February 16, 2008

They’re Not in First Place for Nothin’: Ottawa 2 – Belleville 5

This was the 7th of 8 regular season games between these two clubs with all previous games decided by one goal and the series even at 3 apiece.

Game Day Set-Up
Ottawa 67sBelleville Bulls
East – 5thConference – RankEast – 1st
14th - .0185PP – Rank and %3rd – 0.226
8th – 0.826PK – Rank and %11th – 0.810

Top Guns - Ottawa
Jamie McGinnLW44242650+11
Logan CoutureC37192948+14
Thomas KiriakouC54142337-5

Additional Ottawa Player Notes: Tyler Cuma (ankle), Jason Bailey (hip flexor), Jon Carnevale (mono) and Matt Lahey (shoulder) remained out of the line-up. Adam Courchaine got the start in nets.
Top Guns - Belleville
Matt BeleskeyLW51373875+29
Shawn MatthiasC39234366+20
Adam PerryLW54263965+19

Additional Belleville Player Notes: Out for Belleville were Robert Stellick, Stephen Johnston, Tyler Randell, Michael Neal and Andy Bathgate. Parker VanBuskirk got the call between the pipes.

Game Summary

Well, like the headline says, Belleville isn’t in first place for nothing. They are an old team by OHL standards (9-19-year olds) and loaded for a run at the Memorial Cup. They have some guys with serious experience in Shawn Matthias (WJHC and at least one call-up to the NHL) and P.K. Subban (WJHC) and university drop-out Andrew Self. Belleville clinched a playoff spot a week or so ago and they currently enjoy a 7-point lead over John Tavares’ Oshawa Generals. Belleville was also ranked 5th in the entire CHL in the last rankings.

For their part, Ottawa is returning from a 5 – 4 road win in Peterborough last night. They battled back from one-goal and two-goal deficits and took the lead for good on Adam Zamec’s goal late in the third period. It was a long trip back with bad weather so the team was playing today a tad short on good rest. Chris Perugini got the win in Peterborough.

The first period wasn’t so good for the 67s as it seemed that the Bulls were better able to control the puck and keep the play in the Ottawa end of the ice. And that was despite Ottawa having 4 power play opportunities. The only goal of the period came at about the mid-point on an odd-man rush with Eric Tangradi notching his 21st goal of the season with assists going to Andrew Self and Nigel Williams.

Adam Courchaine kept the game close with some good saves including a situation where he lost his stick, the puck was still in play and he still managed to make the save. Before the period was half over, Thomas Nesbitt went down in the corner in Belleville zone and it looked like he might have been clipped in the face by a skate. From the report on the broadcast, it took 20-stitches to repair the damage. He was back on the ice later with a full cage to protect his face (click on the picture to see a larger image).

They started the second period with their 5th power play but were again unable to get past Parker VanBuskirk. But they did manage to put some sustained pressure on the Bulls with better puck control in the offensive zone. The play was pretty good, up and down and some good transitions and it was the transition that resulted in the second Belleville Bulls goal. The defense collapsed on Courchaine and he was screened on Nigel Williams’ shot. Again, Nick Pageau and Keaton Turkiewicz got the assists. And with that goal, the momentum turned to Belleville. It was a better period for the 67s but they were unable to get on the scoreboard. By the end of two periods the shots on goal were 18 – 22 for Belleville.

The third period was Ottawa’s strongest yet it was Belleville that did most of the scoring. The Bulls went up by 3 when Shawn Matthias was left alone at the side of the net and took a nice feed from PK Subban and he had the easy goal into pretty much an empty net. Cory Tanaka had the second assist.

But the 67s didn’t give up. Their first goal wasn’t pretty but there’re no pictures on the game sheet. It was quite the goal-mouth scramble and VanBuskirk was down because Michael Latta was pushed on top of him by a Belleville player. Jamie McGinn was in the right spot to put the puck in the net. Logan Couture and Michael Latta got the assists.

Belleville’s captain, Matt Beleskey was seriously PO’d about the goal being allowed and complained vociferously including pushing the net off its moorings to start his diatribe. The ref didn’t appreciate Matt’s approach and gave him a couple of minutes for a quick remedial lesson in communicating under stressful conditions. Ottawa had a couple of good scoring chances on the power play but VanBuskirk was able to stop them all.

Shawn Lalonde restored the three-goal lead shortly after than when he knocked down the puck and beat Courchaine with an unassisted goal.

And just a minute and a half later, Jamie McGinn scored his second of the night when his shot found its way through VanBuskirk. Logan Couture and Sean Ryan got the assists and Ottawa was back within 2.

With a Belleville penalty for tripping with just over two minute left, the Ottawa 67s called a timeout and came back to the ice without Adam Courchaine for the extra attacker making it a 6-on-4-man advantage which again was rebuffed by the Bulls.

With the penalty successfully killed, it was back to 6-on-5 play. Shawn Matthias beat Paryzek to a loose puck and scored the EN to seal the deal. Cory Tanaka got the assist.

And so, despite a pretty good effort from the 67s, who were still missing a couple of key players (Cuma and Bailey) and after a road game last night, they couldn’t beat the faster, bigger, older Belleville team. Neither team scored on the powerplay which is more telling for the 67s as they had 7 of the 9 powerplay opportunities. Ottawa ended up out-shooting the Bulls 36 – 31. The 67s didn’t lose for lack of trying – it was a good effort.

The Game's Three Stars as Selected by the Team1200
1st Star2nd Star3rd Star
Nigel WilliamsEric TangradiJamie McGinn

Team1200 Hardest Working 67s: Sean Ryan

click on any picture for a larger image

Go 67s Go!

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