March 31, 2007

Heartbreak At The Civic Centre: Ottawa 2 – Belleville 4

The teams returned to the Ottawa Civic Centre for the 4th game in 5 days in this first round series. Belleville came in leading the series 2 -1 after their 3 – 0 win over Ottawa yesterday on home ice.

Belleville player notes: not dressing were Paul Cianfrini, Andrew Gibbons and Erik Caladi. For the third straight playoff game, local boy Kevin Lalande started in goal.

Ottawa player notes: Matt McDougall, Matt Lahey, Jason Bailey (charlie horse??) and Jordan Gallea did not dress. Brady was also in net for his third start of the series.

Lines for tonight:

McGinn, Couture, Alphonso
Methot, Kiriakou, Liscomb
Cowie, Lindsay, Nesbitt
No 4th line but I saw Cimadamore and Ribeiro out for at least one shift each.

Defensive pairings: Joslin –Vojta, Cuma – Demers, Beard – Grimaldi

Ottawa started with a lot of energy and quickly generated some early shots on Lalande. But it was the Bulls that got on the scoreboard first on an odd-man rush that resulted in Tyler Donati scoring his second goal of the playoffs when he beat Morrison upstairs from the right face-off circle. Ottawa then earned their first penalty of the game when Tyler Cuma launched the puck score. It was a fast-paced period where a couple more penalties were exchanged but …..

After 20 minutes Belleville led by 1 in spite of Ottawa outshooting the Bulls 18 – 10. (Is that what they mean by shooting the bull???). Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The second period started with 4-on-4 play for 1:02. The Ottawa play was reasonably aggressive although not matching the intensity of the first period. For some reason Aaron Alphonso had drawn a bead on Matt Pelech as he was dumped 2 or 3 times over the course of the period. Then Belleville got themselves into a bit of a corner with a string of penalties that included a delay of game (puck over the glass ) and the goalie Lalande getting called for slashing Alphonso. It was a delayed penalty and before the play stopped it seemed to me that Lalande dumped Aaron again but was not called on it as well. Ottawa ended up stringing together something like a 5 –on-4, 5-on-3 for 1:24, followed by another 5-on-4. They overlapped somewhat but in the entire stretch Ottawa managed only 6 shots on Lalande (3 during the 5-on-3) but the 6th was the charm as Jamie McGinn roofed it upstairs to tie up the game and notch his 3rd goal of the playoffs. Aaron Alphonso and Tyler Cuma got the assists.

Ottawa was pressing hard and managed a really good penalty kill while Cuma was off for tripping only to be scored on early in the following questionable roughing penalty called against Brett Liscomb. It certainly seemed that the ref was trying to even up the calls after the string by the Bulls. Bull I say!! Belleville’s Eric Tangradi got the PP goal to put the Bulls up again.

And that’s how it ended after the second period: Belleville 2 – Ottawa 1 with Ottawa out-shooting the Bulls 33 – 18.

The third period started fast again as Ottawa looked to tie it up. It took almost half the period though until Jamie McGinn was credited on the deflection during an Ottawa PP for his second of the night and 4th of the playoffs. Aaron Alphonso and Logan Couture got the assists.

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The Bulls got some offense going and had Ottawa pinned for a while but Brady made a couple of potential game-winning saves to keep the team in the game. Then it was Ottawa’s turn to put some pressure on. But it was Belleville that came up with the crucial goal with 3:29 left in the period when Eric Tangradi was able to beat Brady through the 5-hole. The Bulls then had a chance to build their lead when Tyler Doig sprung loose for a breakaway. Tyler Cuma was the only 67s with any chance defending and he tripped up Doig resulting in a penalty shot. Doig picked up the puck from center ice and tried to deke Brady out of position but he was unable make it count.

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It didn’t much matter because with less than a minute and a half left in the period, Doig got his goal to ice the game for the Bulls.

Despite having out-shot the Bulls 42 – 29, it was the Bulls that came away with the only stat that counts: 4 goals to Ottawa’s 2.

Stars for the game:

1. Eric Tangradi (Belleville – 2 goals and an assist)
2. Kevin Lalande (Belleville – 40 saves)
3. Aaron Alphonso (2 assists and a snoot full of really hard work)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67: Jamie McGinn with 2 goals

Random Thoughts:

  • Again, this was a game that Ottawa could have won. They actually outplayed Belleville for most of the game but somehow could not bury the puck. Another loss in the last 5 minutes of the game.
  • One of the clich├ęs of the game is that specialty units make the difference and that just might apply here tonight. While both of Ottawa's goals came on the PP and they only gave up 1 on the PK, Ottawa really should have been able to take more advantage of the advantages they were given. During 1:24 of 5-on-3 play they only managed 3 shots on Lalande. They did manage to keep the puck in play the entire time in their offensive zone but it really doesn't matter much if all you do is pass the puck around like a warm-up.
  • While Lalande made 40 saves, I’m not convinced that many of them were tough scoring chances. Brady made more outstanding saves than Kevin was forced to make.
  • The third line was working hard and generated their share of pressure.

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  • The refereeing was atrocious both ways. I have no idea how Brad Beer gets any playoff assignments…unless of course it’s simply a matter of needing the least worst live body for the first round. It will be interesting to see if this guy gets any assignments in the following rounds.
  • The 67s are in a bit of a hole Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket but it’s still not impossible. I don’t have any other plans for next Tuesday so a game at the Civic Centre would be great. See what you can do guys. Need to see some scoring from the other guys - so far it's been pretty much all the top line with assistance from Derek Joslin.
  • Animated critters courtesy of the SensNetwork.Com...thee place for Senators fans to discuss hockey and all other matters of importance: http://www.sensnetwork.com/sensforum/

Hope to see you on Tuesday.

Go 67s Go!!

March 27, 2007

Ugh!!! Belleville 5 – Ottawa 4

This is going to be very quick as 5:00AM gets here real soon and this blogger needs her sleep.

Game 2 of a pretty aggressive quarterfinal schedule. Ottawa won game 1 in overtime at the Yardman Arena in Belleville last night. A rare win there for Ottawa this year and a great way to start the playoffs.

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Belleville player notes: not dressing were Shawn Lanlonde and Aaron Snow. Kevin Lalande was in goal for the second night in a row.

Ottawa player notes: Matt McDougall, Matt Lahey (still out with a knee injury), Jordan Gallea, and Matt Ribeiro did not dress. And Brady got the call for game 2.

Lines for tonight: was taking pictures again tonight so I may have missed some movements, but it looked mostly like:

McGinn, Couture, Alphonso
Methot, Kiriakou, Bailey
Liscomb, Cowie, Nesbitt
And Lindsay saw some ice time but I lost track of where and when.
No 4th line to speak of

Defensive pairings: Joslin –Vojta, Cuma – Demers, Beard – Grimaldi
Ryan saw some ice time in the first but I don’t recall seeing him after that.

Either the play early in the period was very defensive or neither team could get organized. I’m still pretty new at this and don’t catch many of the nuances. In any event, the very first shot on goal by either team was 6 minutes into the period. In the meantime, we were treated to some solid physical play and some great second efforts such as Logan Couture throwing himself to bat the puck across the blue line while defending on the Bulls’ power play. Aaron Alphonso was serving time for hooking. The Bulls didn’t get a single shot on Brady with the 2-minute advantage.

Belleville then got themselves into a string of penalty trouble that eventually resulted in Ottawa getting a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:16 just before the half-way mark. In the dying seconds of the first Belleville penalty, the aforementioned Aaron Alphonso parked himself in front of Lalande and the puck bounced off him for the first goal of the night. Derek Joslin and Logan Couture got the assists.

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Belleville defended the back half of that penalty pair as well as a couple more penalties. For their part, the Barber poles also successfully held their own on a couple of PKs, limiting the bovines from down south to maybe two shots during the advantage.

After the first 20 minutes Ottawa had the only goal; shots on goal were 11 – 4 for Ottawa.

Ottawa started the second period down a man for 1:11 as Grimaldi had to close out his elbowing penalty from the first. Our usual PK units did their job and the Bulls only got 1 shot on Brady. I sure hope he wasn’t getting bored out there. Then with Aaron serving his second penalty of the game (this time for slashing), Derek Joslin sprung the puck and Thomas Kiriakou picked it up for a rush into the Belleville zone. Scott Cowie was driving for the net but rather than passing, Kiriakou shot it over the left shoulder of Lalande for a nifty short-handed goal and put Ottawa up by 2! Derek Joslin got the assist. Scott should get honourable mention for being the decoy.

Good thing we had the two-goal cushion 'cause less than a minute later, Belleville’s Bryan Cameron made good on the Bulls’ PP by jumping on the loose puck and getting it past Brady. But Ottawa got it back just over the half-way mark when Jamie McGinn dipsy-doodled through the Belleville line-up and beat Lalande upstairs to restore the 2-goal lead. Logan Couture and Derek Joslin got the assists.

The second period ended with Ottawa leading 3 – 1 but Belleville having increased their shots on Brady with total shots on goal 18 – 16 still in Ottawa’s favour.

How to put this nicely…nah…can’t do it. There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of “if you can’t say anything nice…at least be vague”. Can’t do that either. A lesser person would resort to colourful language. But I try to write a family-friendly blog so I will exercise some uncharacteristic self-restraint. And it is Lent and I am trying to control my vice for cussing. This was indeed a trying 20 minutes of play. Heavy sigh!!!

Let’s start with our first penalty – Liscomb for hooking. Job well done by the PK units and the Bulls don’t get a single shot on Brady. So far, so good. Then we get the PP when Belleville’s Cory Tanaka gets tagged. Now it’s the 67s who don’t get any scoring chances, good or bad. hmmm. Then P.K. Subban succeeds in getting an offsetting minor with one of our most dangerous players – Jamie McGinn. No problem, it’s 4-on-4; we should be able to hold our own. Nope – Belleville’s Nick Pageau manages to get one past Brady from an improbable angle from the left face-off circle. A very good example of why it can’t hurt to through the puck at the net. I imagine that Brady wishes he had that one back! Then less than two minute later, Shawn Matthias scores to tie it up. And he does it again less than two minutes later to take the lead with Tyler Cuma taking a timeout for cross-checking. Can you say collective mental brain cramp sports fans? Yikes! So now I’m channeling all my energy into the players on the ice…you can do it, you can tie this up again! Well, for a superstitious sort like me, it works! With a delayed penalty call in the making, Brett Liscomb manages to take advantage of the scramble in front of Lalande and tie it up!! Tyler Cuma an Mathieu Methot get the assists.

So with less than 4 minutes left to play, the game is tied at 4. Ottawa is on the power play as the penalty that was in the works when Brett scored his goal is now being served. For some reason unknown to mere mortals, Jason Bailey gets tagged for interference with just over two minutes to play. Not great but not necessarily fatal as the Ottawa PK has been pretty decent all night. Belleville is pressing, Grimaldi gets the puck in the defensive zone, and to my eye, he has an easy opportunity to fire the darn thing down the ice. But nooooooo, he takes it behind the net and then tries to fire it off the glass and down the ice. Except for missing the darn glass altogether and getting the delay of game penalty. AAAACCKK!! This little nifty move gives the Bulls the 5-on-3 advantage for 1:12. Despite my mantra of “kill the penalty , kill the penalty”, it’s not enough. With just 45 seconds left in the game, Tyler Donati notches the game winner. Ottawa doesn’t even get enough control of the puck in the remaining 45 seconds to pull Brady.

The game ended with Belleville winning 5 – 4. Final shots were 25 – 27 in Belleville’s favour.

Stars for the game:

1. Shawn Matthias (Belleville – 2 goals)
2. Derek Joslin (3 assists)
3. Nick Pageau (Belleville – goal and 2 assists)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67: Thomas Kiriakou.

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There's your picture Thomas.

Random Thoughts:

  • Woulda been, coulda been, shoulda been. This was winnable. This loss had nothing to do with skill or ability; it was all about what goes on between the ears.
  • Took pictures again which is why my notes and summary suffer. Just can’t do both well at the same time. Having more fun with the pictures right now. If there are any good ones I will post after I get this blog up.
  • Stood by the 67s bench for part of the 3rd period to take pictures. That was an eye (and ear) opener. It was really interesting to hear what goes on on the bench. I really am a social anthropologist at heart (social anthropology - the branch of anthropology that deals with human culture and society). Sure would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall in the locker room after the game.

Not a bad turnout at the Civic Centre for an earlier game on a Tuesday night with the Sens playing in town.

I think the team can recover from this – they have shown that they can skate and play with this team. Both games have been 1-goal games. Both games have gone to the wire. This series will go to the team that has the mental toughness to win. And that can be our blonde bombshell barber poles.

This isn’t done….not by a long shot. Go 67s Go!

See y’all on Friday.

March 25, 2007

Site update

Switching over to the new blogger has given us the boost we needed to review the site. We'll be updating to the new layout soon, and you may see some funky things as we get it fully installed. If you notice any problems w/ layout or any dead links, leave us a comment. Thanks!

Update at 11:10 PM - Changes made. Tweaks still to come.

March 18, 2007

Just Ran Outta Gas – Sudbury Wins 6 - 4

The second meeting of these two teams this year and this one meant something – a decision between 6th and 7th place. The 6th round finisher would face Mississauga and the 7th round team would face Belleville. A particular problem with a Belleville – Ottawa match up is that neither arena is available next weekend so the schedule would most likely be delayed and then compressed.

Sudbury came well rested into this afternoon’s game after losses in their last two games: 4 -1 loss to Toronto on March 11th (last Sunday) and a 5 – 3 loss to Kingston on Friday (march 16th).

Ottawa came into today’s game playing their 4th game in 5 days: a 6 – 1 loss in Belleville on Wednesday, 7 – 4 win over Oshawa on Friday, and a 5 – 3 win over Oshawa yesterday (March 17th).

Sudbury player notes: not dressing were Tyler Arps, J.K. Gill, Alain Valiquet, Justin Larson and troubled child Akim Aliu. There’s a whole thread on NOOF on his situation http://www.rinkratmag.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=21762 ). Backup Michael Swick was in net.

Ottawa player notes: Matt McDougall, Matt Lahey (4th game out with a knee injury), Jordan Gallea, and Brett Liscomb (lower body injury) did not dress. Number 1 Brady Morrison backstopped the team.

Lines for tonight: Another messy situation for the better part of two periods and a short bench to boot so the lines approximated:

McGinn, Couture, Alphonso
Methot, Kiriakou, Bailey
Nesbitt, Cowie, Cimadamore
Ribeiro, Lindsay and double shifters that I lost track of

Defensive pairings: Joslin – Grimaldi, Cuma – Demers/Vojta, Beard – Ryan and some other combos depending on the situation.

Even though these two teams only play twice a year in the regular season, these have been chippy tough affairs since I’ve been attending these games. And today wasn’t any different. If you don’t believe me, here are a couple of stats for you: 21 penalties and 3 fights in the first 20 minutes. Here’s the score sheet for all the details: http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/stats/official-game-report.php?game_id=12990. Suffice to say that there was very little 5-on-5 play.

So, to the highlights…Ottawa was first on the scoreboard during a 5-on-3 power play with Sudbury’s Andrew Self in the box for hooking followed by Zach McCullough’s goaltender interference call. Grimaldi fired one of his cannon shots from mid-way across the blueline and Aaron Alphonso tipped it past Swick at 5:13 into the first period. Jamie McGinn got the other assist. But the lead didn’t stand too long as Sudbury was able to score a short handed goal because of Ottawa turnovers in their own zone. Justin Donati evened it up less than a minute after Ottawa got its first goal. Couture and McGinn warmed the bench for a while after that one. Tsk tsk boys.

I didn’t catch all the action but as the period neared the halfway mark, 19-year olds Jason Bailey and Zach McCullough mixed it up. If I were to reconstruct the scene only by what is recorded on the scoresheet (sound like CSI or Bones to you??), it might have gone down something like: Zach cross checked Bailey who in turn elbowed Zach and then Bailey started a fight in which Zach willingly participated. Zach got a total of 7 minutes and Bailey got 19 (2 for elbowing, 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct). He was gone for the period. The fight took place right in front of (and almost in) the Sudbury bench.

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Five minutes later a couple of rookies went at it. This one I did see from the beginning. Sudbury 18-year old Geoff Guimond didn’t like the neat hip check by Tyler Cuma as Geoff was approaching the Ottawa blue line along the far wall so he decided he needed to take action. For his efforts he was assessed 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting and a couple of 10 minute misconducts. So he too was gone for the period. Cuma got 2 for fighting but it seemed he spent much more time in the penalty box. As for the tilt, Cuma held his own – can’t call it.

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Then Sudbury captain Marc Staal took offense at a hit by our resident bad boy Logan Couture. Yup, that renowned thug and all around bully Logan Couture with an astonishing 22 PIMs in 53 games. Well, the scrum was on and it was hard to tell from across the ice just who was doing what to whom. As the refs untangled the bodies Logan was escorted to the sin-bin but after it was sorted out his sentence was overturned and Sudbury’s Devin DiDiomete got 2 for cross checking and 2 for roughing and Marc Staal got 2 for roughing and 2 for holding.

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With just over three minutes left in the period, Jamie McGinn restored the lead with his 45th goal of the year and his 6th power play goal of the weekend on another 5-on-3 (I believe, I can’t be bothered to reconstruct the dance card). Logan Couture and Jakub Vojta got the assists.

A couple more penalties rounded out the first frame of the game that ended with Ottawa ahead by one with a score of 2 – 1 with the shots 14 – 6 for Ottawa, and no bodies.

The second period was peppered with 11 penalties (5 to Sudbury and 6 to Ottawa). One might surmise that either the players got smarter (ya right!) and / or the refs were getting too tired to lift the massive whistles to their tired lips to make the calls. Conditioning is everything. Reffing is such hard work.

Right off the opening face off, it started up again. This time it was Sudbury’s nearly 21 year old Calgary prospect Devin DiDiomete taking on rookie 17 year old Julien Demers. Didn’t see what set this off but it was a good tilt that I will give to Julien simply due to the difference in age and OHL experience. He did get rag-dolled at one point but he came back to lay a couple on DiDiomete before it all ended. Really – taking on a rookie. Is there no honour among the Sudbury players? So, on to the hockey game….Sudbury’s Patrik Lusnak tied it up just over halfway through the period on the powerplay while Logan Couture was off for a hooking call as he tried to break up a Sudbury scoring chance.

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With just under 2 minutes left in the period, Julien Demers restored the Ottawa lead with his 2nd goal of the year as he finished off a terrific effort by Aaron Alphonso who carried the puck up the ice to create the scoring chance.

So the second period ended with the score 3 – 2 with the shots on goal 22 – 20 for Ottawa

The 4 games in 5 days were finally catching up with Ottawa as Sudbury totally dominated the third period. And there was only 1 penalty called in the third – against Ottawa. More on that later.

Sudbury tied the game just 37 seconds into the final frame on a goal by Kevin Baker. Then at the 8:00 minute mark, on a combination of not getting organized and a bad bounce Matt Dias scored unassisted to give Sudbury the first lead of the afternoon. Then Andrew Self provided some room just 3 minutes later followed by yet more room at the 16:20 mark by another Kevin Baker goal. Ottawa was pretty much pinned all of the period but did manage to score on one of their 5 shots on Swick when Jamie McGinn ended the regular season with his 46th goal of the year assisted by Logan Couture.

And so Ottawa’s regular season ended on a losing note with a 6 – 4 loss against Sudbury. Final shots on goal were 27 – 33 for Sudbury.

Stars for the game:

1. Matt Dias (Sudbury goal and an assist)
2. Nick Foligno (Sudbury 2 assists)
3. Aaron Alphonso (goal and an assist and lots of hard work)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67: for the second game in a row, Julien Demers with a goal, a fight and good defensive work. A great addition to the team since December.

Random Thoughts:

  • While one might lament that this one was a winnable game that Ottawa let get away, I have no problems with today’s loss per se. You could see that the 4 games in 5 days were catching up with them. I would bet on rested 67s team taking on a rested Sudbury team any day of the week.
  • The only real complaint is about those short handed goals. Guys – this is the end of the season, the communications should be sorted out by how. Stop it already!!
  • Morrison stoned Foligno on his breakaway only to be hung out by the guys on the response. Great first save Brady!
  • About the penalties…it is inconceivable to me that a pattern of 21 penalties in the first, 11 penalties in the second and 1 (ONE!) in the third is because the players got suddenly smarter.
  • About the fights. My sister-in-law does not like these at all. She turns her head away when they happen. I’m old fashioned enough to believe that they are part of the game. Props to the 67s players – you held your own against the continually chippy Wolves.
  • Listened to most of the interview with Liscomb. He was out today with a “lower body injury”. He thought he could have played today but Killer thought he should rest up. He was missed.
  • The photos in Friday’s blog are courtesy of Sid. Well done Sid.
  • Today I tried being the photog. I borrowed a higher-end digital camera from a friend and went down to the glass for two of the periods. Unfortunately most of the play was at the other end. It also meant that I couldn’t take notes too well during the game. It’s different watching the game through the view finder. I hope to post some of the better pictures later when I figure out how to do that.
  • I forgot to mention in yesterday’s blog that I had a chance to chat with a couple members of the Gloucester Rangers minor midget team that were sitting in front of me. Oshawa’s Corey Cowick is one of their own and they were there to cheer him on. The Gloucester Rangers will be traveling to Mississauga this week to participate in the OHL Showcase Tournament for the OHL Cup. This is the draft year for two of the players I chatted with. Here’s wishing them a good tournament as a team and a good chance to showcase their individual talents before the May 5th OHL draft. With Ottawa getting the 6th pick we might see one of these guys in a 67s uni one day.

So the regular season is now done. Ottawa finishes its 40th regular season as an OHL organization and 30th year under Brian Kilrea’s leadership 30-34-0-4 for 64 points in the conference. Team scoring leader, Jamie McGinn finished 17th in the league with his regular OHL season career high of 46 goals and 43 assists for 89 points and he didn’t miss a game. The next closest 67s was Logan Couture with 26 goals and 52 assists for 78 points in 54 regular season games for 33rd in the league. From our defensive corps, captain Derek Joslin finished 104th in the league with 11 goals and 37 assists for 48 points in 68 games (perfect attendance!). Our highest ranking rookie was Cody Lindsay who finished 192nd overall in the league with 9 goals and 18 assists for 27 points in 64 games. And finally, our goalies ranked 15th (Lukas Flueler) and 17th (Morrison) in the GAA rankings, and 11th and 18th respectively in the save percentage rankings.

The team had its ups and downs in the regular season but with their play in the last three games, especially of the specialty teams (particularly if they get that SHG thing fixed), they could play the spoilers. They have a tough first round but they could catch Belleville snoozing if taken too lightly.

I have faith – play like Pittsburg – you really don’t have anything to lose.

See you for round one – whenever it starts.

Go 67s Go!

March 17, 2007

Generally Speaking, These Were a Couple of Good Wins: Ottawa beat Oshawa 5 – 3

This was the final meeting of these two teams for the season with Ottawa having won 3 of the previous 5 games including last night’s win. Both teams came into this afternoon’s game looking for the win to influence their places in the standings. Oshawa needed two points this weekend to lock up 4th spot and home ice advantage. Ottawa needed a roll of wins to move up to 6th spot and face the Mississauga IceDogs in the first round rather than Belleville who has pretty much owned Ottawa all year (lost 7 of the 8 meetings).

Oshawa player notes: not dressing were Trevor Koverko, Tyler Taylor, Marco Franchini, Murray Free, Dean Howard, Billy Siekris and Ziga Pance. Loic Lacasse got the call in goal again.

Ottawa player notes: Matt McDougall, Matt Lahey (3rd game out with a knee injury), Jordan Gallea, and Julian Cimadamore (possibly sore back after yesterday’s game – speculation on my part. He did work his tail off!) . It was Lukas Flueler’s turn between the pipes.

Lines for tonight: This is just an approximation; between penalties and powerplays there was very little consistency other than the first two lines.

McGinn, Couture, Alphonso
Methot, Kiriakou, Bailey
All of the other forwards in various combinations and Brodie Beard at least once that I noticed.

Defensive pairings: I lost track.

Again, the opening face off featured Tavares and Couture and Oshawa came away with the puck. Oshawa got an early odd-man rush going but it was broken up by Logan. Both teams were having trouble getting anything organized and it took almost 5 minutes before the first shot on goal was registered by either team (Oshawa). Then Ottawa took its first of 14 (!) penalties of the game when Jamie McGinn was called for hooking. The Ottawa PK units played tough against the 5th best PP team in the league – limiting them to 2 shots which Flueler handled.

Ottawa took the early lead when Sean Ryan scored his first goal of the year on a shot from the point. It may have hit an Oshawa player but it just trickled through Lacasse’s legs. Thomas Nesbitt and Scott Cowie got the assists. Then Ottawa went up by two 12 seconds into Kody Musselman’s checking to the head penalty. Jamie McGinn received a beautiful cross-crease pass from Logan Couture and buried it for his 43rd goal of the year. Derek Joslin got the other assist.

The set up for the end of the first period started with Joe Grimaldi laying a bit hit on Gongalsky (I think – could have this wrong). In any case it was late enough that the ref called him for charging. Displaying his penchant for standing up for his team that many 67s fans admired (and regretted losing in the trade) Shea Kewin charged in to take Joe on. Shea didn’t do any damage to Joe that I could tell but his efforts earned him 4 minutes in the box for roughing which not only took away the power play that was coming to Oshawa but it also gave Ottawa the power play. But that didn’t last long as Vojta managed to get called for hooking to end the PP and return the play to 4-on-4. But that didn’t last either when Eric Regan was called 26 seconds later for tripping which put Ottawa back on the power play. Ottawa must have been sorely confused in all this as they sure didn’t play like they had the advantage. Brett MacLean managed to take advantage of Ottawa’s total breakdown to get a short handed goal with 1:45 left in the period. The official score sheet does not have it scored as a SHG but if you follow the bouncing penalty puck it was clearly short handed. The goal also put Oshawa back in the game. But Logan Couture almost restored the two-goal lead in the dying seconds when he rung a fast shot off the post.

After the first 20 minutes the score was 2 – 1 for Ottawa with the shots on goal 6 – 10 for the Generals.

About the second period....it was the good, the bad and the ugly. In reverse order, first the ugly: 8 penalties were handed out, 6 to Ottawa and 2 to Oshawa. Ottawa had the power play for a whole 1:39 in the period, they played short handed for about 8 minutes including 1:40 down two men, and only played 5-on-5 hockey for maybe 9:30. The bad, Ottawa was seriously outshot (which makes sense when they were on the PK so much). The good: Ottawa killed all the penalties, Cuma was a defensive monster (to borrow from Pierre McGuire) with another great effort to keep Tavares off the score board, Clutterbuck was nailed twice in open ice with good clean, hard hits. In his frustration he tried to take on Bailey and they earned their second set of offsetting minors for the game.

No scoring in the second so it ended still with Ottawa leading 2 -1 but Oshawa had increased their shots: 13 for Ottawa to Oshawa’s 27 in total.

Oshawa melted down in the discipline department in the third earning 10 penalties to Ottawa’s 3. Their frustration was getting the better of them and in the process James DeLory was tossed after getting 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct when he took exception to Methot’s huge and completely legal open ice check on Matt Seegmiller. In the ensuing scrum Bailey and Igor Gongalsky also earned a pair of offsetting minors. And that was in the first 1:23 of the period. So Ottawa got the powerplay for a full 7 minutes once the refs and scorekeepers and anyone else who had an opinion sorted it out. Just 12 seconds into that PP, Jamie McGinn scored his 44th goal of the year, his second of the game and his 5th power play goal in two games when he was able to poke a loose puck over the line. Joe Grimaldi and Logan Couture got the assists.

The goal retired the 2-minute instigator penalty so Ottawa still had 5 minutes with the advantage with the score 3 – 1 in their favour. But in another collective brain cramp, Ottawa allowed Brett Parham to score Oshawa’s second SHG of the game and get back to within 1. But 40 seconds later Ottawa restored the cushion when Logan Couture was left all alone on Lacasse’s doorstep and he buried the puck for his 25th goal of the year to make the score 4 – 2 Ottawa. McGinn and Aphonso got the assists. Oshawa continued to take stupid penalties that kept them short handed for quite a while. Greg Brown got two minute and a 10 minute misconduct when he checked Julien Demers to the head. That put him out of for rest of the game. Gotta give Oshawa some credit as they played very aggressively on the PK and why not given that Ottawa had already given up two shorties. Finally playing even-strength hockey with 1:23 left in the period, Brett MacLean gave Oshawa a brief glimpse of hope when he got one past Lukas Flueler. John Tavares’ only point of the game came as an assist on that goal. But 12 seconds later, Chris Cowie sprung the puck loose for Logan Couture who then put a beauty move on the defender and Lacasse to squelch any thoughts of possibly tying up the game.

Ottawa wrapped up the game with a 5 – 3 win over Oshawa and ended with getting 31 shots on goal to Oshawa’s 38.

Stars for the game:

1. Jamie McGinn (2 goals and an assist)
2. Tyler Cuma (no points but some great plays to keep the other guys off the board)
3. Logan Couture (2 goals including the GWG and 2 assists)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67: Cool headed rookie defenseman Julien Demers

Random Thoughts:

  • Forgot to mention yesterday that some players are already sporting their playoff hairdos which mostly consist of bleaching. There were some bright colours on a few of the Oshawa noggin’s
  • The Oshawa gang must have some collective hate-on for Jason Bailey. He and Clutterbuck had something going on that resulted in a pair of offsetting minors for the two of them and he had a fight with Igor Gongalsky. It really wasn’t much of anything – Jason might have gotten a couple of good hits off before he was tackled to the ice.
  • Brett Liscomb left the ice with just over 6 minutes left in the first period and I can’t recall if he returned at all during the game. Hope he’s OK. He didn’t seem to be hurt.
  • The teams weren’t as lively as yesterday – it must have taken a lot out of them.
  • Flueler had a great game in net today and seriously contributed the team’s success today.
  • Keys for success for teams playing against Oshawa would seem to include getting them to draw penalties.
  • Keys for success for teams playing against Ottawa could include letting them get the PP. It sure would be interesting to know how many SHGs Ottawa has allowed this year. Just from what I’ve seen it seems to be a disturbingly high number.
  • I also would like to see Kiriakou’s face off stats. Seems to me that he must have a pretty high success percentage.
  • Between Couture and McGinn they scored 8 goals and had 6 assists in the two games so far this weekend.
  • First intermission entertainment was a shoot-out between 67s owner Jeff Hunt and Steelback owner Frank D’Angelo. D’Angelo was in net and Jeff was the shooter. The deal was for every goal Jeff scored on Frank, Frank would donate $1000 to the Ottawa 67s Foundation. For every goal Frank saved, Jeff would donate $1000 to Breast Cancer Research. Frank saved the first two, Jeff scored on the third, and Frank saved the final two. So Jeff will donate $4000 to Breast Cancer Research and Frank will donate $1000 to the Ottawa 67s Foundation.

Hope Ottawa has some legs left to take on Sudbury tomorrow as it will be the deciding game for playoff rankings and therefore the brackets for these two teams. It's the last game of the regular season. Hope you can make it to the game or catch it on the radio or internet broadcast.

Go 67s Go!!

Ottawa wins over Oshawa 7 – 4 and Other Important Milestones

Last weekend of the regular season and both teams have something to play for. Oshawa came in looking to lock down their hold on 4th in the conference for home ice advantage. Also, teenage hockey phenom John Tavares was 1 goal shy of The Great One’s record for the most goals scored in a year by a 16 year old. Ottawa came into tonight’s game wounded after a 6 – 1 beating by Belleville in Belleville on Wednesday. They were playing (hopefully) for pride and with an outside chance of moving into 6th place with a string of wins this weekend.

Oshawa player notes: not dressing were Trevor Koverko, Tyler Taylor, Marco Franchini, Murray Free, Kody Musselman and Billy Siekris. Overager Loic Lacasse started in net. Former 67s Shea Kewin was in tonight’s lineup.

Ottawa player notes: Matt McDougall, Matt Lahey, Jordan Gallea and Matt Ribeiro didn’t dress. Brady Morrison got the call between the pipes.

Lines for tonight:
McGinn, Couture, Liscomb / Alphonso in the third
Methot, Kiriakou, Bailey
Cuma (yes Cuma!)/ Liscomb, Cowie, Alphonso
Lindsay, Cimadamore, Nesbitt

Defensive pairings: Joslin - Vojta, Grimaldi – Beard, Demers – Ryan/Cuma with some changes in the third when Cuma returned to the blue line.

The game started with a two great young hockey players facing off at centre ice. Logan Couture and John Tavares took the opening face off as Killer decided to go head to head matching their top line with his. Ottawa got its first PP opportunity early in the period when ‘Shwa’s Cal Clutterbuck was called for tripping. Just 13 seconds into the man advantage, Jamie McGinn scored his 40th goal of the year as he dangled the puck to the net and roofed it past Lacasse. Linemates Couture and Alphonso got the assists and Ottawa was off to an early lead. But not for long. Just 36 seconds later John Tavares got behind the Ottawa defenders to score on a rebound and tie the game and tie Wayne Gretsky’s record for goals scored in a year by a 16 year old – 70.

While the milestone was impressive, it didn’t impress the 67s enough to lose sight of the objective – win the game. On the very next power play, with James DeLory off for boarding, Jamie McGinn notched his 41st goal and his second of the night when he picked up Logan’s rebound and again roofed it past Lacasse to restore Ottawa’s lead.

Then it was Ottawa’s turn to kill the power play – against the team with the league’s 6th best PP when Jakub Vojta was called for checking Brett MacLean from behind. The PK units of Cowie, Kiriakou, Ryan, Joslin and McGinn, Couture, Beard, Grimaldi were able limit Oshawa’s chances to only two shots which Brady handled with ease.

At the 8:41 mark of the period, the rookie line of Lindsay, Cimadamore and Nesbitt made their mark when Thomas Nesbitt scored his 7th goal of his OHL career. Lindsay and Cimadamore assisted on the goal. This gave Ottawa a 3 – 1 lead.

And the scoring wasn’t done. With about 8 minutes left in the period, Ottawa got its third power play when Brett Parnham was called for tripping in the Oshawa offensive zone. Just like the previous two power plays, Ottawa took advantage and Jamie McGinn got the hat trick with the assists going to captain Joslin and who else – Logan Couture.

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But even a 3-goal lead is not safe in Junior hockey and certainly not with a team with the scoring power of Oshawa. Oshawa got back in the game by first killing an Ottawa 2-minute 5-on-3 advantage. Oshawa players James DeLory (elbowing) and Igor Gongalsky (roughing) were sent to cool their heels as a result of their actions in the same play. Ottawa only managed to get 4 shots on Lacasse during the 2-man advantage, one of which was a great scoring chance by McGinn that was denied by a fast glove save. This gave Oshawa some life. Then with Joslin off serving Ottawa’s only second penalty of the game, Peter Aston scored a softie on Brady to get Oshawa back in the game as the period wound down.

After the first 20, the score was 4 – 2 for Ottawa and shots were 20 – 16 for Ottawa but Oshawa went to the dressing room with hope and a bit of momentum.

Ottawa didn’t quite have the same jump starting the second period as opposed to Oshawa’s renewed energy. In fact, Ottawa didn’t get its first shot on Lacasse until they were on the penalty kill while Cimadamore was off for tripping about 5 minutes into the period. Oshawa also managed a shot during the advantage but they didn’t score. Ottawa finally woke up and started fore checking again. But for all their effort, it was Oshawa that got the goals.

John Tavares did it! He broke the record!

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It wasn’t pretty but who cares. He was in the right spot at the right time to pick up the rebound and make some history. The crowd of 9000+ gave him a standing ovation in recognition of this important milestone in this young man’s hockey career. Props to the Ottawa fans - they were quick and loud in showing their appreciation of his skill and this milestone. For his part, John graciously acknowledged the crowd’s reaction.

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All of this must have given the Generals additional lift that they rode to tie up the game. Late in the period, with 38 seconds left in a Sean Ryan penalty for interference, Cal Clutterbuck redirected the puck past Brady to tie up the game. Ottawa had its only PP opportunity very late in the period but were only able to manage one shot on goal that didn’t make it past the goalie.

So after the second period it was tied at 4 (for the good guys) with Ottawa having the slight edge on shots: 28 – 26.

OK – this game was either team’s game for the taking. So who was going to show up in the third for the 67s. Killer mixed up his lines a bit going into this frame. Cuma was moved back to defense, Alphonso was moved to the top line and Liscomb anchored the third line.

Ottawa served notice with a great scoring chance when Couture fed Alphonso who was parked on Lacasse’s doorstep. Lacasse equally served notice with the save. Message: both teams were playing to win. As if we needed any more convincing of Logan’s commitment, we saw yet another example of how he does lots of little things that add up to good stuff. I didn’t see who attempted the long pass to him but in an effort to stave off an icing call (the pass was too far in front of him) he made the diving reach to get his stick on the puck in the offensive zone. It didn’t directly result in a goal or save a goal but it did cancel the need for a faceoff back in the Ottawa zone. The little things. Attention to detail. It matters.

And good things do indeed get rewarded. With the first 5 minutes of this tied game under their collective belts, Derek Joslin fired the puck from the point and Logan Couture scored his 24th goal of the year (and the game winning goal) by tipping it past Lacasse to give Ottawa the lead.

Then Ottawa started getting into penalty trouble. This is not good against a team that really wants the points and has demonstrated a pretty good record of taking advantage of the advantage. First Vojta was tagged for tripping – Oshawa didn’t get any shots on Brady while Kiriakou managed to get one on Lacasse. Then Jason Bailey was called for elbowing – Oshawa managed 4 shots on Brady all of which he stopped. Then it was Jason again for interference – but before Oshawa could mount an effective offense, Oshawa’s Brett MacLean was called for interference which resulted in 4-on-4 play until Ottawa got the brief power play.

In what was described by The Voice (Team 1200’s Dave Schreiber) as the play of the game, Tyler Cuma denied Tavares the hat trick and most importantly, the tying goal when he ambushed Tavares with a diving defensive play with about 3 minutes left in the period. If left unattended, it is highly likely that Tavares would have scored. Good work Tyler!!

Then Brett Liscomb gave Ottawa some needed breathing room on a goal from an impossible angle with just over two minutes left to play. I still don’t know how it happened but it started with Brett appearing to be the last 67s on the ice (line change). He fired it towards the goal from the corner and it sorta looked like Lacasse might have carried the puck over the line himself. Don’t care how it happened; Ottawa got the insurance goal.

So this gave Ottawa a 6 – 4 lead with around 2 minutes left in the game. NATCHOS!!! I was chatting with the young Oshawa fans in front of me and offering them my ticket stubs so they could score the natchos (for some reason I think the deal is only for season ticket holders). While I’m trying to explain this to the accompanying adult, people around me erupt into cheers. While I wasn’t looking, Mathieu Methot put the exclamation point on the game with his 21st goal of the season.

The last minute and a half ended with both teams trying to make various points with the other given that they will meet again tomorrow afternoon. A few elbows, a couple of face washes and some unsportsmanlike conduct wrapped up the game.

The let’s-play-good-hockey-for-most-of-the-game 67s showed up and persevered for a 7 – 4 win over the Oshawa Generals.

Stars for the game:

1. Jamie McGinn (3 goals and an assist)
2. Logan Couture (game winning goal and 3 assists)
3. John Tavares (2 goals, 2 assists and his own record for goals in year by a 16 year old)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67: Captain Derek Joslin with 3 assists

Random Thoughts:

  • Where to begin….I really enjoyed tonight’s game. Much more than I enjoyed the Sens – Islanders game last night (was there – yes we won but the first period was a snoozer – eech!). Was glad to witness a piece of OHL/CHL history with young Tavares’ record tying and breaking goals (even if they were against MY team). Was pleased as punch to FINALLY throw my hat trick hat onto the ice for Jamie’s outstanding performance (note to other 67s fans – why was the ice not LITTERED with hats???).

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  • Was impressed all to heck with Ottawa’s ability to play through the hype and get the two points. Really enjoyed seeing players play hard, with hits ‘n all but not play dirty. It was aggressive with a suitable amount of chippyness but somehow respectful. Hard to explain but it seemed to me that we saw two teams play hard that were lead by coaches who are competitive gentlemen. Tricky balance in my books.
  • I really like our PK units – they do a good job. I am a huge Kiriakou fan.
  • Joe Grimaldi had another very good game in my books. He played aggressive yet stayed out of trouble. Yes I am a fan.
  • Brady Morrison also had a very good game….made some awesome saves. Nothing like a good goalie as your last defence.
  • The crew played well in front of their goalie too.
  • The rookie line played really well tonight and got rewarded with some decent ice time by my reckoning. They certainly did not play like they were in awe of anyone on the ice. Checked hard, worked for control and stood up to all takers. Well done!
  • How to get this all the time? A question a venerate veteran like Kilrea must ask all the time.
  • Meanwhile, back at the ranch of life, the Ottawa 67s announced their nominees for the various OHL academic awards: our nominee for the Ivan Tennant Memorial Award as the OHL's Top Academic High School Player is Tyler Cuma; our nominee for the Roger Neilson Memorial Award as the OHL's Top Academic College or University Player is Brady Morrison, and Tyler Cuma is our nominee for the Bobby Smith Trophy which is presented to the OHL Scholastic Player of the year who best combines high standards of play and academic excellence. The trophy is in honour of Bobby Smith, the former Ottawa 67’s star who exhibited a standard of excellence in both of these areas. Congratulations gentlemen for earning your team’s recognition of your excellence in more than just hockey. As previously noted in my blogs, Tyler was also a member of Team Ontario’s gold medal hockey team in the Canada Winter Games that were played in Whitehorse earlier this month.
  • Finally, want to acknowledge all these young men and the people around them who have to deal with the surreal aspect of being elite athletes in a sport that obsesses us as Canadians (hockey is OUR game and Ottawa is HOCKEY COUNTRY!!). To be so young, so blessed with skill and keep a level head is truly remarkable. It is impressive to see the grace with which many of these people accept and adapt to the roles they have fallen into through the love of their sport.
  • The weather is closing in on us tonight. Possibility of 10 - 15 cm of snow tonight with more tomorrow. Glad neither of the two teams are travelling tonight. I can imagin that among the anxieties of parents of major junior hockey players is the anxiety that goes with all that travel. There are at least 40 or so young folks who are off the road in this late winter weather.

So, the 67s still have a chance to play for something important - 6th spot and meeting the IceDogs rather than the Bulls in the first round. Another win over Oshawa tomorow would set up a really interesting game against Sudbury on Sunday. But let's take this one shift, one period, one game at a time. Win the small battles and the big ones should follow.

Last weekend of the regular season - let's see you at the Civic Centre this weekend!

Go 67s Go!!

March 11, 2007

No Breaking These Colts Today: Ottawa 1 – Barrie 3

Last meeting of the year between these two teams with the series split 2 – 1 in Ottawa’s favour. Barrie had not won in their last 9 visits to the Civic Centre. With a win today Barrie could lock up 1st place in the Eastern Conference. They came into today’s game on a 3-game winning streak.

Ottawa didn’t play yesterday but still managed to clinch a playoff spot by virtue of Peterborough’s loss. At stake in today’s game: a firm lock on 8th place, starting a modest winning streak, keeping the Civic Centre hex on Barrie alive and staying over .500 at home.

Barrie player notes: not dressing were Kyle van den Bospoort, Tomas Marcinko, Alex Hutchings, Ryan Gottschalk, George Lovatsis and former 67 Joe Pleckaitis. Andre Perugrini started in net.

Ottawa player notes: Sean Ryan, Jordan Gallea and Aaron Alphonso sat out. Brady Morrison was between the pipes.

Lines for tonight:
McGinn, Couture, Liscomb
Methot, Kiriakou, Bailey
Lindsay, Cowie, Lahey
Nesbitt, Cimadamore, Ribeiro

Again, all 4 lines saw some ice, even in the third.

Defensive pairings: Joslin - Vojta, Grimaldi – Beard, Demers – Cuma.

The period started like a pong game in the neutral zone between the two teams. Took a while before anything of note to start. Ottawa had it’s first power play just 3 minutes into the game when Richard Clune was called for roughing. Barrie had the 4th best PK in the league coming into today’s game having allowed 75 goals in 447 shots on goal while down a man (I wonder why wouldn’t that be a goalie statistic rather than a team statistic??). Ottawa’s PP was ranked at 17th coming into today’s game. Ottawa managed 3 shots but didn’t convert any.

The game was moving at a reasonably fast pace. At about the halfway mark, former 67s Tyson Aitcheson caught Jason Bailey just inside the Barrie blue line with a decent check that coughed up the puck. Shortly after that Ottawa was caught with too many men to give Barrie its first PP of the afternoon. This time Killer started with McGinn, Couture, Joslin and Vojta as the first PK unit. Logan made a great block at the end of his shift that stung him badly but saved the shot on Brady. The next PK unit of Cowie, Kiriakou, Grimaldi and Beard took over. Overall, the 67s limited the 5th best PP unit in the league to 1 shot during the advantage.

Ottawa was doing a fine job of putting the pressure on Barrie but a lapse in their defensive zone allowed Barrie to get on the board first. It started with Julien Demers giving the puck away and Ottawa not getting organized in response. Barrie’s Brian Lashoff got the shot away and Ryan Bellows was credited with the goal.

Ottawa held off another PP chance by Barrie allowing only 2 shots that Brady handled. Then it was Ottawa’s turn to get the advantage late in the period when Michael Lombardi was called for hooking. In the last 30 seconds of that PP Barrie’s Brian Little intercepted a pass to Joslin and the two of them were skating hard into the Ottawa zone. They ended up in the corner and Joslin was called for hooking which would have ended Ottawa’s PP but Little was also called for diving. So Ottawa held on the to advantage and managed 7 shots but none of them got past Perugrini.

The first period ended with the score 0 – 1 for Barrie with Ottawa out-shooting Barrie 13 – 9.

Somehow during his Oscar performance for diving, Barrie’s Brian Little also managed to earn himself a 10-minute misconduct so after the offsetting minor with Joslin expired, Brian continued to cool his heels. Not that Barrie missed him. The second period was all Barrie and no Ottawa. It was a stampede of Colts for 20 minutes. I’m sure Brady will be seeing blue jerseys in his sleep tonight. Certainly getting 4 penalties to Barrie’s NONE makes it hard to mount any offense. But so does not being able to clear the puck or pass it to the tape of your team mates. The two saving graces during the period were Brady’s outstanding tending and some good hits by Grimaldi. Despite some impressive pressure by Barrie, they were not able to get their second goal until over half-way. With Jakub Vojta off for a questionable roughing call, Barrie’s Richard Clune and Cory McGillis execute a fine give-and-go beating Morrison upstairs from the top of the crease. Brady didn’t stand a chance. Then with less than 3 minutes left in the period, a presumably tired Brady Morrison made the first stop on a shot and perhaps thought he had it smothered but the puck sprung loose and Hunter Tremblay was there to pot it and put Barrie up 3 – 0. (doncha think Hunter is a good name for a hockey player?? Sic ‘em boy!).

40 minutes of play found Ottawa on the wrong end of a 0 – 3 score but more telling, they managed only one shot on Perugrini for the whole period while the Colts bombarded Morrison with 30! No, that’s not a typo sports fans – 30 shots in 20 minutes. And only two beat him. In the last half of the period.

Oh to be in the 67s locker room during the second intermission! It must be difficult to find the right balance between lambasting the team and encouraging them to turn it around. Killer’s been around for a very long time so if he doesn’t have the touch by now, it’s way too late. Well, the team looked different in the third than they did in the second. But then, it actually would have been hard to look worse. The boys picked up their game and started playing in their offensive zone for a while. With Tyson Aitcheson off for a check to the head followed by Chris Purvess getting nabbed for delay of game when he put the puck over the glass, Ottawa finally broke the shut out. Jakub Vojta is not known for taking a lot of shots and certainly during the first of the two power plays, he passed rather than taking a shot (we were all yelling at him to take the shot but I wonder if he understood us). But finally, he took one from inside the blue line and scored his 6th goal of the year. Derek Joslin and Logan Couture got the assists. It appeared that the goal was scored after the first penalty expired which would have meant that the goal expired the delay of game penalty. After a review it was determined that the goal was scored while the first penalty was still being served. This gave Ottawa the PP for an additional 56 seconds. But Ottawa was unable to score on both halves of the penalty pair. Then Ottawa got another chance when Tyson Aitcheson was called for hitting Scott Cowie from behind. Ottawa managed 3 shots during the PP but still could not score. With yet another chance due to Barrie’s too many men on the ice, Ottawa could not score. With less than a minute left, Ottawa pulled Brady for the extra attacker. Barrie missed the open net twice and Joe Grimaldi made another save to deny the empty netter but in the end, Barrie preserved its two goal lead for the win.

Barrie got off the Civic Centre-schneid with a 3 – 1 win and out-shot Ottawa 29 – 45.

Stars for the game:

1. Andrew Perugrini (Barrie goalie with 28 saves)
2. Brady Morrison (42 saves)
3. Ryan Bellows (Barrie – goal)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67: Joe Grimaldi

Random Thoughts:

  • Way to go Brady! He single handedly gave Ottawa any chance of staying in this game. They owe you big time!!
  • Grimaldi had a great game. He made some good checks, good plays and even stepped in as goalie to keep Barrie from getting the empty-netter. Too bad we didn’t see this side of him all year. Let’s hope we see it for the rest of this year.
  • Barrie was beatable. The second period was definitely Ottawa’s undoing. I hope the team can figure out what the heck happened to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
  • Ottawa went 1 for 6 on the PP while limiting Barrie to 1 for 7. Ottawa can keep up with those higher up in the PP/PK rankings.
  • Daylight savings time was moved up three weeks this year thanks to our friend south of the 49th. Hope all your various electronic devices have made the necessary adjustment. Must admit it was nice to drive home in the sunlight after this afternoon's game.

The regular season winds down this week as Ottawa travels to Belleville for its only road game and a likely preview of the first round bracket. They wrap up at home next weekend with back-to-back home games against the Oshawa Generals and a game against Sudbury. Let’s hope the boys find the playoff rhythm that will carry them deep.

Thanks for your time. Hope to see you on the home stretch.

Go 67s Go!!

March 09, 2007

Petered Out: Ottawa 4 – Petes 1

Tonight was the backend of a home-and-home series with Peterborough that started last night. The bad karma that infected the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday must have hitched a ride on the 67s bus to Peterborough as the 67s blew a 3-goal lead and lost in the shoot out. Tonight Ottawa was seeking to redeem themselves while Peterborough was hoping to get a streak going that would secure a playoff spot. Before the ceremonial puck drop, Jeff Hunt presented Tyler Cuma and Cody Lindsay with watches to acknowledge their contribution to Team Ontario’s gold medal in the Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse last Friday. Congratulations gentlemen!

Peterborough notes: scratches for tonight were Breton MacKinnon, Mark Pawlowski, Justin Soryal, and Kris Krolouski. Trevor Cann started in net but was wearing jersey number 30 and did not have his name on it.

Ottawa player notes: Sean Ryan, Jordan Gallea and Aaron Alphonso sat out. Lukas Flueler got the start between the pipes.

Lines for tonight:
McGinn, Couture, Liscomb
Bailey, Kiriakou, Methot
Lindsay, Cowie, Lahey
Nesbitt, Cimadamore, Ribeiro

All 4 lines saw ice time commensurate with their status (i.e. all saw time in each period but not equally. Obviously the top line would see much more time than the 4th line but the 4th line saw time in each period).

Defensive pairings: Joslin - Vojta, Grimaldi – Beard, Demers – Cuma.

Ottawa started by taking the game to the Petes and keeping the pressure on. It took the Petes 3 and a half minutes before they even registered their first shot on goal. The scoring started while Peterborough’s Branislav Rehus was off for hooking. Just 13 seconds into the ensuing powerplay Trevor Cann fanned as he tried to clear Logan’s rebound but unfortunately he put the puck right on Brett Liscomb’s stick and Brett snapped it past him. That was Brett’s 22nd goal of the year. Keeping up the pressure resulted in another great scoring opportunity just a couple of minutes later when Thomas Nesbitt got the puck to Scott Cowie who was all alone at the top of the crease but Cann made one of several stellar saves to keep the Petes in the game. Ottawa kept it up, working hard on the boards, cycling the puck well and Mathieu Methot wired a hard shot that hit the cross bar. Going the other way, Harnden and Rizzi had an odd man rush but Lukas Flueler stacked the pads to stone Rizzi.

Notching his 11th goal of the year, Derek Joslin put Ottawa up by 2 with a blistering shot from the blue line on Ottawa’s second powerplay of the night. Logan Couture and Joe Grimaldi got the assists.

Then Ottawa’s PK units got some exercise as Jason Bailey and Thomas Kiriakou had consecutive penalties in the second half of the period. The PK units of Cowie, Kiriakou, Joslin, Vojta and Couture, McGinn, Grimaldi, Beard kept Peterborough from getting any shots during the Bailey penalty. And the same units, with Liscomb substituting for Kiriakou, limited the Petes to only one shot on goal. And that includes time when Voyta didn’t have a stick and appeared to be hurt. Job well done! As the period wound down, Trevor Cann continued to keep the Petes in the game with two great saves as Ottawa looked good to go further ahead. The period closed out while Ottawa was on the penalty kill as Mathieu Methot needed to reflected on his cross checking infraction.

After 20 minutes the score was 2 – 0 for Ottawa and Ottawa out-shot the Petes 21 – 7.

Ottawa started the second period with 57 seconds remaining in Methot’s penalty. The penalty kill team continued to keep the Petes in check and did not allow any shots to get through to Flueler for the full two minutes spanning the two periods. But in a bit of a breakdown by Ottawa, Branislav Rehus was allowed to wander into the crease and his backhand shot to beat Lukas upstairs. This allowed Peterborough to get back in the game. Briefly. But any momentum they might have gained was quickly lost when Logan Couture was brought down on a cross check by Riley Brand. The two-minute man advantage resulted in only two shots on goal neither of which made it past Cann. But, not long after that penalty expired, Logan Couture was credited with poking the puck over the line in a scrum in front of (on top of??) Trevor Cann. That was his 23rd goal of the year. McGinn and Liscomb got the assists.

The game was fast-paced with good offensive pressure by Ottawa. Peterborough’s speedy Yves Bastien beat Jakub Vojta to get a shot on Lukas only to get stoned. Lukas continued to make some really good saves as Peterborough managed to get a few decent scoring opportunities.

At the end of the second period, it was 3 – 1 Ottawa with the shots on goal 38 – 16 in Ottawa’s favour.

So, the question on the minds of many folks, me included, was…could the boys hang on to the lead for the next 20 minutes. I sat through the same anxiety last night at the Sens – Leafs game and there’s only so much pressure this ol’ heart can take.

The Petes changed goalies; the third period started with that rather tall rookie, Jason Missiaen (pronounced like “mission” by The Voice, Dave Schreiber). The kid will be 17 in May and is currently listed as 6’7” and 178 lbs. Glad I’m not feeding him!

Only a minute and change into the period, Brodie Beard did some masterful work to carry the puck into the offensive zone and pass it to Mathieu Methot who beat Missaien on the short side. Maissiaen didn’t even move. Think he’s still looking for it. That was Mathieu’s 20th goal of the year and his 9th as a barber pole. This gave Ottawa some extra breathing room.

Credit the Petes for trying to make a game of it. For a while they were keeping the pressure on Ottawa in the Ottawa zone but Ottawa continue to control the game. The Petes had a couple of PP opportunities but the 67s limited them to only 3 shots on goal which Flueler handled with ease. Despite Peterborough’s attempts to make the game more physical, Ottawa continued to dominate.

The game ended with Ottawa’s redemption: a 4 – 1 win with final shots on goal 47 – 31 (when I checked the score sheet, the shots were different but I wrote down the shots from the clock in the arena.)

Stars for the game:

1. Logan Couture (goal and 2 assists)
2. Jamie McGinn (an assist and tons of great work)
3. Mathieu Methot (the goal that sealed the deal)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67: Brett Liscomb

Random Thoughts:

  • Nice to see full 60 minutes of committed team play. Executed consistently would make this a dangerous team. Spoilers if done consistently during the playoffs.
  • Liked the line combinations tonight. Liscomb's energy and grit are good additions to top line.
  • I like Kiriakou. From my vantage point he’s a hard fore-checking forward who uses his body well to protect the puck. He may not be the biggest guy on the team but tonight he was hard to move off the puck.
  • Good work by the specialy teams; a couple of PP goals always feels good and all the better when the PK units limited the opposition to maybe 4 shots on goal, none of which scored, in 9 PP opportunites.
  • Ottawa has the day off before the Barrie Colts come to town. Barrie will also be well rested after their 8 – 6 victory over Kingston tonight.
  • Did I mention how great it was to see a full team effort for the full 60 minutes? Cannot be over rated.
  • I note from the blog statistics that there are a number of readers spread around the world. Please drop us a line and tell us about being a 67s fan living abroad. We'd love to hear from you.

Have a good weekend everyone and hope to see you on Sunday.

Go 67s Go!!

March 03, 2007

London Over Ottawa 3 - 1

The Western Conference and OHL leading London Knights came to town tonight for the first of their 3 game swing through eastern Ontario. It was interesting to follow the forum discussions back in 2005 when it was widely understood that Dale Hunter had sold his soul and that of the London organization to have a winning team for the Memorial Cup and that it would be followed by several years of drought. Guess what sports fans, it hasn’t quite turned out that way. London came out on top of the Western Conference last year and is looking good for it again this year.

London notes: scratches for tonight were Kevin Bodker, Trevor Solomon, Robbie Drummond, Andrew Wilkins and Luke VanMoerkerke. Steve Mason started in net. Interesting to note that London did not place anyone on Team Ontario which is playing for gold in the Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse tonight. Coach Dale Hunter is taking a league imposed two game time out. Apparently he voiced some serious concern over the quality of refereeing recently.

Ottawa notes: Julian Cimadamore continues heal and Tyler Cuma and Cody Lindsay are in Whitehorse with Team Ontario playing for gold. Go Team Ontario Go!! Jordan Gallea has been brought up. Brady Morrison started between the pipes.

Lines for tonight – this is kinda tricky with all the penalties and mixing that happened but for the most part it looked sort kinda like:
McGinn, Couture, Lahey with Bailey thrown in for a while in place of Lahey
Bailey, Kiriakou, Methot
Liscomb, Cowie, Alphonso
Nesbitt, Ribeiro, Gallea

Defensive pairings: mostly Joslin - Vojta, Grimaldi – Beard, Demers – Ryan.

It took only 1:34 for Ottawa to get the first of its 9 penalties of the night when Mathieu Methot was tagged for hooking. London plays 5 forwards on the ice as their PP unit while Ottawa started with the usual first PK unit of Cowie, Kiriakou, Joslin and Voyta. Ottawa did a great job of defending against one of the better PP units in the league (sorry – didn’t pick up their stats pre-game). Efforts like the blocked shot by Joslin and the poke check by Kiriakou at the blue line make the difference. It also helps when your goalie is a good defender and Brady Morrison stopped all four shots that made it to him during the PK. At the other end of the ice, Steve Mason did a pretty good job of keeping London in the game with a great save when Brody Beard jumped up into the slot for the first Ottawa shot on goal (7 minutes into the game). Mason continued to do really well on both shots during Ottawa’s first PP of the game. Ottawa was doing well fore checking and breaking out quickly from their own zone but London was able to pounce on a defensive breakdown to get on the board first. At 11;12 Sergei Kostitsyn notched his 32nd goal of the year when he was left all alone in front of Brady. Sam Gagner and goalie Steve Mason got the assists. With Matt Lahey off for hooking, Ottawa had a chance at a short handed goal when Ottawa iced the puck and Mason made a go for it before he realized it was in the goalie no-man’s land. Kiriakou got to it first but was unable bury it. Great effort on his part. Ottawa was doing a credible job of killing the penalty but a great pass from Patrick Kane to David Meckler gave him basically a wide open net and he made good on it to put London up by 2. Ottawa had a good chance to get back into the game with a couple of penalties late in the period. It started with Jordan Foreman getting the call for slashing at 15:36. Ottawa managed just one shot on goal but then Kevin Montgomery was called for boarding Grimaldi which gave Ottawa the 5-on-3 advantage for 37 seconds. Lots of activity in these few seconds. London’s Martinelli was stung when he blocked a shot from Logan Couture from inside the blue line. Then there was a huge scrum in the crease that resulted in a penalty shot being awarded to Jamie McGinn. It wasn’t clear to me what happened but I think a London player got tagged for covering the puck in the crease. Jamie made a good go of it but Mason was pretty invincible tonight and made the save. He’s a big lad and pretty much fills the net. What he doesn’t fill he covers with some pretty good athleticism. By the end of the PP, Ottawa managed to put 8 shots on Mason and bury none of them. With 14 seconds left in the period, Jamie McGinn was called for interference while he was attempting to get onside. The Team 1200 guys were unimpressed with the call.

The first period ended with the score 0 – 2 for London and SOGs 18 – 12 for Ottawa

Ottawa started the second period on the PK for 1:46. With Jamie in the sin-bin, Jason Bailey replace him on the second PK unit. The only shot on goal by London was a fast wrist shot by Sergei Kostitsyn on which Brady made a stellar glove save. At about 6 minutes into the frame Joe Grimaldi was tagged on a questionable tripping call. As the first PK unit of Cowie, Kiriakou, Vojta and Joslin were going for the line change, Mason played the puck up the ice and Vojta made a great head’s up play to notice, stop in his tracks and engage in defending against the incoming green tide. Unfortunately his replacement, Sean Ryan, didn’t make the necessary compensating adjustment and Ottawa was called for two many men on the ice. This gave London the two-man advantage for 1:06. Brady Morrison made a great save right off the next face-off and Ottawa went on to successfully kill both penalties. My stats could be wrong but I think Ottawa kept London to perhaps 3 SOGs for both penalties. Not at all shabby against perhaps the best PP in the league. We noted that the game was getting physical, not in a dirty way but in a good hockey way. While Brett Liscomb was off for a kneeing call, London showed just why they have a successful PP. They were doing a really good job of cycling the puck but Ottawa was doing an equally good job of pressing and shutting down the shooting lanes. London managed only 2 shots on goal – neither of which made a difference. But London did manage to make good with their aggressive fore checking and Ottawa’s inability to win the boards. With 2:36 left in the period, London’s Justin Taylor got the 3-goal lead with assists from Jordan Foreman and Kevin Montgomery. The period ended with a nasty head check by Todd Perry on Aaron Alphonso as he was breaking across the London blue line with the puck. It knocked Aaron’s helmet off and he landed on his kiester. Surprisingly it only resulted in two minutes for Perry. I guess Dale Hunter’s moaning and groaning about how penalties are unfairly called against London got to Carman Cox. Two games might not be such a big price if it gets the zebras thinking about your point.

The period ended with London up by 3 and leading SOGs 27 – 20. Ottawa managed only 2 SOGs the whole period. It’s a wonder that Mason didn’t fall asleep.

So, the third period opened with Ottawa on the PP for 1:03. Ottawa managed a couple of SOGs with the man advantage. But a couple of seconds after the PP had ended Logan Couture spoiled the shut-out when his centering pass from the corner bounced off something and ended up behind Mason and in the net. Without the benefit of the replay to confirm it, it sure looked to me like it actually bounced off Mason himself. This was quickly followed by a tripping call against Joslin. Again, Ottawa did a good job of limiting London to only one shot on goal. But they also got lucky when a London shot rung off the post and stayed out. London’s Adam Perry “seemed” to get pretty hurt when he ran into an official in open ice but I don’t think he missed a shift. On a following play, Brady Morrison made another great save as a swarm of green sweaters descended upon him. In another bit of on-ice drama, Mathieu Methot laid a clean, hard hit on Jordan Foreman who lay some time on the ice while the team trainer attended him. I don’t think the time he spent on the bench “recovering” was commensurate with the time he spent on the ice suggesting that the hit took a greater toll than it did. He did manage to get the play whistled so it was worth something. Ottawa continued to put great pressure on London but they just couldn’t buy a goal against Mason. Liscomb worked hard after an uncalled check to the head to regain puck possession and draw a slashing penalty by Gagner. As time wound down, Ottawa pulled Brady for the extra attacker but Ottawa was unable to get through.

London notched a win with a score of 3 - 1. Ottawa had the slight edge on shots: 36 – 35.

Stars for the game:

1. Steve Mason (London goalie – 34 saves)
2. Sergei Kostitsyn (London forward – goal and an assist)
3. Logan Couture (goal)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67: Derek Joslin

Random Thoughts:

  • Some disagreement on the ride home about the performance of the 67s. I thought that for the most part, Ottawa made London work for their win. The spousal unit thought that London only played as much as they needed to secure the win. Perhaps a bunch of elite athletic young men (teenagers really) are clever enough to gauge and adjust their efforts mid-game to conserve their energies for the rest of the weekend. NOT!
  • Ottawa’s PK was pretty darn good against London’s PP. They did a good job of pressuring London and limiting their scoring changes.
  • Kiriakou may not be getting a ton of goals but I sure like the role he plays. His efforts on the PK are great and it would be nice to know his face off stats.
  • For all that, I thought Ottawa was still not quite a hockey machine. Passes were not getting to and being received by players as well one would want from a contending team. London was much crisper in this department.
  • While I have absolutely no complaints about the play of Brad Morrison tonight, one certainly has to give a ton of credit to Steve Mason. He clearly earned the first star tonight. He really fills the net, anticipates the shot and moves quickly. He leads the league in wins and in all other views of the stats, he has put in more time than anyone ahead of him in the rankings. That kind of goaltending gives the rest of the team a lot of confidence to play aggressively.

Ottawa has tomorrow off and then they travel to Oshawa for a 3:30 Sunday afternoon game where both teams are looking to end losing streaks. Here’s hoping for a successful road trip for the barber poles.

Go 67s Go!!