February 01, 2009

A Good Knight's Work: Ottawa 4 - London 3

It might be hard to believe it from the advertisements and the sports talking heads but there are 20-some other members of the London Knights other than John Tavares. This is London's swing through the eastern conference. They lost in Kingston on Friday (!) and won in Belleville last night.

Sportsnet chose this game for their national broadcast and the media and scouting contingent was larger than normal.

Ottawa lost in overtime against Belleville here in Ottawa on Friday and had yesterday off.

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

Demers, Gibbons,
Birkhoff, Paryzek
Hartwick, Zanetti

Goal: Courchaine

Scratches: Schinkelshoek, Hanes, Cuma

This was a good game. Lots of speed, good scoring chances, great defensive plays and the good guys win. The game started with a bang when Zac Rinaldo tried to lay a big hit on Cody Lindsay but missed and hit the glass in front of me at full force. The boards really give alot! The first period was up and down hockey with both teams playing hard and both teams keeping the shots from getting through to their goalies. The shot count at the end of the first period was 6-5 in Ottawa's favour.

The game was over half-way done before the first goal was scored. Tyler Toffoli controlled the puck and fed it to Logan Couture who sent his wrist shot top shelf glove side from the hash marks. Julien Demers got the other assist.

Instead of the game slowing down in the third, it stayed fast with both teams battling for goals. And there were goals. Ottawa had the lead three times and London tied the game three times. It started with Zac Rinaldo tying the game by sliding a backhand shot under the left pad of Adam Courchaine during a London power.

Logan Couture restored the Ottawa lead when he wired it past Trevor Cann from the face-off dot. Anthony Nigro and Julien Demers got the assists.

Then the second best (perhaps now the best??) power play in the league notched another one. London's Phil Varone put one over Courchaine's shoulder pretty much right off the face off while Zanetti was taking a time-out for holding. The game was tied...again.

Anthony Nigro scored his 20th goal of the season when he took a nice pass from Logan Couture and buried it to restore the lead...again. Julien Demers helped on that one too.

John Tavares finally got on the board when he got around Julien Demers, went around the net and threaded the puck top shelf between Courchaine and the post to tie it up...again with less than 5 minutes left in the game.

I was pretty sure that the next goal would win the game - whichever team scored it.

The Ottawa top line wasn't about to leave it at that and while the Team1200 guys were musing about how exciting the overtime period might be, Logan Couture simply out hustled the London-D to the puck and fed it from the boards to Anthony Nigro who tucked it in nicely for the lead...and the game winning goal with less than 3 minutes left. Cody Lindsday assisted on that one.

Cann was pulled for the extra attacker but Phil Varone took an unnecessary penalty when he drilled Demers into the boards with 10 seconds left in the game and that effectively ended the game for the Knights.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200 (no picture of 2nd star Phil Varone)

Hardest Working 67s as selected by the Team1200: Anthony Zanetti
(sorry - no decent in-game picture)

Random Thoughts:
  • Before the excuse makers trot out the "it was London's third game in three" recall that when Ottawa lost in overtime in London on January 4, 2009, it was Ottawa's third in three having played in Kitchener on the Friday (won) and Sarnia on the Saturday (also won).
  • Logan's game has changed. He has become more physical. He seems to be playing with more confidence and he actually looks like he's having fun out there. Nigro just might be the winger he's needed this year.
  • Courchaine made some really great saves - especially during one of the London power plays.
  • Good to see Toffoli back.
  • The team played a good team game today. It would be great to see this intensity and hard work for the rest of the season. If they keep it up, they just might deliver Killer his 1200th win before he retires. That would be a pretty good retirement gift.
  • Gotta stay out of the penalty box!! They have been taking way more penalties lately. For the most part, their kill was good today although London still scored two PP goals (on 7 power plays). Ottawa was shut out in their 3 power plays.
  • Had a chance to chat with one of the Islander scouts who was sitting in front of us during the WJHC. He's based in Montreal and this is a short trip to see the London draft-eligible players. And the 67s too.

More pictures:

Now these are customized skates. How many JTs and 91s can you spot?

Nothing like children's voices singing the national anthem

Cowick getting close up and personal with Cann (he was pushed)

Montgomery trying to push Blunden around

Dylan Anderson

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