January 25, 2009

67s Play with the Otters

Today's game was the Otters' third in three coming into Ottawa after an 8 - 2 loss in Belleville last night. The 67s had the luxury of resting yesterday after their 6 - 3 win at home on Friday.

Erie Goalie Jaroslav Janus will be a bit familiar with Ottawa having played here for the Slovak national team during the World Junior Hockey Championship less than a month ago.

Key matchup: the best PP in the league (Ottawa) up against the best PK in the league.

Forward Combos:
Cowick, Couture, Nigro,
Blunden, Martindale, Nesbitt
Lindsay, Kiriakou, Carnevale
Sonnenburg, Anderson, Schinkelshoek

Demers, Gibbons,
Birkhoff, Paryzek
Hartwick, Zanetti

Goal: Perugini
Scratches: Toffoli, Hanes, Cuma

The scoring started quickly with the Erie Otters get the first goal just 56 seconds into the game on their first shot. Brandon Biggers' shot from the slot was tipped by Luke Gadzic over the stick side of Chris Perugini.

The game was tied less than 30 seconds later when Jaroslav Janus misjudged the puck as it bounced off the boards and then off the side of the net to Thomas Kiriakou who buried it. Cody Lindsay and Brian Birkhoff were credited with the assists. The rest of the period was pretty normal. Neither team seemed to get much going and it looked rather sloppy for the most part.

Early going in the second period looked pretty much like the first period .... and then it changed. It got faster, the 67s started finding each other and it opened up. Cody Lindsay was credited with Ottawa's second goal when his attempted wrap around hit the defender and deflected pretty much straight up. It came down on the net, bounced and hit Janus and into the net. Brian Birkhoff and Anthony Zanetti got the assists. A good point-night going for the D so far. Then, with 2 1/2 minutes left in the frame, Thomas Nesbitt scored what would turn out to be the game-winning-goal with a wrist shot from the face-off circle and over the shoulder of Jaroslav Janus. Brian Birkhoff got his 3rd assist of the game.

Ryan Martindale wrapped up the scoring for Ottawa 5 minutes into the third with assists from Stephen Blunden and (you guessed it) Brian Birkhoff.

Erie got one goal back at the halfway mark in a goal mouth scramble (rookie Mike Cazzola) but that's as close as it got.

Erie won the test of the special teams having held off Ottawa on all 4 powerplays. But Ottawa won where it counted - on the scoreboard: 4-2. Shots were 41-29 for Ottawa.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200

Hardest Working 67s as selected by the Team1200: Chris Perugini

Random Thoughts:
  • This was an OK game. I expected Erie to be tired and the 67s to be in full stride. There were some pretty good moments but this was short of top-drawer for them.
  • Except for Birkhoff of course. He had a great game. Points before tonight: 6. Points in tonight's game: 4. Good game and points too! He is having a great rookie year.
  • Ottawa is now 1 win away from matching the total number of regular season wins last year.
  • The 67s next play in Kingston on Wednesday and then welcome Belleville and London next weekend. Let's hope that they are not good hosts.

More Pictures:

Janus flashing the leather to steal one from Logan Couture.

Dancing fans!

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