October 27, 2007

Off the Schneid! Ottawa beats Belleville 4 – 3 in OT!!

Ottawa came into tonight’s game on a 5 game losing streak with a particularly ugly game on Sunday against the Spirit. Fans sure were up in arms after that display.

Meanwhile, Belleville came to town tied with Peterborough and Oshawa at the top of the division all with 17 points and having lost to Oshawa at home on Wednesday.

Ottawa lineup news:
Jordan Gallea, Jason Bailey (mono) and Jamie McGinn (back) were scratches. Thomas Nesbitt was back from his shoulder injury. Matt Lahey dressed and played even though he had been fighting the flu all week. Not sure that was such a good idea – it’s a very good way to spread the germs. Won’t be surprised if we see the whole team go down with the flu now. Adam Courchaine started in net.

Belleville lineup news:
In an interview with their colour commentator before the game (didn’t catch his name), it was noted that this was the first game of the year that Belleville actually sat a healthy player. They had lost a whole lotta player days with injuries already this year. Scratches for tonight: Robert Stellick, Marc Cantin, Michael Neal and Stephan Blunden. Belleville also welcomed Andrew Self who had started the year with the Carleton Ravens but for some reason cut class and returned to the OHL. Guess he wasn’t cut out for academia. Edward Pasquale started in net.

Ottawa Lines:
Martindale, Couture, Latta
Cowie, Kiriakou, Nesbitt
Methot, Lindsay, Lahey
TMcGinn, Latta/Lindsay, Carnevale (only saw a few shifts)

Defensive pairings:
Ryan /Paryzek
Wynn/ Ostrcil

First Period:
Killer started the game with the Kiriakou line and as expected he won the face off and Ottawa created an early scoring chance but the play quickly turned and Belleville drew first blood of the game with their first shot on goal. Last week I was going to mention how aggressively Demers pinches in and sure enough he did it tonight and was burned. Matt Beleskey scored his 8th goal of the year just 33 seconds into the game on a shot that just seemed to sneak through Adam. Shawn Matthias and Eric Tangradi got the assists.

With 6:09 gone in the period, Andrew Self was called for hooking and Ottawa was on its first power play. It was a sloppy affair with Ottawa barely getting out of their own zone. No shots on goal.

Before this PP finished, Belleville earned another 2-minute rest in the penalty box when Matthew Tipoff was called for tripping. Ottawa had a brief 5-on-3 (10 seconds) but couldn’t score in that brief period. Then, with 22 seconds left in the second penalty, Matthieu Methot carried the puck up the left wing, went to the net, patient, patient and then fed a waiting Matt Lahey just on the other side of the crease and he made no mistake and flipped it over the leg of Edward Pasquale to tie the game up! Cody Lindsay got the second assist.

By about the half way mark of the period, shots on goal were 10 – 5 for Ottawa and it stayed like that for a while. You could see that Matt Lahey was trying to conserve his energy and he looked pretty pale.

With 4:06 left in the period, Ottawa was on the power play again and this time managed to generate some energy and again, it was Matthieu Methot who carried the puck up the left wing again and his centering pass missed the first 67s (don’t know who it was) but Cody Lindsay beat Pasquale with what looked like a slow wrist shot. Martin Paryzek got the second assist as Ottawa was now up by one on with Ottawa’s second power play goal of the game.

With 2:35 left in the period, Cody Lindsay was called for interference but it was Ottawa that had the best scoring chance when Matthieu Method intercepted a pass and Thomas Nesbitt rung one off the post.

The period ended with the score 2-1 for Ottawa with Ottawa also leading in shots: 14 to 8.

Second Period:
I noticed the ref’s hand going up at the end of the first period but my seat neighbor thought it was the ref just signaling the end of the period. Nope. It was indeed a Belleville slashing penalty on Bryan Cameron. Belleville was paying attention and could see Ottawa’s attempted breakout passes before Ottawa did and managed to intercept a couple of them to interrupt the power play. Ottawa got a couple of shots on Pasquale but nothing of much threat.

Then it was Ottawa’s turn to get into penalty trouble. First, it was Kiriakou nabbed for holding and the 67s were doing a pretty good job of holding the Bulls at bay for the first minute but then Tyler Cuma was called for cross checking. This gave the Bulls a 5-on-3 advantage for 57 seconds. There were some fantastic saves and clears by Courchaine and the defenders but with one second left in the Kiriakou penalty, Kyle Turkiewicz flipped the puck over Courchaine’s leg to get the even goal. Bryan Cameron and Eric Tangradi got the assists. The Bulls had a 4-on-5 advantage for 1:05 but did not do any damage.

But it didn’t take long for Ottawa to get that back when, on yet another power play, Sean Ryan scored his first goal of the season with a shot from the point that beat Pasquale through the 5-hole. Martin Paryzek and Logan Couture got the assists.

By this time Ottawa has outshot Belleville 22 – 12 and has really carried the play. But Matt Lahey was looking like he was running out of gas.

As the period was starting to wind down, Belleville had a couple of great scoring chances that somehow Adam was able to foil and the defenders were able to clear any debris. With just 2:54 left in the period, Ottawa was on the penalty kill again for the 4th time when Scott Cowie was called for holding. Ottawa won the key face offs and held Belleville to one shot on goal.

After 20 minutes, Ottawa again led by one with a score of 3 – 2 and still outshot Belleville 23 – 14.

Third Period
So, what were we going to see in the third period? I fully expected to see Belleville come out fast and hard. After all, they were all healthy and the Bulls were used to playing on larger ice so they ought to have been fit enough for this rink.

Not so much.

Ottawa dominated most of the period although they were unable to get anything past Pasquale. For that matter, they only generated 6 shots on net for the 20 minutes (although I think the boards and glass behind and beside the net took a pretty good beating).

During one of the Ottawa penalty kills, Kiriakou had a breakaway and his shot looked like it hit under the crossbar and bounced out right away. Play continued and I think the penalty was over before the next whistle and there was a chance to review the shot. The result? No goal. But one would have been sweet.

In the final minutes of play, Belleville picked it up a bit and with 1:37 they pulled their goalie for the extra attacker. They were doing a good job of keeping the 67s pinned. Unfortunately, Kiriakou’s clearing attempt at 1:13 went over the glass and he was called for delay of game. This put Ottawa in an especially tough spot as Thomas is their best face off guy and play was still in the Ottawa zone.

The boys were doing a pretty good job of keeping the Bulls along the boards along the back of the net but eventually the puck was sprung to the point to a waiting PK Subban who beat Adam through traffic to tie up the game with 25 seconds on the clock. Nick Pageau and Shawn Matthias were credited with the assists.

The clock ran out and regulation play ended with a 3 -3 tie and shots of 29 – 22 for Ottawa.

Ottawa started the 4-on-4 play with Cowie, Kiriakou, Demers and Cuma. Belleville won the faceoff and carried the play into the Ottawa zone but Ottawa managed to get the puck out AND make a change – getting Couture and Latta on the ice.

And it paid off. Logan Couture missed his first shot but was able to pick up a rebound and backhand it over the shoulder of Pasquale to win the game just 34 seconds into the overtime period. Michael Latta and Tyer Cuma got the assists.

Ottawa takes the two points with a 4 – 3 overtime win against the Belleville Bulls. Final shots on goal: 31 – 23.

Random thoughts:
  • I gotta admit that I really didn’t think this team would win tonight – especially when it went into OT and the play quickly ended up in the Ottawa zone. I was hoping for at least a close game. Well, I am pleased to be proved wrong, wrong wrong. If only we could see this effort more often.
  • What a mob scene at the end of the game. The team worked hard for this win and they deserved it.
  • Belleville plays a different game than the last two teams that were in here. They don’t forecheck as aggressively and don’t hit as much. This is likely why Ottawa could be a bit more effective against them.
  • Gotta give Lahey credit. I don’t know how many of you could come off a bout with the flu and play a hockey game. He did pretty well for a guy just out of sick bay. Getting a goal isn’t too bad either.
  • The team played a much better defensive game and I saw a lot of second efforts out there trying to clear pucks or get to them.
  • Kiriakou had a great game doing what he is supposed to do – getting in the way.
  • Interesting that Gallea didn’t dress even with a shortened bench. Killer has used him as a forward before.
  • Ottawa plays in Kingston on Sunday and even though Kingston has had its problems, Ottawa should not be too confident – Kingston beat Peterborough 7 – 5 tonight at home.

Three Stars – an Ottawa sweep tonight and the Team1200 guys (Scott McArthur and Kenny Walls) were sure they weren’t being homers.

1. Thomas Kiriakou (no points and actually a minus one game but he made a huge difference on the ice)
2. Matthieu Methot (2 assists)
3. Logan Couture (game winning goal and an assist)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67s: Defensive tandem: Tyler Cuma and Julien Demers

Blitzen’s Rate the Anthem: new singer, better result. You could actually hear some fans trying to sing with here. Gonna give her 2 stars.

I won’t be at the next couple of home games so I won’t be posting any summaries. Maybe Sid and or Stats Guy will be able to get a word in edgewise.

Go 67s Go!!

October 21, 2007

Ottawa Possessed by Saginaw Spirit: 7 - 2

Another beautiful fall day in Ottawa and we spent it inside the Civic Centre as loyal (but increasingly cranky) 67s fans.

A four straight losing streak by the 67s was on the line today. Prior to today, the team has played 12 games and has 12 points to show for it with a record of 5-5-0-2 and a P10 of 3-5-0-2. The only thing keeping Ottawa from the bottom of the division is that the Kingston Frontenacs are much worse – and I mean much worse (2-8-0-1 – yikes!). So far, Ottawa has a GF/GA of 38 and 48 respectively.

The Spirit come in at the bottom of their division with similar stats, also at .500 but having played one game less so far (4-4-2-1 with a P10 of 4-3-2-1). They won easily against Kingston on Friday – smoking them 7 – 1. They scored 4 of those goals on the PP – 3 of them by 18 year old rookie Tyler Murovich. Ryan McDonough notched a couple of his own as well.

Saginaw’s GF/GA is 43 and 44 respectively meaning that they have scored 10 more goals than Ottawa in 1 less game while Ottawa has allowed 4 goals more, again, having played 1 game more than Saginaw.

Ottawa lineup news:
Jordan Gallea, Thomas Nesbitt (shoulder) and Jason Bailey (mono) were scratches. Adam Courchaine started in net.

Saginaw lineup news:
Cody Sol, Tom Craig, Chris Chappell and their captain and one of their overagers, Patrick Asselin were scratches. Parker VanBuskirk got the call between the pipes.

Ottawa Lines:
Pretty mixed up with Jamie arriving late and Killer juggling his lines. Martindale was moved up to centre second line and Lahey was reunited with Couture and McGinn in the second.

Defensive pairings:

First Period:
McGinn didn’t start right away.

Just 1:42 into the game, former 67s player Joe Pleckaitis gave Saginaw the quick lead on a set-up by Jack Combs. Jack Combs and Brad Smith got the assists. Saginaw continued to keep Ottawa on their heels and Ottawa didn’t even get any shots on net until almost 5 minutes into the game.

Ottawa got their first power play with almost 7 minutes gone when Zaborsky was called for hooking on Lahey (it should have been a hit from behind). Ottawa had its best scoring chance on a two on one when Couture carried the puck up-ice on the left wing and fed the puck to Latta speeding up the middle but he was unable to handle the pass. Ottawa managed 3 shots on goal with the advantage.

With 8 minutes left in the period and Ottawa having stepped up its game a bit, Matt Lahey and Kain Allicock went at it after Kain took exception to a hit Lahey laid on Christopher Breen. Not much of a tilt and when it was sorted out, Lahey was assessed 2 for roughing and 5 for fighting while Allicock was assessed 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct.

Ottawa had its second power play opportunity a few seconds later when Ryan McDonough was called for high sticking right off the face off. With a fast wrist shot by Ryan Martindale from the high slot that beat VanBuskirk high on the glove side to tie up the game. Matthieu Methot and Martin Paryzek got the assists.

But it didn’t last long as Wynn turned it over in his own end allowing the Spirit to go ahead again on a goal by Tomas Zaborsky with assists going to Tyler Murovich and Brad Smith.

At the end of the period Saginaw was leading 2 – 1 and just out-shooting Ottawa 11 – 9 but this not correct. Whoever was running the shot clock was missing quite a bit.

Second Period:
Ottawa started on the penalty kill for 33 seconds as Cuma finished his late-period punishment for an alleged interference call (I say alleged since I’m sure it wouldn’t have stood up in a court of law). Saginaw managed 4 quick shots on Courchaine in this brief period but did not score.

I hate goal-mouth scrambles in front of our goalies but for once one of these went Ottawa’s way when Michael Latta picked up a so-called garbage goal by banging in front of VanBruskirk and getting it in the net to tie the game up again! Thomas Kiriakou and Radim Ostrcil got the assists once it was all sorted out.

At this point we were seeing an Ottawa team with a little more step, more urgency, faster line changes and it was keeping Saginaw from getting too organized. And then at about the halfway mark something happened. It was like they all forgot to plY any defense. Running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off (and I’ve seen chickens with their heads cut off – they do indeed run around and it’s not a pretty sight) it was a wonder that Ottawa didn’t meet the same fate as those chickens (cooked! But that is yet to come).

Ottawa had a good scoring chance late in the period but Wynn waited too long to set up his slap shot rather than going with a fast wrister giving Saginaw time to set up and block the shot.

It was a better period by Ottawa and after 40 the game was tied at 2 but Saginaw had more chances – leading shots 27 to 18.

Third Period
Saginaw was targeting Michael Latta and Adam Comrie took it too far when he took a run at him and forced him head-first into the boards. This one happened right in front of the ref but for some reason the zebra thought it warranted only two minutes. I hope the 67s still raise this hit with the league. For the record, Matthieu Methot tried to have a quiet word with Comrie regarding this hit but the linesmen thought it wouldn’t be a good idea. Michael got up and off the ice on his own steam which was good for him.

For some reason, this nasty hit on one of their key players didn’t seem to fire up the team during the resulting power play. For a team with the 9th best PP in the league playing against the team with the 18th best PK in the league, you would have thought an angry team could get organized to do some damage. But noooo, they could not get organized at all and in fact the best scoring chance went to Saginaw when they managed a two-on-one breakaway for a short-handed chance. My dear departed dad (God rest his soul) had a saying about this level of organization having to do with …er... never mind. He traveled the high north most of his career and had a impressive collection of expressions. This one is too colourful for this site. Suffice it to say that it is not complimentary.

Not long after this the roof caved it. Not literally of course. Saginaw went on a romp, scoring 5 unanswered goals:

  • 3:34 Jordan Szwarz with assists from Tomas Zaborsky and RMcDonough
  • 5:26 Jack Combs skated through the entire Ottawa line and beat Courchaine clean. Brad Smith and Joe Pleckaitis with the assists
  • 8:12 Tyler Murovich through the 5-hole on another Ottawa give away. Joe Pleckaitis with the assist.
  • 9:49 Jason McDonough with assists from Jordan Szwarz and Jack Combs; and finally
  • 17:00 when Tomas Zaborsky beat Courchaine top shelf with the assist going to Nick Crawford.

Final score 7 – 2 for Saginaw and they seriously out-shot the 67s 42 – 24. Brutal! Just brutal!

Random thoughts:

  • Got home, did some other stuff, had a drink, wrote some stuff, thought better of it and wrote this. This was a baaaaad performance and this team is in a serious slump. But I took some time to put myself in their skates. It has been a very (very) long time since I played seriously competitive sports but I remember how lousy it feels to have results this bad (most competitive folks have been in similar circumstances at some point). So I will dial back some of my comments and try to respect the fact that these are competitive young men who certainly don’t want to be in the spot they are in. I'm not convinced this is a player issue.
  • McGinn didn’t finish the warm-up and didn’t make it to the ice until pretty much half-way through the period. No word on why.
  • Interesting how everyone is cutting Couture slack for his game killing giveaway on Friday. First Killer in the Citizen, instead pinning the blame on Paryzek’s play in the 20-second 5-on-3. And in the intro into today’s game listening to The Voice cutting Logan all kinds of slack. It just seems to me that had it been anyone else, the comments wouldn’t be so forgiving. Folks are putting this kid on a pedestal and not holding him to account like every other player should be held to account.

  • Speaking of holding players to account: Wynn is not so much a Wynner in my books. For an OA on the blue line, he's in the third pairing and not impressing. Pretty expensive OA in my books.
  • Saginaw’s Comrie is crap. First he drills Latta head first into the boards in a hit that was clearly targeted and then he slashes the 67s ON THEIR BENCH when the game was well in hand. He’s a rookie – hope someone has a word with him before he ends up a full-fledged thug.
  • Shot clock person missing a lot of shots
  • Book on Ottawa, hit them in their own zone. They get all discombobulated and will give you the puck.
  • Ottawa really does not have any edgy players. I miss Liscomb and Bonello.
  • Plus/minus department: the only players who did not have a minus game were McDougall and Perugini (neither hit the ice) and I guess Courchaine since goalies don’t get this stat. Everyone else was in the minus department; everyone was on the ice for one or more Saginaw goals. Minus 1: Cowie, Kiriakou, Carnevale, Latta, Demers, Methot; Minus 2: Martindale, Ryan; Wynn, TMcGinn, Lahey, JMcGinn, Couture; and Minus 3: Paryzek, Lindsay, Ostrcil. I think that pretty much covers the landscape.
  • Someone should get the game tapes from the Peterborough game and see what a good team defensive game looks like.
  • 14 Saginaw players on the plus side; 3 with a plus-4 afternoon.
  • Things that make you go hmmmmmm…Alphonso gets traded and he now leads his team in goals and single-handedly beat Ottawa when the Soo Greyhounds were in town a couple of weeks back; Pat Daley gets traded to Peterborough and although he didn’t get any points on Friday, he is second in points on his team and he was a threat all night on Friday; and today we have the return of Joe Pleckaitis (by way of Barrie) who scored a goal and two assists tonight. What is it that the other coaches are getting out of these guys that Killer can’t?
  • Likely the last nice Sunday we give up unless this team turns it around big time. My free time is a precious commodity 'cause I have so little of it that I will not give up for a franchise that insists on icing a team that is not being organized and coached to play to their potential. This franchise needs to face the fact that their coach and GM is past his prime and does not have the good sense to hand things over. The franchise can consider it a donation and inflate their attendance numbers accordingly.

Three Stars – a Saginaw sweep – with reason.
1. Jack Combs (goal and 2 assists)
2. Tomas Zaborsky (2 goals and an assist)
3. Joe Pleckaitis (goal and 2 assists and rubbing it in to his old team)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67s: Michael Latta

Blitzen’s Rate the Anthem: same singer, worse rating at minus 10 as she butchered two national anthems. Think I’ll start arriving late for games. This just contributes to a deteriorating game day experience (in addition to that irritating guy from 89.9). Don’t know why she’s still singing – must have pictures of someone doing something they ought not to have been doing.

Go 67s Go!!

October 20, 2007

Oh for Pete’s Sake!!

An unusually warm Friday night in the Nation’s Capital and we’re doing what we usually do – sitting in the Civic Centre for another 67s game.

The 67s come into tonight’s game having lost the last three games and having slipped to 4th place in the Division with a record of 5-4-0-2. Quite the fall from their very brief stint in the CHL top 10 teams in the country.

Vince Mallet, the one-time assistant coach in Ottawa, brings his Peterborough Petes to town enjoying a two game winning streak and a record of 6-2-0-1.

Ottawa lineup news:
Jordan Gallea, Thomas Nesbitt (shoulder) and Jason Bailey (mono) were scratches. Adam Courchaine started in net. Killer started the game with his 3rd line.

Peterborough Petes lineup news:
Chad Lowry, Justin Soryal, Mike Ryan, Tyler Sheldrake and Derek Holden were scratches. Trevor Cann started in net.

Ottawa Lines:
JMcGinn, Couture, Latta
Methot, Lindsay, Lahey
Cowie, Kiriakou, Carnevale
TMcGinn, Martindale, MacDougall

Defensive pairings:

First Period:
The Petes got the first of 10 penalties of the night just 26 seconds in to the game when they were caught on a bad line change with too many men on the ice. In the ensuing power play, we got a glimpse of what to expect as Ottawa managed to get only one shot through to Cann during the two minute advantage. It wasn’t long after when Ottawa was on the penalty kill when Tyler Cuma was called for hooking. Not only did Ottawa limit the Petes to one shot on goal, McGinn and Couture generated a great short-handed opportunity that they just couldn’t close on.

Then the Petes got themselves into a pile of penalty trouble, racking up three penalties pretty much back to back starting with about 7 minutes played into the period. The Petes played a very aggressive penalty kill, challenging the puck handlers hard and pressing when the play went into the Ottawa zone. In the 4 minutes and 12 seconds minutes with the extra man, the 67s generated some scoring chances with their 9 shots on goal and finally it paid off 12 seconds into the 4th PP of the period when Cody Lindsay finished a beautiful passing play from Matt Lahey and Martin Paryzek and beat Cann high with a backhand.

The period ended after Ottawa successfully killed another penalty, allowing the Petes only one shot to get to Courchaine.

After 20 minutes Ottawa had the lone goal and led in the shot count 14 – 7.

Second Period:
The Petes came out fast while the 67s looked flat and the Petes took just 20 seconds to take advantage and tie the game up. Adam made the first save (don’t recall who took the shot) but no one cleared the puck and Zach Harnden scored his 4th goal of the year with the assistance of John Armstrong. This was clearly the result of a collective defensive brain cramp of all the 67s on the ice (Adam excluded).

Ottawa went on the power play for the 5th time when the ref finally had to call John Armstrong after he had taken a number of hacks at Radim Ostrcil. But, once again, Ottawa could not take advantage on this nor the second power play they would get in the period. Ottawa could barely get organized in the Petes’ zone much less threaten to score.

On the other hand, Peterborough found its stride and with Logan Couture in the sin bin for holding the opponent’s stick (a penalty that he took while in their offensive zone on the power play and thus ended the power play). Latvian import Arturs Kulda scored pretty much into an open net with the helpers going to Kenzie Sheppard and Brett Theberge.

The Petes rounded out their scoring for the period when John Armstrong notched his third of the year with assistance of the Slovakian native, Branislav Rehus and Zach Harnden.
With their 3 unanswered goals on 12 shots in the period, Peterborough went to the dressing room with the score 3 -1 in their favour while Ottawa out shot them 23 – 19.

Third Period
Well, some of us weren’t very hopeful for this period. And it didn’t get much more hopeful when Scott Cowie was called early for tripping. But the penalty killers did what they are supposed to do and they came out of it without allowing a goal.

Then Peterborough was assessed its 7th penalty of the game for delay of game (puck over the glass) and in 12 short seconds, Logan Couture fed Julien Demers in the high slot and Julien wired a fast one past Cann. Michael Latta was credited with the second assist. The momentum was with Ottawa and they played like they planned to win.

And Jamie McGinn brought them closer to that objective when his weak shot from the face-off circle to Cann’s right somehow trickled through the wickets to tie the game!! Logan Couture and Martin Paryzek assisted.

The 67s carried the game to the Petes and caused them to earn yet another trip to the feel-shame-go-free spot when Zach Bogosian was called for holding. During the ensuing power play, Zach Harnden lost his stick and when the puck came to him, not only did he cover it with his glove, he picked it up and tried to throw it clear (and in the process managed to lose his glove as it went with the puck). Who did he think he was – Martin Gerber??

But with a 5-on-3 for 20 seconds, and 5-on-4 for 1:40, Ottawa could not close the deal. In fact, they almost gave it away with a lousy line change and a weak defensive play by Cuma allowed a Petes player (didn’t get the number), to get to Courchaine and threaten to score.

The Petes started playing the trap and Ottawa could not get out of their zone. This lead to a turn over by Logan Couture in his own end that ended up on John Armstrong’s stick and resulted in a bullet beating Adam. It was John’s second of the night and 4th for the year.
This put the Petes ahead with just over 3 minutes left in the game.

Ottawa didn’t give up and put the pressure on the Petes and the Petes responded with their 10th penalty of the night with 1:28 left to play. Ottawa managed to get control of the play and pulled the goalie. Ottawa generated a couple of great scoring chances but Cann and his crew were outstanding!

The game ended with the Petes earning their 3rd straight win and Ottawa skating to their 4th straight loss.

Final score 4 – 3 for the Petes while Ottawa still had more shots: 38 – 22.

Random thoughts:
  • The Petes really played a really strong, hard hitting, defense-first game and their patience paid off. Vince is clearly doing something right.
  • It seemed like the 67s played really hard at times but not for 60 minutes and they just could not finish anything, including their hits.
  • Not sure if the performance issues lie with the players or whether we should be looking at the coach to accept more of the responsibility. Sure we could probably use some better skilled players at a couple of positions (I’m not convinced by Wynn for example), and they are a bit short forward now with both Bailey and Nesbitt out (too bad Ribeiro burned his bridges), but maybe the coach is well past his best-before date. And we have to remember that the same guy is the GM so he is also responsible for the mix of talent available to ice. I know that this is an annual debate – one I have largely avoided out of respect for Kilrea but as I see younger coaches making big differences with their teams, I wonder when he will realize his own limits. I don't find mediocre results to be all that entertaining. I don’t expect the team to win all the time but another .500’ish year will be a drag and will have a bearing on my decision to renew. It will be criminal to waste our last year of the Couture – McGinn combo. We have the talent to compete better; what impact is the coach having on developing their their individual and collective skills?
  • Section 22 was pretty much taken over by a large crowd of young folks – some wearing Carleton Engineering coveralls. As they were rocking the arena, some of us were wondering whether these engineering students were aware of the structural damage that already exists in the facility!

Three Stars
1. Trevor Cann (Petes 35 saves)
2. Martin Paryzek (2 assists)
3. John Armstrong (2 goals and an assist)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67s: Cody Lindsay

Blitzen’s Rate the Anthem: 0 stars for the official singer (actually minus 4 stars – I could not suppress my painful groans – gawd that was awful); 4 stars for the Carleton students. I think the objective was to drown out the caterwauling taking place at centre ice.

Ya – I’m crabby; it was a long week (with more of the same to come) and I’m disappointed.
Maybe Sunday will be better.

Go 67s Go!!

October 08, 2007

Over the Edge with the Coach

A rare opportunity for me to catch the Monday morning Team1200 chat with Killer. His comments:
  • In response to a question about testing goalies early in the season with the shootouts, Killer commented that Adam was the star of the game on Friday but losing it in the SO can be tough as the goalie will think that he needed to stop that one too.
  • They drill on breakaways and that Jamie is the best SO player on the team (I found this odd since I don't think the stats support that this year).
  • He hesitates putting a rookie in the shoot out as it makes them nervous (perhaps this explains why we haven't seen Latta in a shoot out yet. I think the kid can handle it and rather he get over his nerves early in the season.)
  • Strategy for SO order, likes to keep McGinn for second or third shooter - hopefully Logan and get the first one and put pressure on the other team - McGinn to bring it home if necessary.
  • On Sunday's game, the Soo are all around a strong team; they work hard, stay on the puck and won every battle. They have great depth and a great PP.
  • If you can't win the small battles, you won't win the big ones.
  • For the upcoming road trip, the team needs to play.
  • Perhaps they were a little full of themselves (my words) after their strong start and getting ranked number 3 by the CHL.
  • He's disappointed that he's not seeing improvement across the board. The young kids are the only ones improving (interpretation - vets are not).
  • If the loss didn't ground them, Killer will be sure to do so when they hit the ice tomorrow (today is a rest day).

All-in-all, not a happy camper.


Go 67s Go!

October 07, 2007

Revenge of the Fonz

An absolutely beautiful Thanksgiving weekend Sunday and there are still a few die-hard fans the Civic Centre to see the CHL number 1 ranked team in the country, the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds take on the number 3 ranked Ottawa 67s. It was also Aaron Alphonzo’s first time in the barn in another jersey as he was traded in June for a couple of draft picks.

Ottawa lineup changes:
Jon Carnevale, Sean Ryan, Jordan Gallea and Matt Ribeiro were scratches today. 16-year old Chris Perugini was between the pipes.

Sault Ste Marie lineup changes:
Jake Carrick, Dylan King and Jamie Haines were scratches. 20-year old Kyle Gajewski started in net for the Greyhounds.

Ottawa Lines (in the first period anyway):
JMcGinn, Couture, Lahey
Methot, Latta, Bailey
Cowie, Kiriakou, Nesbitt
TMcGinn, Lindsay, Martindale (not sure if Martindale played centre)

Defensive pairings:

First Period:
The line rotation started with the Cowie, Kiriakou, Nesbitt line with the Ostrcil / Paryzek paring. It took a while for anything to really get started and neither team had registered a shot on goal for the first 5 and a half minutes, including an Ottawa power play opportunity when Josh Godfrey was called for a cross-check on Latta. It was being played very defensively by both teams and even after a second power play Ottawa only managed a total of 2 shots on Gajewski.

At about the halfway mark, Ottawa was assessed its first penalty when Radim Ostrcil was sent off for two for slashing. The Greyhounds were able to mount some offensive action but were not able to put one up on the board. They continued to put pretty good pressure on Ottawa and finally get the first goal when Aaron Alphonso was able to put a rebound past Perugini after some digging and poking. Dustin Jeffery and Michael Quesnele got the assists.

The physical play picked up and the Greyhounds were carrying the play in the last 5 minutes of the period. Ryan Martindale was called for tripping with 1:52 left in the period and the Soo went up by 2 in 9 seconds when Aaron Alphonso (get used to hearing it) was again parked in front to pick up the rebound off Chris’ third save and get it past him. Chris MacKinnon and (get used to this one too) Dustin Jeffery (him too) assisted on that one.

Playing right to the end of the period, Radim Ostrcil returned some of the physical attention when he nicely upended James Livingston at the Ottawa blue line. And I mean upended – skates over brainbucket upended. ‘Twas indeed a thing of beauty.

However, it was but a moral victory as the ‘Hounds held the better statistic: up by 2 at the end of 20 minutes and seriously outshooting the 67s 13 to 4. Think I saw Gajewski texting the girlfriend during the period just to pass the time.

Second Period:
Killer changed up the lines a bit; swapping Nesbitt and Lahey and whatever he saw, it worked. Just 16 seconds into the period, Matt Lahey scored his first goal of the season on Ottawa’s 5th shot of the game when he wired it past Gajewski from the slot. Kiriakou and Paryzek assisted. A one-goal game!

But about a minute and a half later, it looked like the Soo had restored its two-goal lead when it appeared that one of the Soo players (didn’t get the number) managed to tuck the puck behind Perugini. A review determined that the puck had not actually completely crossed the line and so it was ruled a NO GOAL!! Bullet dodged – for the moment. Read on faithful fans.

Ottawa was on the powerplay again with about 17 minutes to go and managed to draw the Soo into another penalty to get a 5-on-3 for 30 seconds…but they were unable to convert on either of the two advantages.

With 7:06 gone in the period, Alphonso, Jeffery and MacKinnon teamed up again to score a beautiful goal to really restore the two-goal lead and give Aaron his hat trick.

Then Ottawa got that one back on the powerplay when Lahey once again beat Gajewski right in front. Kiriakou assisted. I got my hat trick hat ready.

The teams then spent a minute or so playing neutral-zone pinball until Jamie McGinn was called for slashing. The boys did another fine job of defending on the kill – allowing only two shots to get through to Chris. At one point the puck was airborne and Ostrcil timed it just right – leveling the Soo player just as he gloved the puck. Sorta like a safety drilling the receiver just as he catches the ball……….well, maybe an exaggeration but you get the picture. It was a good hit. No wonder Boston likes this kid. He keeps this up he just might get signed.

But with all that aside, at the end of the second period, it was 2 for Matt Lahey…er...Ottawa and 3 for Aaron Alphonso....make that the Soo Greyhounds. As evidence that the Soo was bringing it to Ottawa, they continued to lead with the shots – 24 – 11.

Intermission: we were entertained by a tug of war between the Bogglesmiths (?) and the Crazyfrogs (?), two teams of youngsters at centre ice. The Crazyfrogs won but they really needed the help of the on- ice attendants. The Bogglesmiths were a little indignant but remained good sports.

Third Period
With a shortened bench (Chris Cowie stayed in the dressing room for some unknown reason (injury??)) and being outplayed for two periods, Killer juggled the lines quite a bit – I couldn’t keep track.

Ottawa lost the opening face off (again) and struggled to get the play out of their zone. They then generated a great early scoring chance when Kiriakou sent the puck from behind the net to Lahey who was parked right in front but he could not make contact with the puck.

Then it went bad – I think it was Tyler Cuma gave away the puck deep in his own zone. Dustin Jeffrey had it past Chris before he even knew it. The assist…wait for it…Chris MacKinnon.

In a dive worthy of the Olympics, the Soo was able to draw a tripping penalty on Michael Latta. Again, the PK teams did a fine job of holding off another goal and actually generated a pretty good shorthanded scoring opportunity but Logan was unable to connect with the pass from Jamie McGinn.

Then it was Ottawa’s turn on the PK when Radim didn’t quite get it right when he laid out Chris MacKinnon. It looked like MacKinnon was going to play the puck but he didn’t and Radim was tagged with interference. It’s not noted on the official score sheet. It was a short-lived PK for the 67s as Josh Godfrey blasted it on from the blue line and over the left shoulder of Chris to make it 5 – 3 for the Soo. Jacob Muzzin and Dustin Jeffery got the assists.

A mere 18 seconds later, it was Muzzin and Jefferey teaming up again, this time getting the good bounce off the post and in the net.

Give the 67s credit, they still played hard in a losing cause, pressing for that last morale lifting goal. Things were getting testy on the ice and in the stands. On the ice, Michael Fine was getting a call for high sticking but a scrum erupted involving more than just face-washing and pushing. When it was all sorted out, McGinn and Quesnele were sent of for off-setting minors for roughing.

The near-rumble in the stands took place in Sections 21 and 22, when Cuma was still on the ice dealing with having a stick shoved up his nose. One of the many Soo fans in Section 22 yelled at him to get up. A 67s fan in Section 21 took exception and they exchanged opinions on a number of subjects. The 67s fan, not a tiny man but seriously outnumbered by the much younger Soo fans, decided he needed to get up close and personal to deliver his message. He wasn’t overly aggressive, as he would have easily swept the Civic Centre staff aside had he wanted to. Security staff finally arrived and he was escorted out.

Meanwhile, there was some hockey still being played. BTW, no penalty for the stick up the nose although Park (the ref) was close enough to read the lettering on the stick.

The 67s played right up to the buzzer but to no avail.

The final score: 2 – 6 for the Soo with the shots 16 – 34 for the Soo.

Random thoughts:
  • Why is it that we play teams right after they come off some really annoying loss? First it was Kingston twice after having lost badly, now the Soo Greyhounds after losing in a shoot-out to Kingston.
  • There’s a reason that the Greyhounds are ranked the number 1 Major Junior team in Canada – they have taken 15 out of a possible 16 points this season (including tonight). They work hard, play hard, have skill and have some serious experience in net. Gajewski, while not really tested, did have to make a couple of great saves. They well deserved the win. The long trip home will be a very pleasant one I’m sure.
  • There are many good reasons Craig Hartsburg was chosen to coach Team Canada in the World Junior Championships. I’m sure his international experience is benefiting the team.
  • Who the heck was this Alphonso fellow and why didn’t have him on our team? Oh ya – we did!! Until June that is. Nice to see that the change has had a positive impact on him. Hope he stays healthy for a great season.
  • Well, I wore my game worn jersey but it didn’t seem to do the trick. Maybe I should wear the Memorial Cup game worn jersey.
  • Tough outing for Chris Perugini but every goalie will go through these character building experiences.
  • One ref tonight – Park. Backwards it’s Krap. Draw your own conclusions.
  • Apparently Tyler Cuma is being scouted by the Sens (among others). Hope it’s not throwing him off his game. It would be some fun to see him in their system. Brian Lee and Tyler Cuma as a future defensive pairing. We can dream can’t we?
  • The anthem was better. Not in a key that I could sing (I realize that it’s not all about me) but at least it was a decent rendition, if a bit slow. No spontaneous groans of pain.

Three Stars
1. Aaron Alphonso (Soo - 3 goals)
2. Dustin Jeffrey (Soo – 1 goal and 5 assists)
3. Matt Lahey (2 goals)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67s: Thomas Kiriakou

A slow live-hockey weekend coming up: The 67s are on the road for what should be a tough test as they play Kitchener, Sarnia and London in two and a half days. And my Senators are in New York next Saturday for a game against the Rangers who will be looking for a better result than last night (Gerber’s the man!!). I will get one game in; the Sens against the Hurricanes on Thursday.

See y’all in a couple of weeks. Have a happy and stuffed Thanksgiving! Safe trip to all the travelers.

Go 67s Go!!

October 06, 2007

Oh Shoot!

Friday night of the Thanksgiving long weekend and we are once again in the Ottawa Civic Centre – tonight to see the Brampton Battalion. Ottawa was an ungracious visitor on the opening weekend of the season, having gone into the Brampton barn and beating the home team. Brampton has won their other 3 games of the season and sit in second place in their division. This will be Brampton’s only game for the weekend.

Ottawa changes:
Ottawa scratches for today: Matt MacDougall, Tye McGinn, James Craig (is he still on the team – he’s listed on the OHL roster), Jordan Gallea and Matt Ribeiro who is pouting at home waiting for a trade. Matt Lahey and Radim Ostrcil were back in the line up having recovered from their injuries (knee and wrist respectively). Adam Courchaine got the call between the pipes.

Brampton changes:
Jarolsav Hertl, Conor O’Donnoell, Thomas Middup, Mike Lomas and Bryan Pitten (injuryed during his time in camp with the Oilers). Adam Foote dressed as backup goalie while Carp native Patrick Killeen started in net for the guys in the ugly green jerseys (just had to mention it).

Ottawa Lines:
JMcGinn, Couture, Lahey
Methot, Latta, Bailey
Cowie, Kiriakou, Nesbitt
Martindale, Lindsay, Carnevale

Defensive pairings:

First Period:
The Crazy-8s were reunited for the first time this season and the top line started by drawing a quick penalty when Luke Lynes was called for hooking Jamie McGinn at the offensive blue line. Killer left his top line on the ice to start the power play but no one could generate a real scoring chance. Both teams registered a shot on goal during the 2 minutes. Then it was quickly Ottawa’s turn to play shorthanded as Wynn was called for hooking. The usual number 1 PK unit of Kiriakou, Cowie, Demers and Cuma did what was expected of them – including a solid hit by Cuma Bobby Sanguinetti in the corner. The Battalion were limited to two shots while Ottawa managed one of their own.

It was shaping up to be a pretty defensive game – after 7 minutes the total shots on goal were 7 (3 for Ottawa and 4 for Brampton).

Kiriakou is one of my favourite players (and I’m so glad he got an A this year) because of how hard he works. Ottawa had earned (!) its second penalty of the night when Michael Latta was called for cross-checking. Again, the number 1 PK unit was on the ice and Kiriakou pressed hard in the Brampton defensive zone and forced Matt Duchene to hook him and put the play to 4-on-4.

Both teams continued to play strong defensively and limit the scoring chances and the pace picked up in the final minutes of the period but neither team could score.

The period ended without any scoring; the shots on goal were 7 – 10 for Brampton.

Second Period:
Brampton started the period strong and put some serious pressure on Ottawa. Courchaine did his bit to keep the team in the game, including a great save on a 1-timer from Cody Hodgson from the faceoff circle to Adam’s right!

Finally Ottawa opened up the scoring during 4-on-4 play when Logan was parked on Killeen’s doorstep to bang home the rebound off Tyler Cuma’s shot from the point. Captain McGinn got the other assist.

Then Brampton put on the pressure and again, it was Adam making the big saves to protect the lead including 3 quick saves as the 67s lost possession behind the net and Brampton took advantage. Brampton continued to keep the play in Ottawa’s zone but Ottawa did a great job of not letting Brampton really set up.

As we approached the mid-point the shots had crept up to 13 – 16 for Brampton.

But they were unable to hold the Battalion off forever. Less than 6 minutes after Logan’s go-ahead goal Cody Hodgson was left alone in front of Adam and was able to pot the rebound off of a Brad Albert shot.

The fast play generated some good transitions and the occasional odd-man rush. Both teams worked hard to back-check and bust up the scoring chances.

Ottawa earned its fifth penalty of the game with less than 5 minutes left in the period when Sean Ryan was called for boarding but the boys did what they are supposed to do and the guys in the ugly green jerseys were not able to convert.

So, after 40 minutes of pretty exciting hockey, the teams were tied at 1 and the shots were 14 – 22 for Brampton.

Third Period
Again, Brampton started with more energy and more determination and kept Ottawa on its heels early. Then Logan was called for tripping and Ottawa was back on the PK. The first PK unit did its thing but it was the second unit, McGinn and Lindsay with Cuma and Demers that made the difference. Jamie picked Bobby Sanguinetti’s pocket in the neutral zone and beat a leaning Killeen on the short side to score a SHORT HANDED GOAL!!! He was unassisted on that slick move. Waydago Jamieeeeee!

Well, that was short lived (no pun intended) as Ben Alavie, with Brampton, still on the PP, walked right past Sean Ryan and beat Adam with a backhander. Jason Dale and Alexander Eriksson got the assists.

Ottawa got another PP opportunity at about the halfway mark but Brampton’s aggressive PK pressure absolutely derailed Ottawa – they were completely unable to mount anything remotely resembling an offense. I don’t think they even made it into the offensive zone!

In one of its subsequent scoring chances, Logan chased a pass that was eventually covered by Killeen. Logan might have snowed Killeen a bit but he certainly didn’t come remotely close to crashing the goalie. But John de Gray took exception and gave Logan a bit of a shove. Logan didn’t do too much in retaliation but a scrum ensued and de Gray and Couture were sent off to their respective sin bins. This took one of our key players off the ice; I have no idea what material value de Gray brought to the party. So it’s unclear to me which team actually came out ahead but I’ll bet you a beverage of your choice that we lost the better player.

Nothing material happened in the ensuing 4-on-4 play and neither team could break the logjam in the remaining time.

At the end of regulation, tied at 2 with SOGs 28 – 32 for the guys in the ugly green jerseys.
So, for the third time in row, it was on to….

Killer rolled Kiriakou/Cowie, McGinn/Couture and at least once of Methot/Bailey (I may have missed a shift or two). The Ds were Cuma/Demers (and I missed the other ones – sorry – I was watching but not noting).

Back and forth, up and down, blah, blah, blah. After 5 minutes, Ottawa had not managed to generate a single scoring chance while Brampton had two shots that Adam managed quite well.

And so, again, for the third time in a row, it was …..

On to the shoot out:

Brampton Bobby Sanguinetti X
Ottawa Logan Couture SCORE!!
Brampton Luke Lynes score (ick)
Ottawa Jamie McGinn X (betrayed by the post!)
Brampton John Hughes score (sigh!)
Ottawa Cody Lindsay X

Brampton wins in the shoot out

The final score: 2 – 3

Random thoughts:
  • That third line did some gritty work along the boards. I like really that hard working line – lots of confidence when they are on the ice. May not be a scoring machine but they look like a shut-down line to me (but what the heck do I know).
  • Did I mention that Latta seems to have some skill handling the puck? There were some awesome displays that looked like he had it on a string.
  • It seemed like the 67s played the OT period to not lose as opposed to win. Just a thought.
  • Both goalies made some terrific saves.
  • Ryan Martindale was recognized for his academic achievements for the month. That advisor looked like a midget next to him. Congrats Ryan – school is important!
  • Cuma really had a good game tonight. He always has a good game but tonight seemed especially good. He is one to watch move up the draft rankings.
  • Welcome back to the ice Radim and Matt!
  • Really like our two guys from Europe – they are both playing really strongly.
  • Less slap shots – more wristers please.
  • Talk about building confidence in the goal keeping tandem!
  • We need a name for the number one PK unit. Suggestions welcome! (I lack the imagination to come up with something myself).
  • The Battalion had the extra defender tonight – the goal posts.
  • Another game that was fast, exciting, fun to watch, with hits ‘n all without being dirty, dangerous or damaging. Why major junior hockey is great entertainment value.
  • Brampton has a player named Christmas, guess what number he wears? Born in June – a December birth date would have been too cool.
  • Need to break out one of the game worn jerseys – need to bring some extra karma to the rink to break out of this shoot-out rut.
  • Did I mention that the Brampton jerseys are ugly?
  • Still ranting about the anthem. Why is it that a professional performer like Jim Cuddy gets it and these aspiring folks don’t? At the Leafs’ season opener, he sang the anthem perfectly – most folks could have joined in and he didn’t try to make it other than what it is. Lynden Slewedge is still THE BEST anthem singer in North America. To the 67s organization, please give this girl some advice. I couldn’t sing the anthem tonight and it didn’t feel good.

Three Stars
1. Adam Courchaine (32 saves – not counting the shoot out)
2. Patrick Killeen (26 saves – not counting the shoot out)
3. Jamie McGinn (short handed goal and an assist)

Team 1200 Hardest working 67s: Radim Ostrcil
Blitzen’s Hardest working 67s: Thomas Kiriakow (in consultation with Theognete).

Big game on Sunday with the Soo Greyhounds coming to town. Recently ranked the number 1 team in the CHL and new home of former 67s Aaron Alphonso. Don’t forget to take in the War on Ice on Sunday before the 67s game on Sunday.

Go 67s Go!!