March 31, 2009

The Last Charge is Over

The Ottawa 67s lost in overtime after giving up a two-goal lead going into the third period. Don't know what happened to the team. Did they leave it all on the ice last night? There were moments of strong play but not enough to pull it off. They were on their heels for the entire 3rd period. Seeing their faces as they left the ice and returned for the OT, you knew they were done. And 12 seconds later, it was official. Here's the game sheet.

A few pictures:

The players were visibly upset at the outcome.

I'll post a season wrap up but not likely before the weekend. By that time, Couture could be in Worcester (currently hold the final playoff spot). Perhaps Demers too. Nigro and Courchaine are St. Louis and Boston prospects respectively so if their affiliates are still playing, they might get some time. Nesbitt will be recovering from his surgery (scheduled for tomorrow), and the rest of the team will be back at their homes - some transitioning to a new school to finish the year.

To steal a line from Patafie's book....I hate hockey!!!

Catch up with all of you later.

March 30, 2009

Dogs Shut Out! Ottawa 4 - Niagara 0

Go big or go home time for Ottawa. Down 3 games to 2 Ottawa had no margin for error in game 6.

This will be a very quick post as 5:00AM gets here really quickly.

Forward Combos:
Cowick, Couture, Nigro,
Lindsay, Kiriakou, Toffoli
Blunden, Martindale, Nesbitt
Hanes, Smith, Carnevale

Demers, Gibbons,
Birkhoff, Paryzek,
Hartwick, Zanetti

Goal: Courchaine
Scratches: Schinkelshoek, Sonnenburg, Anderson, Cuma (knee)

Both teams seemed a bit tentative in the early going - each unwilling to take the big risk that might lead to a goal against. The teams traded power plays and a few scoring chances but neither team scored.

Niagara had a chance to break the scoring open in the second period when Andrew Agozzino was awarded a penalty about 6 minutes in when Thomas Nesbitt broke up the scoring chance. Courchaine made the save; Nesbitt was injured on the play.

Courchaine makes the big save

Nesbitt gets help off the ice from Demers and Gibbons.

It was Thomas Kirakou who opened up the scoring with what turned out to be the GWG as well. And just two minutes later, he also had the insurance goal. Tyler Toffoli had the first assists on both goals; with Cody Lindsay and Julien Demers sharing second assists.

IceDog heroics can't prevent the goal.

The second period was all Ottawa.

The third period started a bit slowly for the 67s and the IceDogs started taking the play to them but Ottawa slowly took over again. Once Corey Cowick added more insurance during the PP, the game got really chippy. The Dogs knew the game was gone so they turned to playing dirty to make a point. They were trying to set the tone for tomorrow's game. The complete breakdown in discipline from Niagara allowed Corey Cowick to score another PPG to make it a nice round number.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200

Hardest Working 67 as selected by the Team1200: Julien Demers

Random Thoughts:
  • As time went on without a goal, I was thinking, the first team to score will win.
  • This was a solid game by the 67s. They were aggressive, physical, purposeful and they stayed with it.
  • The IceDogs, especially Pietrangelo, do not like being hit. They went completely of their game. And Pietrangelo a 4-minute penalty near the end of the game. For a captain he sure has taken a number of undisciplined penalties in this series.
  • Here's the game sheet.
  • Game 7 goes on Tuesday. I have to cancel my workout. I wouldn't miss this game for the world.

More Pictures:
Kiriakou serving notice that he planned to score a goal

Kiriakou's second goal.

Corey Cowick standing his ground.

Blunden's hooking call (!).

Tyler Cuma back on the bench - or behind the bench more accurately.

March 28, 2009

Niagara back in the Lead: 4 - 3 over Ottawa

Series tied at 2 and both teams looking to return to Ottawa with the lead. It was Logan Couture's 20th birthday and he probably was looking for a pretty good birthday present.

Forward Combos:
Cowick, Couture, Nigro,
Lindsay, Kiriakou, Toffoli
Blunden, Martindale, Nesbitt
Hanes, Smith, Carnevale

Demers, Gibbons,
Birkhoff, Paryzek,
Hartwick, Zanetti

Goal: Courchaine
Scratches: Schinkelshoek, Sonnenburg, Anderson, Cuma (knee)

The 67s started the game with purpose and energy and it was Ottawa that again got on the scoreboard first and early. Ryan Martindale scored his second goal of the playoffs when he picked up a rebound off of Tyler Toffoli's and put it into an open cage. Hartwick had the other assist.

Niagara's Alex Friesen evened it up 4 1/2 minutes later. Then Niagara went up two on a beautiful spin-o-rama move around Kiriakou in the neutral zone by Sisca He passed it to Lee who slipped it back to Sisca who was streaking to the net and tipped it past Courchaine on play where he didn't stand a chance.

Good up and down hockey with fast transitions and good scoring chances. A good playoff game.

Marco Insam put the Dogs up by two on a power play just over half-way through the second period.

Cue Anthony Nigro to score two goals to bring Ottawa within one and then tied up the game in the third.

Ottawa limited Niagara's shots in the third but it was Marco Insam that put the Dogs up again with just over 3 minutes left in the game. A big save by Jeremy Smith preserved the lead for Niagara and they come to Ottawa once again ahead in the series.

With Niagara winning all the odd-numbered games, this does not look good for Ottawa.

The game sheet is here.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200:
1. Jeremy Smith (33 or 38 saves)
2. Marco Insam (two goals)
3. Anthony Nigro (two goals)

Hardest Working 67 as selected by the Team1200: Logan Couture (for hitting the post twice (!?)

Random Thoughts:
  • ugh!!
  • belated happy birthday to Martin Paryzek (last Monday)
  • not the birthday that Logan imagined.
  • Adam Courchaine had a good game but Jeremy Smith is keeping his team in the series.
  • The Ottawa snipers are being held off the board. The PP is cold - stone cold. Spring was last week fellahs! Thaw that pp and get on with it!
Not feeling too confident. Maybe the bigger ice will make a difference.

Dream’s end

"As the Ottawa 67’s go deeper into the playoffs, Thomas Kiriakou comes to grips with the reality that this part of his career is ending. He desperately hopes other opportunities are around the corner"

I dread this time of the Major Junior Hockey season. Time for the annual "where to from here" article on the overagers. This year there's only one overager - Thomas Kiriakou. Here's the rest of Chris Yzerman's article from the Ottawa Citizen.

March 27, 2009

Staubitz Gets Press

Guess his little set-to with TooToo has sparked some discussion. Check out what folks have to say on From the Rink.

March 26, 2009

They Take One in the Kennel: Ottawa 6 - Niagara 4

I didn't watch this game - I had other obligations. Well, I watched the last 1:30 of the game.

Forward Combos:
Cowick, Couture, Nigro,
Lindsay, Kiriakou, Nesbitt
Blunden, Martindale, Toffoli
Hanes, Smith, Carnevale

Demers, Gibbons,
Birkhoff, Paryzek,
Hartwick, Zanetti

Goal: Perugini

Scratches: Schinkelshoek, Sonnenburg, Anderson, Cuma (knee)

I jumped into my vehicle to head home and turned on the radio to hear the IceDogs tie the game at 1. Off went the radio (I am such a nervous fan).

By the time I got home it was 3 - 2 Niagara. I wasn't that far from home - what the heck happened!?

I can be irrationally superstitious when it comes to sports and, convinced that I was an unlucky charm, I retired to the tub rather than watch (I know it makes no sense - that's just how it is).

The spousal unit yelled when Logan Couture scored his unassisted go-ahead goal and I rushed to the TV to watch the rest of the game. Thomas Kiriakou won the key face offs in the final minute and change. Key in that the face offs were in Ottawa's end and Niagara had pulled the goalie in favour of the extra attacker.

Corey Cowick gained control of the puck and passed it to an open Thomas Kiriakou for the EN to put the game away.

Here's the game sheet for all the details.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200:
1. Logan Couture (2 goals including the GWG)
2. Thomas Kiriakou (2 goals including the EN)
3. Andrew Agozinno (2 goals)

Hardest Working 67 as selected by the Team1200: Adam Courchaine

Random Thoughts:
  • The spousal unit watched the entire game and found the officiating to be quite, um, liberal in the application of the rules. In his opinion, the Dogs know that the refs will let much go and are prepared to take advantage of it.
  • Thomas Kiriakou has been my favorite player since his sophomore year and he has gotten better every year. It was so good to see him get that EN to seal the deal.
  • We get a game back in Ottawa on Monday. Unfortunately for me I have a work obligation on Monday evening. I hope to make it to the game even if it's late.
  • I stole the kennel reference from Dave Schreibert. It seemed funny at the time.

Well, I know what we're doing Saturday night!! Actually, we will be packing up our kitchen as we prepare for major renovations (aka divorce dust). We'll have the game on too! Now that Ottawa is off the can't-win-in-Niagara schneid, I am optimistic about the outcome.

March 24, 2009

Niagara Takes the Lead: Niagara 5 Ottawa 3

Ottawa hasn't won a game in this barn all season and looked to change that with today's game. The goofy playoff schedule has the series with three consecutive games in St. Catharines. With the loss on Friday, Ottawa has effectively lost the home ice advantage that they worked so hard for all season so Ottawa has to win one of these three games.

The opening ceremony was dedicated to Cpl. Tyler Crooks who was among the 4 soldiers who recently died in Afghanistan.

Forward Combos:
Cowick, Couture, Nigro,
Lindsay, Kiriakou, Toffoli
Blunden, Martindale, Nesbitt
Hanes, Smith, Carnevale

Demers, Gibbons,
Birkhoff, Paryzek,
Hartwick, Zanetti

Goal: Perugini

Scratches: Schinkelshoek, Sonnenburg, Anderson, Cuma (knee)

As in the previous two games, it was Niagara that scored first. This time it was on a power play with Mark Anthony Zanetti in the penalty box for checking to the head of Andrew Shaw. Perugini was screened as Friesen's shot went short side.

Jeremy Smith made some good saves on Ottawa's first power play and his inspired team went up two goals on a heads-up play when Insam picked up the puck that Hartwick lost in his skates while in the slot.

Niagara had the momentum in their barn and it didn't look good for Ottawa when Niagara scored their third goal in the first period. It looked worse when Ottawa went on the PP in the final minute and change in the first. It was pretty awful; hardly what you would expect from the team with the second best PP in the league during the regular season.

Adam Courchaine started the second period. Perugini gave up 3 goals on 13 shots.

Ottawa started with 27 seconds left on their hapless power play from the end of the first period. The big question was how Ottawa was going to come back after what Logan Couture said was their worst period of the series. Well, if the PP was any indication, the second period was not going to be much different than the first.

The penalty against Toffoli was totally bogus. The Niagara player still had the puck. But perhaps 4-on-4 is better for Ottawa as just seconds in, Thomas Kirakou put Ottawa on the scoreboard when he slide one under Smith. Smith was trying to make a case for interference but nobody bought it.

The game finally opened up in the second period and both goalies made some good saves but Ottawa was unable get another one past TFG (see Random Thoughts). It got chippy too.

And it got worse when Ottawa had to defend a 2-man disadvantage for a 1:23 (or so). Adam Courchaine made some serious saves and Kiriakou without a stick made some heroic moves to keep the Dogs from scoring on the 2-man advantage but with just 11 seconds left in the second penalty, Alex Pietrangelo's shot was deflected past Courchaine to put the Dogs up 4 - 1.

Ottawa came out stronger in the third period and Ryan Martindale scored his first playoff goal to cut the lead in half, but it wasn't enough to make up for the first period. The IceDogs took control and shut the door on any come back by Ottawa. The nail in the coffin was the 5th goal with less than 5 minutes left to play.

Schiestel's dirty hit from behind on Couture late in a game that they already had in hand was just - well - dirty. Tyler Toffoli scored Ottawa's only PPG in the final minute of the game to make it 5 - 3 but that's all she wrote.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200:
1. Alex Friesen (goal and 2 assists)
2. Marco Insam (2 goals and an assist)
3. Adam Courchaine (26 saves on 28 shots in two periods)

Hardest Working 67 as selected by the Team1200: Thomas Kiriakou

Random Thoughts:
  • Goal tending may be the difference in this series. And a very strong forecheck on a small ice surface.
  • Niagara really moved the puck well on their power plays. They kept the defenders moving a lot.
  • Kiriakou, as usual, had a strong game. Seemed he was everywhere including some great back checking to avoid a SHG in the third.
  • Jeremy Smith has the fainting goat thing down cold. He fell over like a stone when Nigro simply looked at him. That won't go over well in the majors (if he makes it). He is now anointed as TFG (The Fainting Goat).
  • Pietrangelo mixing it up with rookie Birkhoff. Tsk!
  • The officiating stunk. Parks is not among my favourite officials. Not that I have any favs but for some reason, it's easy to note when he is officiating. And the linesman completely missed the offside on the 5th goal.
  • Hamilton's headshot on Hartwick should be reviewed by the league.
  • The Ottawa PP went cold.
  • The IceDogs have apparently attended the Corey Perry Summer School of Diving. A+ students.

Well, now that the 67s have that out of their system, I expect them to adjust to the smaller ice and make it a series starting on Thursday.

March 22, 2009

Top Line Tames the Dogs: Ottawa 6 - Niagara 2

The playoff schedule had to be modified because of the darn Home and Garden Show. For all their hard work to get the home ice advantage, it turns out the schedule is 2 games in Ottawa, 3 games in Niagara and 2 games back in Ottawa (if the series goes to 7 games). So the loss on Friday was really a loss of home ice advantage.

This was pretty much a must win.

Forward Combos:
Cowick, Couture, Nigro,
Lindsay, Kiriakou, Toffoli
Blunden, Martindale, Nesbitt
Hanes, Smith, Carnevale

Demers, Gibbons,
Birkhoff, Paryzek,
Hartwick, Zanetti

Goal: Perugini

Scratches: Schinkelshoek, Sonnenburg, Anderson, Cuma (knee)

I was nervous about this game and it didn't get any better when, like Friday's game, Niagara scored first early in the game. Zanetti lost the puck pretty much beside his own net and Dylan MacEachern picked up his own rebound and tucked it by Perugini.

And like Friday night, Ottawa came back quickly to tie it up. Just 6 seconds into their second PP (Agonzzino off for roughing), Corey Cowick scored with a quick shot off a nice feed from Logan Couture from behind the net. Anthony Nigro got the other assist.

Tyler Toffoli's blistering shot from the face off circle gave Ottawa the lead that they wouldn't give up this time. That of course was his first OHL play off goal.

Like Friday, Ottawa had a good first period. Unlike Friday, they also had a good second period, with 2 goals from Anthony Nigro (including the GWG) and a blistering short handed goal from Corey Cowick.

The IceDogs played a physical and sometimes undisciplined game, taking 9 penalties, including a couple of 5-on-3s. While Ottawa didn't convert on either of the 2-man advantages, one for 1:41, they scored two powerplay goals. But the best specialty team play was Corey Cowick's short handed goal in the second period just 7 seconds into the penalty. It started when the puck went through DeSousa' feet. Cowick picked it up, skated up the left side and let one fly from the face off circle. It must have been a change-up as it fooled Smith and went in the net.

Niagara got their second goal, and only PP goal, when Thomas Nesbitt was called for charging Dylan MacEachern into the boards. It was a nasty hit and you could see that it fired up the IceDogs.

Cody Lindsay scored his first OHL playoff goal halfway through the third period. Tyler Toffoli got the better of Alex Pietrangelo and fed Lindsay who was all alone in front of the net. Thomas Kiriakou got the other assist. That is a great line that saw a lot of ice time today.

Here's the game sheet.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200

Hardest Working 67 as selected by the Team1200: Chris Perugini

Random Thoughts:
  • The ice must have been in bad shape from the Great Big Sea concert last night. Weird bounces all game, especially in the end where Ottawa defended twice.
  • No playoff hairdo this year but the first round mark under the left eye is there and apparently the boys are growing playoff beards. Some better than others. Some needed to start in January.
  • The top line accounted for 10 of Ottawa's 17 points; the second line: 4; the D 3. Nice way to spread it around.
  • Much better defensive zone coverage by the 67s this game.
  • As the game wound down and it was out of reach for the Dogs, they started hitting just for the sake of hitting. Softening them up for the game on Tuesday.
  • Both goalies made a number of great saves.
  • The Gibbons - Nigro trade for Latta still looks like a fantastic trade. Both players have really contributed. Nigro on the scoreboard and Gibbons with some solid solid defensive work including a few goal saving moves. And there's a pick too.
  • Head games: Drew Schiestel (I'm sure they have an appropriate nickname for him) tripped Tyler Toffoli behind the net long long after the whistle and with Tyler not expecting anything; well after another whistle, instead of sliding the puck to the linesman for the next face off, Jeremy Smith sent it down the ice towards the empty Ottawa net as Perugini did a little skate-about (as all goalies do). Pietrangelo did the same thing on Friday. A couple of vets thinking they can rattle the young goalie in his first two playoff starts. NOT!
  • Also part of their MO must be to get on top of Perugini as much as possible. And I mean on top. He took more hits than some of the forwards.
Expect the game to be really scrappy on Tuesday. The Dogs will want to take charge in their own barn and will still be stinging from today's loss. Expect Friesen, Shiestel, and Steckley to be the ringleaders.
More Pictures:
Gibbons keeps Andrew Shaw from getting a good shot.

Lindsay goes for a spill.

Perugini and Courchaine chat before the game.

Harry, an Ottawa 67s fan and fellow volunteer
at the Parkdale United Church winter soup kitchen.

March 21, 2009

Dogs Top 67s in Game 1: 5 - 3

The regular season series between these two teams belonged to the Niagara IceDogs but coming into the playoffs, the two teams were on opposite P10 records with Ottawa with 7-2-1-0 and Niagara with 2-7-1-0. But I was still worried about this series. Seeing Kiriakou back in the lineup was comforting.

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

Demers, Gibbons,
Birkhoff, Paryzek
Hartwick, Zanetti

Goal: Perugini

Scratches: Schinkelshoek, Sonnenburg, Cuma (knee), Hanes

The IceDogs served notice very early that they had plans to win this series with a goal just 52 seconds into the game when Buffalo prospect Drew Schiestel picked up his own rebound and popped in the net.

Ottawa shook it off and, once again, Thomas Kirakou scored first for Ottawa just two minutes later when he knocked the puck out of mid air and into the net. Martin Paryzek and Cody Lindsay got the assists.

After crisply defending a couple of penalties where Niagara was limited to just 3 shots on goal (and Ottawa has two shots on Niagara), Logan Couture gave Ottawa the lead on Ottawa's second powerplay. The first shot went off the post but Logan was on the doorstep to pick up the rebound. Julien Demers and Anthony Nigro got the assists.

But what really set up the goal was an outstanding second effort from Travis Gibbons to keep the puck in the zone when he got the puck with his glove, tossed behind his back to his stick and passed it to Demers. From his knees!! Highlight reel stuff!

Ottawa played strongly in the first period, limiting the Dogs to just 8 shots in 20 minutes. There were some great scoring chances, but Smith seemed to have luck on his side. A post and Kiriakou missing an entire open side kept the game close.

The second period period was all Niagara. They took the game to Ottawa and kept them on their heels pretty much the entire frame. When Ottawa got the puck, which didn't seem too often, they didn't know what to do with it and they ended up icing it way too often. Their hard work paid off. First, the Dogs tied it up during their third powerplay of the game when Matthew Sisca made a great cross-ice pass to a streaking Chris DeSousa put tipped it past a sliding Perugini. Perugini didn't have a chance.

Corey Cowick put Ottawa back into the lead just 8 seconds into a powerplay but that was it for Ottawa scoring.

Hamilton tied it back up and Michael Hasson gave Niagara the go-ahead on a wrap-around goal. Ottawa came out better in the third but they were unable to beat Smith. The Dogs did a good job of getting in the way.

With Ottawa on the PP in the last two minutes of the game, Perugini was pulled for the extra attacker and they were doing a good job of keeping play in the Niagara zone but Andrew Agozzino flipped the puck into the air and over the reach of Gibbons and it made in into the net for a SH EN to seal the deal.

Niagara Ice Dogs come to Ottawa and take the first game in the first round of the playoffs.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200

Hardest Working 67 as selected by the Team1200: Julien Demers (no decent in-game picture)

Random Thoughts:
  • Going deep into the playoffs is the objective of all teams but more so for the 67s as they want to send Killer off in style. But it may have turned their intensity into tension.
  • Perugini seemed especially uncomfortable. He wandered a bit in the first period and narrowly avoided a couple of goals against in the process. He must have been told to stay put since he pretty much stuck to his crease for the rest of the game.
  • It didn't seem like they were playing tightly as a team. Lots of missed passes, lots of mis-communication, lots of icing.
  • Half of the defensive core are rookies. This was their first OHL playoff game. Paryzek didn't have such a great game either which really made it hard on the team. By the time the third period came around, Ottawa was playing pretty much with 4 D. Shifts for Hartwick and Zanetti were pretty short. Now that they have this game under their belt, hopefully they will be able to step up.
  • Jeremy Smith was solid for the IceDogs but he should not pursue an acting career. Corey Cowick got pushed into him...lightly...and Jeremy fell over like a fainting goat.

So, lets all take a deep breath and re-group. Sunday will be a better game.

More Pictures:
Does this look like holding to you?
Apparently not to the ref. The puck was long gone.

Blunden working hard against Niagara.

Losing sucks.

March 20, 2009

The Boys in the Bigs

Jamie McGinn and Brad Staubitz seem to be sticking with the San Jose Sharks. They have each played 26 games with the Sharks. Jamie's ice time is increasing while Brad is getting 4th line time.

This is more impressive given that the Sharks are struggling a little of late.

Here are links to stats for Jamie and Brad.

They both had a role in last night's win over Nashville. Here's a link to a game summary from the Sharks website. Note the mention of Logan's OHL Player of the Week honours.

Here are links to some video clips from last night's game:

Jamie's hit on Jordan Tootoo (hit "Video Highlights" and go to "Play by Play Ice Tracker"); and

TSN's highlight reel opening with Brad's fight with Jordan Tootoo. (wait until the advertisement is over, Brad's work is early in the clip)

This blog gets a number of hits based on folks searching on him. Well, after last night's performance, he had waaay more folks looking for information on him. Mostly from California. This Edmonton-born (yay - I'm from Edmonton), former 67s stalwart and still a fan favorite may be increasing his fan base out west.

It's good to see them succeeding.

BTW - I didn't post Logan's honours this week because the Ottawa 67s now link to this blog from their website (check out the banner link on the lower right side). It seemed redundant to repeat their content. But for the record, we are really pleased that Logan's hard work has finally been recognized. Congrats Logan!! I expect to be blogging about your success in the bigs in the not too distant future. But right now we focus on the playoffs.

March 18, 2009

Tyler Cuma Update

Have you been wondering what Tyler Cuma's been up to lately? Well, he's still in Minnesota rehabbing from his surgery in February. Here's something I found while cruising the internet:

Rookie endures long rehab

The defenseman vows it won't slow him down for next season.

By MICHAEL RUSSO, Star Tribune

Tyler Cuma's third season in the Ontario Hockey League might have been ruined because of a knee injury, but the 19-year-old defenseman said missing more than half of the season with the Ottawa 67s won't hinder him from making a viable run at a job with the Wild next season.

Read the rest of the article here.

March 16, 2009

Haute Couture: 5 - 3 over Kingston

Last game of the regular season and it didn't mean anything to either team in terms of the standings. Kingston was locked into last place in the conference; Ottawa clinched third place on Tuesday in Kingston.

The game did have meaning however - it was Killer's last regular season game behind the bench - after 32 years in that familiar spot. The 67s wanted this one for their coach. The Fronts had no intention of handing it to them.

Forward Combos:
Cowick, Couture, Nigro,
Lindsay, Martindale, Toffoli
Blunden, Nesbitt, Carnevale
Sonnenburg, Smith, Schinkelshoek

Demers, Gibbons,
Birkhoff, Zanetti
Hartwick, Paryzek

Goal: Perugini/Courchaine

Scratches: Kiriakou (head), Anderson, Cuma (knee), Hanes

The Kingston Frontenacs were perfect guests during the tribute to Brian Kilrea. They stood at appropriate times, they banged their sticks on the boards as their applause and they sat patiently. But that was all over once the puck dropped.

It was a penalty filled event with 27 penalties - 12 against the 67s and 15 against the Fronts. Only 3 of all these called in the third. The goalies were run, there was roughing, slashing and a fight among the infractions. It was almost as if they were trying to put on an old fashioned game.

Logan Couture opened the scoring before the game was five minutes old and Ryan Martindale notched his first since returning to put the 67s up by two. Kingston tied it up with goals from Andris Dzerins and Nathan Moon. The teams traded goals one more time with Nathan Moon getting his second of the game and Cody Lindsay notching his 24th goal of the season.

The rest fell to Logan Couture who took the team's fate into his own hands scoring both the game winning goal and the insurance goal for his first hat trick of the season.

Killer planned on having both goalies play in the game and Adam Courchaine started the second period.

At the end of the game, Killer went on the ice to shake hands of Doug Gilmour and his team and the 67s formed an arch of honour with their sticks as Coach Killer Kilrea walked off the ice.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200
(Nathan Moon was the "4th star". He did not take a turn.)

Hardest Working 67 as selected by the Team1200: Corey Cowick

Random Thoughts:
  • Well, Kingston played right to the end of their season and made the 67s work for this win. As Logan was quoted, it wasn't pretty but they pulled it off. Logan was a man on a mission. He has been playing the best hockey of his 67s career lately. this bodes well for the playoffs.
  • Thomas Kiriakou was a scratch as a result of his head's encounter with Walchessen's shoulder on Friday but he was still involved in the game. He was behind the bench with the coaching staff.
  • It was good to see the Civic Centre at capacity for a 67s game.
  • And now it's time to get ready for the playoffs. Niagara will be a tough opponent. Good to see that the 67s had to work hard for their last win.
  • And on an alumni note, Jamie McGinn was called up again and had an assist on the lone Sharks goal in their 1 - 0 win over the Ducks. Well done!

More Pictures:
One of the post-goalie pile-up scrums.

Gibbons settling an account with Mignardi.

And that's the hat trick!

The seconds count down on the last regular season game of his career.

Killer shakes hands with Fronts and shares a word with Mavric Parks.

And now all that stuff is done and it's on to the playoffs.

March 15, 2009

Celebrating a Lengendary Career!

Yes, there was a game today (and I will post about it eventually - probably tomorrow) but the main event was the celebration of Brian Kilrea's final regular season game behind the bench. Some of his coaching numbers:

  • 2,156 games coached (a CHL record)
  • 1,192 career wins
  • 32 seasons behind the 67s bench
  • 31 playoff seasons
  • 2 Memorial Cups
  • 5 OHL Coach of the Year awards
  • 1 CHL Coach of the Year award
  • induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame
  • countless lives touched

Celebration worthy numbers - some of them not likely to be repeated anytime soon (if ever).

It was a sold-out house and with a career like Brian's, you probably could have filled half the seats with the young men that went through this club and their families. There were a number of former players and other dignitaries involved in the ceremony and in the attendance.

Roy Mlakar, Jeff Hunt, Howard Darwin, Earl Montagano, family members wife Judy, kids Billy, Linda, spouses and grandkids. There were players representing each of the decades of of his career: Steve Mortinger, Alan Hepple, Mark Edmonson and Alyn McCauly.

Dave Schriebert (The Voice) served as master of ceremonies. He has a very long history with Brian. Both men had their debuts in the same game: Brian as a coach and Dave as the radio game announcer.

There were video message from Don Cherry and Ron MacLean; Darren Pang and Wayne Gretsky; and Jeff Hunt.

There was a great highlight video to the tune of "My Way".

(if any of the videos become available online I will post links)

Then it was Brian's turn to speak. He spoke of, and thanked the many many people who have been part of his success: doctors, trainers, assistant coaches, front office staff, volunteers and others.

He thanked the Kingston Frontenacs for their patience and noted that Doug Gilmour and his assistants took his advice and wore vests (they were all wearing sweater vests).

Becoming a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame was clearly a highlight of his career but it was when he mentioned the Teaching Room at CHEO and acknowledged the players past and present who were in attendance that he choked up.

The sell-out crowd, including the visiting Fronts were on their feet, cheering the man who consistently brought great major junior hockey to Ottawa.

The ceremony concluded with the Kilrea clan unveiling the permanent Brian Kilrea banner that was raised to the rafters.

Brian and his guests left the ice as Anne Murray sang Snowbird.

It was a good celebration of a great career of a humble man.

Brian was relaxed at the post-game press conference, sitting at the table with a collection of junior hockey hardware beside him, including the trophy given to the CHL Coach of the Year that bears his name. He mentioned how difficult it was today - it was hard to see his speech and he was concerned about omitting people from his speech. He wasn't sure whether he thanked the fans and wanted those at the press conference to be sure to let them know of his appreciation. He was very touched that so many people from his time in hockey came to the game. Cliff Fletcher was supposed to be here but an injury when he arrived prevented him from making it to the arena.

When asked if he would prefer to end his coaching career at home or one the road, ever the competitor he said that he would prefer to end it with a win.

Here's a link to the TSN clip of the ceremony;

Here's to Killer's last charge!!

March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th Unlucky for #13 - Ottawa defeats the Petes 3 - 2.

Last game of the regular season for the Petes who are battling with Oshawa and Sudbury for the last two spots for the playoffs. This was their third game in three days.

Ottawa clinched 3rd spot with their win in Kingston on Tuesday so they are playing for pride and maintaining their winning ways as they prepare for the playoffs that will start in the Civic Centre next Friday - opponent yet to be determined.

Forward Combos:
Cowick, Couture, Nigro,
Lindsay, Kiriakou, Toffoli
Blunden, Martindale, Nesbitt
Smith, Andersons, Carnevale

Birkhoff, Gibbons,
Heartwick, Paryzek
Hanes, Zanetti

Goal: Perugini

Scratches: Schinkelshoek, Sonnenburg, Demers (sick), Cuma (knee)

It was a sluggish start to the game by both teams but Peterborough's Justin Larson scored on the very first shot of the game, beating Perugini 5-hole from the slot. But this didn't rattle Chris as he made a really good save on a Pete's odd-man rush soon after. Ottawa finally got going with a couple of scoring changes of its own (Missiaen saved by the post!). Corey Cowick tied it up with a nice shot from the slot. Logan Couture assisted with a nice tip to Cowick from in front of the net. Anthony Nigro got the other assist.

Logan Couture gave Ottawa the lead at about the half-way mark of the game when the puck bounced off his body and into the net. Assists went to Cory Cowick and Brian Birkhoff. Then it was Jon Carnevale who scored what would turn out to be the GWG when he created the breakaway with a blocked shot and then took the puck and threaded the needle to beat Missiaen.

But it was Walchessen's blind-side late hit on Kiriakou that was the scariest play of the game. It looked like a brutal hit to the head with Walchessen's shoulder. Kiriakou got up quickly but was unsteady on his feet. Patafie attended to him and at a subsequent whistle, he was taken to the dressing room. He did not return to the game. Line mate and all-around scrappy guy Cody Lindsay let Walchessen know that the hit was not appreciated.

Peterborough got one back on the PP in the third but they were unable to even it up even with a two-man advantage (a PP and the goalie pulled) in the last 1:17 of the game.

The Petes are done for the regular season and wait for other teams to find out their playoff fate. Ottawa gets ready for the circus that will be the last regular season game of Brian Kilrea on Sunday.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200

Hardest Working 67 as selected by the Team1200: Chris Perugini

Random Thoughts:
  • I couldn't get any sense of emotion from either team tonight. The Petes could have been tired and/or uptight about their playoff prospects; Ottawa might have been tentative given all the local hype about Sunday's game.
  • Two refs on the ice today but they must have been working from an old rulebook or at least an old interpretation of the rule book. They let ALOT of stuff go for both teams but I think their indifference favoured the Petes. How they missed the late hit on Kiriakou is curious. And Toffoli seemed to have been manhandled alot. Maybe this is their last game of the season too and don't have much to play for.
  • I have a sinking sick feeling we have seen the very last of Thomas this year and forever. I hope he's OK - not just for the team's sake - he is the only OA after all and he is incredibly valuable to the team - but also for his well being. I recall his comments from early in the season that he was looking forward to playing past early April.
  • Logan certainly has been playing incredibly well. He seems to have more confidence in all situations and is really asserting himself on the ice. It's great to watch. It's good to see him improve this year.
  • Perugini made some really great saves to keep his team in the game. They were all down at the OTHER end of the ice but from what I could see they were pretty spectacular. Honourable mention as the 4th star was well deserved.
  • The playoff situation at the Civic Centre is not optimal. They will play two games at home and then 3 (if necessary) on the road and, if necessary, up to 2 more games at home.

More Pictures:
Birkhoff's high school scholastic achievements acknowledged.

Cowick's university achievements acknowledged.

Ryan Martindale returns to the lineup after missing 12 games.

See all of you on Sunday...it promises to be quite the day.

March 08, 2009

Ottawa sends Wolves Packing (again): 6 - 2

With both teams still battling hard to solidify their playoff positions, this game was important.

This was Sudbury's third road game in three days having lost 4-1 in Kingston on Friday and losing 5 - 2 in Belleville yesterday. Their closest competition for the playoffs are Oshawa and Peterborough. Oshawa lost on Friday; Peterborough won yesterday and beat Oshawa today. As of this update, it appears that the OHL standings were were not updated but it looks like Sudbury just might have dropped out of the playoffs.

Ottawa on the other hand still has Mississauga nipping at it's heels for third in the conference.

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

Demers, Gibbons,
Birkhoff, Paryzek
Hartwick, Hanes

Goal: Courchaine

Scratches: Zanetti, Anderson, Cuma (knee), Martindale (mono)

The Foligno's were out in full force with dad Mike behind the bench, one son Marcus on the ice and another son Nick in the stands. But all that hockey talent was unable to produce a winning result for the visitors.

The Wolves were able to limit the league-leading power play to 1 goal in 8 tries, including a 44-second 5-on-3 early in the first period but all that time in the hoosegow took its toll on the team in other ways. As the game went on, it was clear that the Wolves were running out of steam and Ottawa simply took over.

As it has been his habit lately, Thomas Kiriakou opened the scoring when a rebound went right to him and he potted it into the open side for Ottawa's only PP goal. There was a certain symmetry to today's 6 goals (third game in a row where Ottawa has scored 6 goals) with 2 in each period. Logan Couture had an unassisted goal in the first period, Thomas Nesbitt and Anthony Nigro scored in the second and Logan Couture and Tyler Toffoli scored in the third.

With Ottawa up 2 - 0 in the second period, the Wolves got on the scoreboard with an unconventional goal. The Wolves were on the PP and Courchaine had stopped the initial shot but could not control the rebound. Meanwhile, in the crease, John Kurtz was cross-checked by Demers and it looked like the rebound went off Kurtz and into the net (with him). Toffoli came out of the penalty box and Demers went in. Ottawa survived that penalty and the two others that followed in quick succession and, despite getting another goal, Sudbury never really gave Ottawa a sustained challenge during the game.

The Wolves goalie, Alain Valiquette, however was outstanding, facing 57 shots (the game sheet is wrong) and only (!) allowing 6 goals.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200

Hardest Working 67 as selected by the Team1200: Brian Birkhoff

Random Thoughts:
  • Relatively speaking, I have not been coming to 67s games for a long time (when compared to many season ticket holders) but in my recollection, Sudbury has always been a mean, dirty team. Marcus Foligno showed his team spirit when, late in the third, he basically pasted Adam Courchaine against the boards. Adam had gone to the trapezoid to play the puck and with the puck long gone, Marcus went in for the late hit. All the players on the ice got into it and when the dust settled, Sudbury had three in the penalty box while Schinkelshoek and Smith took a seat for Ottawa (both for roughing).
  • Adam had a good game including stoning Eric O'Dell early in the game.
  • Add Logan Couture to the list of Ottawa players having a career year. With today's 3-point performance he has 79 points - 1 more than his 06-07 season.
  • Alim Aliu was well behaved. Hopefully between Mike Foligno and threats from the Blackhawks he is learning a bit more self-control. His former buddy Steve Downie has managed to earn himself another 20-game suspension (AHL); hopefully Akim is paying attention.
  • Julien Demers didn't return for the third period. He apparently injured his elbow in the second period. This is not good news. Hopefully it's not serious.
  • Ottawa apparently needs only 1 more point to clinch 3rd place.
  • Points from all over the roster today: top line - 3 goals and 2 assists; second line - 2 goals and 2 assists; third line - 1 goal and 1 assist; the D - 5 assists. Gotta like that!

More Pictures:
Reach for the top!

Goal line heroics steal another goal from Ottawa.

Toffoli break away - foiled!

Fromer Sudbury Wolf and current Ottawa Senator (and first star in last night's game against Buffalo) drops in and greets fans.

March 07, 2009

Bert O'Brien Day in Ottawa: Ottawa 6 - Barrie 3

As declared by His Honour, Mayor Larry O'Brien, Friday March 6, 2009 was Bert O'Brien Day to acknowledge the career and contribution to hockey in Ottawa by Ottawa 67s Assistant Coach Bert O'Brien.

The pre-game ceremony included Bert's wife of 41 years, Cathy, former Ottawa South player Bill McAndrew, Ottawa Senators President Roy Mlakar, Ottawa 67s owner and governor Jeff Hunt and former Ottawa 67s captain (and current Ottawa Senator) Brandon Bell.

Bert O'Brien addresses the fans during the pre-game ceremony.

Just a few of the young men who have had the privilege of playing during the O'Brien era.

The coaches, soon past and future, taking it all in.

Forward Combos:
Cowick, Couture, Nigro
Lindsay, Kiriakou, Toffoli
Smith, Blunden, Nesbitt
Hanes, Anderson, Carnevale

Demers, Gibbons
Birkhoff, Paryzek
Hartwick, Zanetti

Goal: Perugini

Scratches: Cuma (knee), Martindale (mono), Sonnenburg, Schinkelshoek,

In a pre-game interview with Colin Zappia, Barrie Colt Josh Brittain opined that a first round match-up between these two teams would produce a Barrie win since the Colts play the 67s hard and wear them down. Barrie did have the series lead coming into the game including a sound 8 - 5 thumping on Valentine's day here in Ottawa.

The 67s had other ideas.

Ottawa scored 4 goals on 6 shots in the first 9:14 of the period. It happened so fast, I didn't actually get anything except the celebrations! Starting it all off was Thomas Kiriakou unassisted burying it over the glove of Boston prospect Michael Hutchinson on the first shot of the game just 1:28 in. The pace was fast and the post saved one for Perugini off Cloutier but nothing scoring-wise happened again until the 7:00 minute mark.

Then it was 3 goals in 2 minutes and 14 seconds.

It started 30 seconds into Ottawa's second PP when Tyler Toffoli's wrist shot found the back of the net from the face-off dot, followed by Logan Couture's backhanded shot that went 5-hole and rounded out with Tyler Toffoi's second goal and the eventual GWG. The helpers were: Kiriakou (2), Lindsay (2), Nigro and Cowick.

Ottawa continued to dominate and Cody Lindsay closed out the period when he popped one under the cross-bar short side for his 21st goal of the season for Ottawa's 2nd PPG of the game. He was assisted by Martin Paryzek and Anthony Zanetti.

Celebrating Lindsay's first goal of the game.

It was a strong performance in the first period and I wondered if they would sustain it in the second. They didn't.

Ottawa started the second period strong enough but for some reason the momentum turned. With a new goalie in net, and undaunted with being down 5 - 0 after 20, the Colts turned the tide and kept Ottawa on their heels pretty much the entire second half of the period. And they were rewarded with 3 goals in about 6 1/2 minutes for their efforts. Two former Kingston Frontenacs, Peter Stevens and Josh Brittain each got a goal as did rookie David Mazurek.

After playing so well as a team, it seemed like Ottawa forgot how to play defensively and it fell to Chris Perugini to keep his team in the game for the rest of the game with a number of great saves.

The very successful second line struck again to give the 67s a bit more breathing room half way through the third period. It was Cody Lindsay's second goal of the game and 22nd of the year with assists going to Thomas Kiriakou and Tyler Toffoli.

So Ottawa evened up the series and served notice how a play-off match-up might unfold.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200

Hardest Working 67 as selected by the Team1200: Brian Birkhoff (no decent in-game picture).

Random Thoughts:
  • The second line accounted for 11 of the 16 points in the game. Nice.
  • The 67s have 7 players with over 20 goals. I think that's what they call depth!
  • With all that success, they still have to keep the pressure up for an entire 60 minutes.
  • Perugini is getting the lion's share of the starts lately. Thought the 67s ran pretty much with a 1A, 1B system with these two goalies. hmmmm.
  • Martin Paryzek had an uncharacteristically weak game. While he did get an assist, he also had a few gaffs that cost the team.
  • After 4 goals on 6 shots in the first 10 minutes of the game, the Barrie coaches showed some steel in that they didn't pull Hutchinson. They waited until the intermission to make the change.
  • Barrie assistant coach Jeff Beukeboom was part of a trivia question on the Healthy Scratches this week. I believe it had to do with players who had their careers ended because of a shot to the head. I'm sure he would rather be remembered for some other reason.
  • Former Ottawa 67 Brett Liscombe was in the house. His St. FX X-men were eliminated from the university playoffs back in February.

More Pictures:
A goal-line too far. The puck didn't make it over the line.

Fans happy with the game.

Fans sending a message to their team.