March 26, 2008

In a Deep Hole: Ottawa 1 – Oshawa 2 and Down 3 Games

After Oshawa taking both games on home ice in this playoff series, play shifts to the Ottawa Civic Centre for games 3 and 4. Game 3 was not as close as game 1 and Oshawa had a solid win (5-2). Chris Cowie and Brett Valiquette were the healthy scratches again in that game and Adam Courchaine started although he was pulled after letting in 3 goals on 14 shots (if memory serves me correctly).

For game three, Chris and Brett were the healthy scratches again and Killer went back to Adam in net.

The lines were:
JMcGinn, Couture, Bailey
Methot, Kiriakou, Latta
Zamec, Lindsay, Nesbitt
TMcGinn, Martindale, Carnevale

Defensive Pairings
Paryzek, Cuma
Demers, Ryan
McCullough, Ostrcil

It took almost 2 minutes into the game before anyone got a shot on goal (it was Ottawa) and in the first half of the period the whistle might have been blown maybe three times (at least twice as each team was assessed a penalty). Ottawa carried the play early in the period as they racked up the shots but they continued to be unable to beat Neuvirth. In all honesty, it didn’t seem like many of the shots were dangerous but they still had to be stopped. Compared with Game 1, there was almost no hitting in the first period. I noticed from Sunday’s game sheet that Oshawa was assessed 4 hitting from behind penalties so I wondered if Oshawa was being careful since all of the Ottawa goals so far had been on the powerplay. Neither team scored in the first period.

As they did in the previous two games, Oshawa was the first to score. It was early in the second period when Brett Parnham picked up his own rebound and beat Courchaine. Ryan McGinnis got the lone assist. Ottawa tried to get it back and had a powerplay opportunity but they were unable to get it working for them. They had chances but just could not seem to finish anything. In fact it wasn’t until the final 20 seconds of the PP until they finally got anything through to Neuvirth.

Oshawa went up by two on their first shot of their only powerplay of the period when James DeLory scoring from the point. Dale Mitchell and Ryan McGinnis got the assists. And with the two goal lead Oshawa hunkered down into protect-mode for a bit. For their part Ottawa was able to get through the neutral zone but still were unable to beat Neuvirth.

Ottawa kept it coming for the third period – controlling the puck and spending a lot of time in the Oshawa zone peppering Neuvirth with 22 shots while Courchaine saw only 5 for the entire period. With under two minutes left and with Eric Regan off for high-sticking, Killer pulled Adam Courchaine so that the 67s had a two-man advantage. They finally had Neuvirth scrambling and Logan Couture broke the shut-out and made it a one-goal game. They kept it up for the remaining time and once again it was a nail-biter right to the end including interrupting at least two empty-netters. But it was not enough and once again the 67s were short by one goal. But more importantly they are down by three games in the series.

The Game's Three Stars as Selected by the Team1200
1st Star2nd Star3rd Star
Michal NeuvirthBrett ParnhamMichael Latta

Team1200 Hardest Working 67s: Jason Bailey

Random Thoughts:

  • Ottawa has played well for the two games that I have seen but it's just not good enough. Running into a hot goalie sure doesn't help. The chatter going into the series was that Oshawa would need Neuvirth to play realy well for them to win this series. Their problems had not been about scoring goals but rather keeping them out of their net. Ottawa has outshot the Gens for all three games so it's not like the defensive play of the Gens is keeping the scoring chances down. So you could say that Neuvirth is really stealing these games for his team.
  • Not much of a crowd which was pretty much expected for a weeknight game in Ottawa. The announced attendance was 4738 but I highly doubt there that many bums in seats. This is really disappointing given the normal attendance this team can draw on a weekend. Too bad the Civic Centre bookings do this to the 67s each year.
  • Not one even-strength goal in three games. Hard to win like that. On the up side, the Generals didn’t score in the first two minutes like they did in the last two games.
  • Jason Bailey played injured and played as hard as he could - he left all of it on the ice. Hope he’s as OK as possible under the circumstances.
  • Killer rolled 4 lines all game. He clearly has confidence in his rookie line as they got good ice time all game including later in the third period.
  • While it seemed like most of the shots (there were 47 in all by Ottawa versus 24 by Oshawa) were all right on Neuvirth - the up-side is that they were on the net as opposed to ending up hitting the boards and the glass behind the net.
More pictures – click on any picture in the blog to see a larger image

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