October 25, 2008

Nyuk, Nyuk Nyuk. Ottawa Stings Sarnia with a 3-0 shut-out!

This was the second game in as many days for the new Sting goalie Dan Spence. The 20-year old was acquired on Wednesday after being released by the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL where he had played for the last 4 years. His record was 77-49-3-6-2 with a GAA of 2.46. So from Langley BC, to Calgary Alberta to Sarnia Ontario. His inauguration was an overtime loss in Peterborough on Thursday and today’s shut out loss.

This was Ottawa’s first game of their own three-game weekend and the first game for newly acquired Stephen Blunden, formerly of the Belleville Bulls. And it was a fantastic game – maybe the best overall game we’ve seen this year.

The forward combos:
Cowick, Couture, Nesbitt
Martindale, Latta, Toffoli
Blunden, Kiriakou, Carnevale
Sonnenburg, Lindsay, Zamec

Paryzek, Cuma
Demers, Ryan
Birkhof, Zanetti

Adam Courchaine was in the net.

Scratches: Hartwick, Schinkelshoek, Anderson, Hanes

It took a while for either team to really get anything going – neither team could establish any presence in the opposing zone for a good chunk of time. After the first five minutes, the SOGs were only 2 – 1 for Ottawa. Corey Cowick was trying to establish his presence with a number of attempted hits (not too many connecting from what I saw) but notice was served nonetheless. Newcomer Stephen Blunden had his first shot on goal with a wrap-around attempt early in the game but Spence was in position and knocked the puck away. Later in the period, Spence had a great save on Sonnenburg when he reached back and nabbed the puck almost on the goal-line. Spence had a number of great saves during the night to keep the Sting in the game.

The first test of the specialty teams came on the Ottawa PK with 5:30 left in the first period. To this point, Sarnia had scored the most PK goals in the league so far and Ottawa had the 3rd best PK in the league. Ottawa held the Sting to one shot on goal. It was Ottawa’s turn with just 46 seconds left in the period but no damage was done there either.

The second period started with Ottawa on the PP for another 1:14 and Ottawa managed 3 shots but were unable to bury any of them. Both teams traded good scoring chances early in the period and there was good end-to-end play for bits but it was the Ottawa PP specialty team that came out on top. With the Sting down a player for too many men on the ice, Tyler Cuma started it all when he simply threw the puck on the net, it came out to Couture who fed it to Nesbitt. It was Nesbitt’s cross-ice pass that found Corey Cowick with the open net to break the deadlock and score what would eventually become the game winning goal.

Ottawa had found its stride and there was no turning back now. The Sting had nothing in their arsenal to counter the strong team play of the 67s. On the 5th PP of the evening, early in the third period, Ottawa went up by two. Sarnia won the face-off in their own zone but with the puck at the near wall the two Sting players stood looking at it rather than doing anything with it. Logan took advantage and got the puck to Nesbitt who was driving the net and he neatly beat Spence glove side to give Ottawa a bit of a cushion.

The 67s didn’t take any pressure off with this lead. If possible, they got even tougher and for a good chunk of the period, Sarnia barely had control of the puck were held to very few shots until the dying seconds. The outcome was clear when Ottawa scored the only even-strength goal of the game. It started with the hard work of Logan Couture getting the puck out from the corner to Thomas Nesbitt who dropped it for team-leading scorer Corey Cowick to beat Spence blocker-side. The teams traded a couple more penalty opportunities but the game ended in a 3 – 0 win for the 67s.

Here’s the game sheet.

Random thoughts:
  • The Ottawa PK units only allowed 5 shots on goal on three penalties – total – for the game. Great pressure on PK. Good work to stay out of the penalty box too!
  • Both Couture and Cuma had a good game – quicker, more physical.
  • A few scoring streaks ended with this game – among them the TML line was held off the board. As well as Zanetti’s scrap streak (well – I’m not sure he had a streak going but it seemed like it).
  • Looks like Ottawa can now ice three strong lines and a 4th line that shouldn’t do much harm. All three lines were fast to the puck, strong on the boards and driving the net. It was fun to watch.
  • The Sting coach, Dave McQueen, and assistant coach Greg Walters are former Ottawa 67s so they had a good idea of what to expect from a Killer-coached team. You know the game “seven degrees from Kevin Bacon”? In hockey I think it must be something along the lines of “three degrees from Brian Kilrea”.
  • New Buzz on Hockey feature on three game weekends – Weekends with Byrnie (Chris Byrne) – to talk about the weekend ahead. They are expecting a hard game against the Colts and Majors. Majors will likely play a sit-back, trapping style and will be a good test for the 67s as the third game in three.
  • Brian Kilrea noted that he has a large roster and would like to see everyone get at least one game every two or three games. But he also hinted that they will “clear it up some way”. This may have been just in reference to getting everyone some ice-time….or…..
  • With a roster this full, it is reasonable to expect something to change. Either in a trade or some kids being sent down.
  • Not sure if we beat the world record for people wearing Groucho Glasses. We had to sign-in to get the glasses. The number to beat is 4078. I imagine it will take a few days to count up the signatures and get the official word back from the Guinness folks.
  • Belated Happy Birthday to Brian Kilrea (October 21st).
The team left right after the game for tomorrow’s game in Barrie against the Barrie Colts who just lost to the Brampton Battalion and then on to Mississauga for Sunday’s game.

Next home game is next Friday in a return engagement against Mississauga. See you then!

Three Stars as Selected by Team1200

Hardest working 67s as selected by the Team1200: Tyler Cuma

Blunden's first SOG as a 67s

What a bunch of Groucho people!!

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