January 11, 2008

A Solid Effort….But Not Enough: Ottawa 3 – Oshawa 4 in OT

This was the back end of a home and home series with these two teams and the 5th time they met this season. So far the series was tied with 2 wins each but Ottawa was coming of a terrible game the previous night where they had lost 10 – 4 in Oshawa.

About Oshawa: Well, they were running on a very full tank for this game. John Tavares was fresh off his gold medal winning Team Canada stint in the Czech Republic and the team had three new players on board with recent trades, including Michal Neuvirth who was the goalie for the Czech national team in the WJHC.

Numbers coming into the game: 3rd place in the conference but only 1 point back of Belleville that held 1st place (Brampton hangs on to second by virtue of being first in their division), record of 26-10-1-3, GF 179 (best in conference), GF 133, on a 3-game winning streak, P10 of 8-2-0-0 and the 4th most penalized team in the conference.

Big guns: League leading Brett MacLean with 84 points (44 goals), John Tavares (3rd in the league) with 71 points (26 goals), and Brett Parnham with 46 points (22 goals).

Scratches for the game: John Quarrie, Ande Andreoff, Chris Leeming, Murry Free, and Daryl Borden. Michel Neuvirth started in net.

About Ottawa: Ottawa was still without some key players: Jamie McGinn (back), Matt Lahey (shoulder), Logan Couture (concussion), and Michael Latta (mono). Marc Zanetti was returned to his team as Martin Paryzek was back from his Czech national team for the WJHC and Ryan Martindale was back from the gold medal winning Team Ontario in the U-17 tournament. Julien Demers and Chris Perugini were back from their brief experiences with the flu. New guy Brett Valiquette joined the team for his first game. Adam Courchaine was back in the net.

The numbers: in 5th place with a record of 20-17-1-2, GF 131, GA 143, P10 of 6-4-0-).

Ottawa Lines (sorta – there was some juggling once Carnevale was knocked out of the game in the first period):
Zamec, Kiriakou, Bailey
Valiquette, Cowie, Nesbitt
TMcGinn, Lindsay, Methot

Defensive pairings:
I lost track

Game Summary - This will be a quick one as I don’t have much time.

The game started rather ominously as Ottawa was on the PK barely 45 seconds into the game. Apparently this is how it all started in the game the previous night. But the best that the best PP in the league could manage in the two minutes was to ring one off the post. And we also got an insight into the caliber of refereeing for the night as Julien Demers was drilled from behind during the PK but the call was not made.

Oshawa really dominated for the first 5 minutes of the period but then the 67s found their legs and started moving out of their zone more. At the 13:24 mark, Ryan Martindale put Ottawa on the scoreboard first with his his fourth goal of the year. Mathieu Methot and Jon Carnevale got the assists.

Then, just over two minutes later and on the front half of a 4-minute PP (Jeff Hayes off for a high stick), it was the new top line that made it 2 – 0 when Adam Zamec beat Neuvirth. Thomas Kiriakou and Jason Bailey got the assists.

With 48 seconds remaining in the game, former Ottawa 67s Shea Kewin (and off-ice bad boy), took a cheap shot at Jon Carnevale. He was going for the head, and whether or not he made contact is a question but it appears he may not have. Take a look and draw your own conclusions. Note the official’s position. Jon did not return to the game. Note Del Zotto's total indifference to the injured player lying on the ice.

Julien Demers took an extreme exception to this hit and took Kewin on. The stoopid officials got in the way so I could not get any decent pictures but suffice it to say that Demers got the better of Kewin. As Kewin was escorted off the ice, he shared his thoughts with the Ottawa bench. I don’t know why he didn’t get an unsportsmanlike penalty for that one.

The penalties handed out: Demers 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct. Kewin: 5 for fighting. Hmmm.

Ottawa started the second period with 44 seconds remaining in the Demers penalty that Ottawa defended quite well. Up to now, Oshawa had not managed a single shot on goal in their 4 PPs.

Ottawa was having a difficult time with the very aggressive forecheck of the Generals including during another 4-minute powerplay when Jonathan Sciacca tried to rearrange Cody Lindsay’s face (teeth?) with his stick. Cody had to leave for repairs. Ottawa managed only 3 shots on goal during the 4-minute man advantage and so did Oshawa. At times it was hard to recognize that Ottawa was on the PP.

This PK gave the Generals quite the boost and pretty much right after the penalty was over, Brett Parnham put Oshawa back in the game with the assistance of Brett MacLean and Dale Mitchell. And then, with 1:17 left in the period, John Tavares tied it up when he beat Courchaine glove side. Kevin Baker and Eric Regan got the assists.

Oshawa started the third period strong and put all the pressure on Ottawa. But it was Ottawa that scored first when, after making two great saves, Cody Lindsay finally banged the puck past Neuvirth. Matthieu Methot and Tye McGinn got the assists.

But it seemed like the 67s were running out of some gas. They were down to 3 lines and Oshawa still had lots of legs and continued taking the game to Ottawa. Before the half-way mark, Patrick Asselin tied it up with his 22nd goal of the year. Michael Del Zotto got the assist.

Regulation ended in a tie with shots favouring Ottawa: 37 – 35

Ottawa started the OT period on the PP for 44 seconds as Brett MacLean finished his roughing penalty late the third. Courchaine made some great saves but the best PP in the league finally kicked in. Valiquette got called for with 2:21 left in the OT period and half way through the PK, Dale Mitchell finally beat Courchaine to end the game. John DeLory got the assist.

So, a valiant effort by the depleted 67s ended with Oshawa winning 4 – 3. Final shots were 37 – 38 for Oshawa.

Three stars

1st Star: Dale Mitchell

2nd Star: Tyler Cuma

3rd Star: Matthieu Methot

Team 1200 hardest working 67s: Adam Zamec

Random Thoughts:

  • There was a pre-game ceremony to recognize the players that had recently been in international competition: Ryan Martindale as a member of the gold medal winning Team Ontario in the international U-17 tournament, Martin Paryzek and Michel Neuvirth from the Czech Republic national team and host country for the WJHC, and John Tavares as a member of the Canadian gold medal winning team at the WJHC. They were presented a gift from Jeff Hunt and some other guy. Someone needs to teach John Tavares some manners. He didn’t even stand with Jeff and the other guy for a picture after the presentation. I also understand that he didn’t shake hands with the Swedish players after the gold medal round (too caught up in other stuff). He’s young but he needs to learn how to better handle these situation.
  • Ottawa 67s played the first period with pink hockey sticks that will be auctioned to raise funds for a breast cancer charity.
  • This game really exceeded my expectations after the game the previous night. It was great to see the team bounce back so strongly after that loss. There were some very strong performances from these guys both offensively and defensively.
  • The new guy, Brett Valiquette seemed to play with some jump.
  • I never thought of the Oshawa Generals as a dirty team but they sure played a mean game. There certainly is some bad blood between these two teams now. I expected Bailey and Kewin to have a serious tilt at some point.
  • Glad to see Adam Courchaine have a good game. He made some spectacular saves to keep the team in the game. He also had some serious help from the posts – maybe 3 saves by the posts, and one that just slid through the crease without going in.
  • Hope Jon Carnevale is not seriously injured. He has been playing so strongly lately. There’s not going to be enough room in the press box for all the injured guys.
  • The reffing wasn’t all that good.
  • Cuma had a great game although he also made some scary passes.
  • Despite the effort of the depleted 67s team, you could just see that the overall skill level of the Generals was much stronger. Which is what you would expect from a fully loaded and healthy team.

Busy hockey weekend for the spousal unit and me: went to the Sens game on Thursday, this 67s game on Friday, going to the Sens – Detroit game tonight, then another 67s game tomorrow afternoon and the Sens game that evening (that’s how the packages worked out). So the update from tomorrow’s game won’t make it until late on Monday some time.

Go 67s Go!

Kirakou and Tavares square off

New Member of the Team: Brett Valiquette

He actually makes this save.

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