Nigro, Martindale, Nesbitt
Smith, Lindsay, Toffoli (starting forwards)
Janes, Merrett, Carnevale
Hanes, Graovac, Stevens
Demers, Gibbons (starting D)
Scratches: Sointu, Cowick, Birkhoff
The Kitchener Rangers may have had the first shot on goal just seconds into the game but it was the Ottawa 67s who dominated the ice. The 67s were on their first PK of the game early in the first when Thomas Nesbitt got around the defender and created a two-on-one with Martindale. Instead of passing, he took the quick shot and it went under Mavrick's arm for the SHG. Tyler Cuma got the assist.
Ottawa kept building up the pressure and had the Rangers on their heels for most of the period. Near the end of the period, Ottawa had a great cycle going and also managed to carry out a line change without losing possession.
The goalie judges had to work for their lunch in the second period with 6 goals scored between the two teams. The first four by Ottawa and the last two by the Rangers. It started with Tyler Toffoli stealing the puck behind the Kitchener net, passing it to Cody Lindsaywho rung it off the post. Dalton Smith picked up the rebound and buried it for his 11th goal of the season.
This was followed by two goals within about a minute and a half of each other before the period was 6 minutes old. With the 67s on the PP, Thomas Nesbitt scored his second of the game when he came in off the boards to the slot and beat Parks 5-hole. Cuma and Nigro with the assists and Parks found himself parked on the bench.
Brandon Maxwell took over in the Ranger net and Tyler Toffoli scored on the 67s very next shot 30 seconds later when Maxwell couldn't hang on to the puck. Cody Lindsay assisted.
The second line struck gold again just over the halfway mark when Cody Lindsaypicked up the puck at his blue line, passed it up to Dalton Smith who got the puck to Tyler Toffoli as he rushed to join the play and beat Maxwell with the backhand. This one might make the OHL highlight reel too.
Kitchener looked like they might get back into the game with two very quick goals within about 40 seconds of each other from Jeremy Morin (a PPG) and rookie Gabriel Landeskog in the last 5 minutes of the game. They gave the Rangers some much needed momentum and they finished the period with the best effort they had all game.
But it wasn't enough to turn the tide.
Dalton Smith tipped Travis Gibbons' shot from the point to score his second of the game and Ottawa's second PPG. Tyler Toffoli had the second assist.
Rangers' Gabriel Landeskog got one more goal to halve the difference but the Rangers really didn't threaten in the third, getting only 6 shots on net.
And so the 67s get their 5th win in a row by soundly outplaying the second best team in the Western Conference 6 - 3 and out shooting them 37 - 24.
Here's the game sheet.
(I didn't get a good in-game picture)
- The team really looks like a team now. Lots of support, people where they need to be, and scorers getting goals. Quite the turnaround for a team that was in the basement of the league a couple of weeks ago.
- Cuma is playing like a man possessed. Despite getting hurt a couple of times, he was out there to the end. Someone get him Anton Volchenkov's phone number so that they can discuss recovery techniques.
- Apparently Lindsay is indeed a faceoff machine - 65% wins in the game against Plymouth.
- It was a chippy affair at times with the Rangers letting their frustration boil over on occasion. Or perhaps they've become a dirty team.
- Before the game, the Kitchener Rangers wear t-shirts with RESPECT written across the back. I expect this is out of respect for their team mate Ben Fanelli who is still recovering from the nasty results of a hit he took.
- I normally don't comment on the on-ice officiating because it's a hard job and for the most part, people expect an unreasonable level of perfection. I just have to say something for this game. There was only one referee for this game and he was pretty brutal. His linesmen didn't give him much help either.