October 25, 2009

Spirit Too Strong

The 5 - 2 score does not tell the whole story. The seriously depleted 67s played two solid periods and even though they were really outplayed in the third - they were in it until the last minute and change.

Forward Combos:
Lindsay, Nesbitt, Nigro
Sointu, Martindale, Toffoli
Janes, Merrett, Carnevaleb (starters)
Graovac, Anderson, Stevens

Zanetti, Ceci
Birkhoff, Gibbons
Hanes, Hartwick

Goal: Petr Mazrek

Scratches: Demers (knee), Cowick (shoulder), Smith (shoulder), Cuma (suspended)

The 67s put up a good fight (4 of them to be precise) against the Saginaw Spirit. The first period was fast-paced and for the first 7 minutes, neither team spent any length of time in the offensive zone. Saginaw didn't get their first shot on goal until the 11:21 mark but it was a good one - a goal after finally getting something going in the previous shift. It was Josh Shalla who got the Spirit on the board with his 12th goal of the year on a bad line change that led to a three-on-two.

But Tyler Toffoli got it back less than 4 minutes later on a play that started with Ryan Martindale's back check in his own end. Tyler drove to the net and despite losing an edge on the way, managed to tuck the puck 5-hole on Pasquale before hitting the net off its moorings.

While Ottawa played well, Saginaw started taking over. The shots started creeping up and they tended to control the puck more than Ottawa. They were fast, crisp and accurate in their execution. Vincent Trocheck gave the Spirit the lead again when he wrapped around the back of net and bounced it in off Mrazek.

But the 67s kept at it and got a luck bounce later in the second when Cody Lindsay's shot from the blue line managed to find its way behind Pasquale to tie the game again. Travis Gibbons and Thomas Nesbitt assisted.

But once again, Saginaw took the lead early in the third period when Tyler Murovick's quick shot from the face-off dot beat Mrazek short-side over the shoulder. By now the strength of Spirit forecheck was wearing the 67s down and they pretty much had them pinned in their end for most of the period - putting 17 shots on Mrazek. They scored two goals 12 seconds apart late in the third to put the game away.

It ended 5 - 2 for Saginaw with the shots 44 - 27 for Saginaw as well.

Here's the game report.

Random Thoughts:
  • With his assist on Toffoli's goal, Ryan Martindale becomes the OHL player with the longest point streak this season.
  • The 67s were perfect, killing all three penalties against the team with the best PP in the league.
  • Matias Sointu is still nursing a sore foot, Travis Gibbons' ankle is not 100% and Anthony Nigro apparently needed a few stitches after getting elbowed in the head on Friday. Add this to missing Cuma, Demers, Cowick and Smith and it's easy to appreciate just how short-handed this team played.
  • Had a chance to chat with Julien Demers. He's just getting back into things and plans to test the knee out tomorrow. If all goes well, he might be back into the game in a couple of weeks.
  • Despite the outcome, I thought the 67s played a much better game today than they did on Friday. They skated, battled hard, and looked more cohesive as a team. They are missing lots of key players and were up against a strong team. The Spirit were just stronger and faster and, I expect, a lot older (I haven't bothered to work out the age differences). Our young guys are getting a lot of ice time.
  • Lots of scouts in the house today - Montreal, Boston and Phoenix for sure from what I saw.
  • Brian Patafie was back in town and received the appropriate welcomes from his former colleagues and others.
  • Don't forget to get your online bids in for the unique game-day jerseys and support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Bidding closes Monday October 26th at

I'm trying out a new site to host my pictures. Click here to see pictures from the game.


Anonymous said...

Valerie, someone thats never talked about much is Martin Parazk (sp?). He was a big loss to our defense core. Good size could skate and was very steady back there in his 2 years. Nothing against our new goalie but considering the troubles on defense this year and looking even worse for next yr with loss of Cuma & Demers maybe the 67's should have been looking for help on defense in the euro draft instead of a goalie. An btw where is Martin playing this year. If you could find out that would be great. Allways enjoy reading your blogs!

Anonymous said...

Great to see Pataf back in town. he gave my daughter a puck that was shot into their bench. Tipical (sp) Patafie always smiling and thinking of the fans.

Anonymous said...

should have been there when him and killer went at it outside the dressing room

Valerie said...

Martin Paryzek is playing in the Czech Republic for Karlovy Vary see: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/csl.php?tid=2601

It will be interesting to see what Killer does in terms of players for next year to re-stock the back-end. Birkhoff should still be here as should Gibbons. They are quite strong. And Ceci is going to be great. But we will need a new goal tender.

Anonymous said...

Valerie, Hartwick and Zanetti should be back next yr as they are only 17 and 18 respectively. Having said that your top 5 defence next year would be the same 5 that are logging all the minutes now with Cuma and Demers out so based on how this yr has gone so far that is a scary thought. The goalies are only 17 and 18 as well so they can both be back as well.

Valerie said...

Yup - the returning D-force could be pretty much what we are seeing now....with an additional year under their collective belts. Hopefully all of them should improve. But the likelihood is that not all of them will improve and one or more may be on the move one way or another. Zanetti got an invite to Boston's camp so he looked good to someone.

I'll take your word on Perugini's age. For some reason I thought he was older.

I meant to send along this piece from James Mirtle's blog. It's an analysis on the trend to bigger players in the NHL: http://www.fromtherink.com/2009/10/21/1095661/more-on-bigger-nhl-players

Should take a look at it.

Anonymous said...

I agree we had a solid performance against the Spirit compared to the Friday night's game against the Major...however, I have to admit that there is too much puck dumping and chasing for my liking! We have better results when the players carry the puck in...Toffoli proved that more than once this weekend. We need our defence to step it up a bit as well, the goalies are seeing too much rubber....and we have to work at getting out of our zone...last few games I thought we were on our heels and not finishing our checks. That my two cents....but I am not part of the coaching staff just a die hard fan who enjoys a great game of hockey. Keep at it boys the slump will come to an end soon....I feel it!

Anonymous said...

Having watched Ottawa for many years under Killers reign we have never really been buyers or sellers on the trade market. I thought we should have been buyers last yr being Killers last stand and all and Logan's last year as well as Kiriakou. We may not have won it all with Windsor around but probably could have made it to the OHL final with the right moves. Looking at this yrs team and what we will have back for next yr I think we definately should be sellers. Cuma, Demers, Nigro Cowick and other older players who have trade value should be moved. Take our lumps this yr (it couldn't get any worse)and hopefully be competitive next yr and maybe be a top team 2 yrs from now. I don't blame coaching or any specific players the bottom line is even with everyone back this is not a really good hockey team. We will be hard pressed to make the playoffs with the hole that has been dug and even if we do probably a first round exit is likely.