance later on a breakaway but Aaron Alphonso was denied by a great pad save by Loverock. Mississauga then responded with a great 3-on-1 opportunity that Brady denied. Somehow in the ensuing puck movements it ended up high in the air and Brady made a great leaping snag of a rebound that would make an NBA defender happy. And with all that equipment too!
Ottawa was hitting more and after Alphonso nailed Martine, Martine was looking for some action. Aaron didn’t oblige so as he was skating to his bench Martine thought he would nudge a couple of other Ottawa players to see what he could get. They were too smart to fall for it.
Jamie McGinn has been working extra hard without his line mate Couture and it paid off in many small ways. One of them was to draw a holding penalty by Brett Oliphant. But Ottawa couldn’t convert either of the two shots they got with the advantage. And so it went – Ottawa had 5 PPs in the period and could not score on any of them.
Mississauga led 4 – 1 at the end of the second period with SOG 29 – 27 for Ottawa.
Gotta give the 67s credit for starting the third period like they planned to win this game. Just 1:44 into the period, Derek Joslin fired one in and this time Matt Lahey was there for the rebound. Less than 2 minutes later, on the power play Derek Joslin kept the puck in the offensive zone and got it to the net where Jamie McGinn picked up the rebound to get Ottawa to within 1!! Brady kept the momentum going with a great sliding save on a Mississauaga scoring chance. As play was moving up the ice, I didn’t see the actual hit but apparently Jadran Beljo laid a cheap, dirty hit from behind on Tyler Cuma. Tyler was hurt badly and it took a while for the trainer to let him up. It looked like they were concerned with his knee. He left the ice on his skates but I didn’t see him put any weight on it. Beljo earned a 5-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct for his actions. Michael Swift also earned time in the sin bin for roughing. So Ottawa had the momentum and a 2-man advantage for a very long time. Well, for the second time this year, the 67s managed to allow three guys to out-skate and out-skill five and score the worst type of short-handed goals (actually the only good short-handed goal is the one your team scores). Jordan Owens scored his 29th goal of the year on the nifty work / bad play. To say it was disappointing would be an understatement. Four minutes later, Michael Swift got the hat trick and pretty much iced the game for the Ice Dogs. But I have to give the 67s credit – down by three with less than 10 minutes to play, they still tried to make stuff happen. Nesbitt rung one off the post that would have been nice to have. To the Ice Dogs credit, they didn’t get all defensivy. They kept pushing for that 7th goal. But the die was cast – this one was over.
Mississauga won their 7th in a row with a score of 6 – 3. Shots 47 – 37 for Ottawa.
Stars for the game:
1. Michael Swift (Mississauga 3 goals and an assist)
2. Alex Pietrangelo (Mississauga goals and an assist)
3. Derek Joslin (goal and 2 assists)
Hardest working 67: Jamie McGinn
- There was some good effort there this afternoon but the Ice Dogs were able to capitalize on Ottawa mistakes. Third game in three days including a road game last night. The legs coulda been tired. And they are missing Logan.
- Morrison played really well – there were some stellar saves. Good job!!
- Loverock let out a ton of big rebounds. Ottawa has to anticipate these better next week.
- Mississauga didn’t seem to like it when Ottawa was laying on the body. I would think more of that would be appropriate.
- Jason Bailey got away with a few late hits and attempts at hits – gotta watch it buddy.
- Speaking of cheap shots, I hope the league reviews Jadran Beljo's hit on Cuma. Their assessment should include his behaviour as he was escorted off the ice.
- I’ve never played hockey but I’ve played team sports. To me it seems that when a team is tight, they have a really good sense of each other. The video before the game – “We’re a team” – if they really were tight as a team I doubt the video would be necessary.
- Five game losing streak. Not good. But three reasons why I would rather be a 67s fan than a Habs fan right now: 1. 3 of the last 5 losses have been against teams way ahead of Ottawa in the standings, 2. Ottawa is not playing cheap hockey out of desperation, and 3. the ticket prices are much more reasonable.
Soap Box Moment:
Refereeing – a thankless job at the best of times but some of these guys must be downright certifiable to keep doing it with the abuse they earn. After a few years as a season ticket holder, I can say I only know the names of two refs. And they were both officiating today’s game. Talk about a curse. Parc shows up about 5 minutes into first period. No one missed him. The ref standing outside the blue line calls the penalty on the play behind the net that the guy right on top of it didn’t see or realize he should call. Liscomb gets a high stick in the face that draws blood with a zebra right there and no one can find his whistle.
Fans are ticked off about the state of officiating! There’s a thread on the NOOF about OHL officiating (http://www.rinkratmag.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=21289) and there’s a movement originating in Ottawa for a fan protest about NHL officiating (http://blacksaturday.ca/goal.php). I don’t expect perfection. I realize that mistakes will be made. I realize that this is junior hockey and we are getting junior officials.
But junior hockey is now pretty big business. Franchises are going for millions of dollars. In Canada, hockey is more than a passing fancy. We need an officiating system that is more professional than it appears to be now and we need transparency on how the system works. The OHL needs to show leadership by posting the following online: the rule book (if the darn thing is online I certainly have not been able to find it), the guidelines for game officiating (especially guidlines to deal with this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcFtcoo0ic4), a description of the standards for selection of officials (just what does it take to become and remain an OHL official), and how official performance is assessed and managed. I’m not interested in individual performance assessment (I sure wouldn’t want mine posted anywhere) but I want the performance assessment and management system described. Then we can judge whether it appears that it is being applied. Right now there is just a lot of noise about what individuals think may or may nor be happening. In the absence of facts, people will make it up. It’s hard to understand how some of these people keep getting assigned. They must have pictures.
Ottawa has a tough road trip ahead of them next weekend. Another game against Mississauga in Mississauga, then to Erie and then to Brampton. This could be the weekend that defines whether they make it to the playoffs.
Dig deep guys – be the team you say you are in the video. Play tough!
Go 67s Go!!