Cowick, Martindale, Nigro
Smith, Lindsay, Toffoli (starters)
Prince, Merrett, Nesbitt
Hanes, Graovac, Carnevale
Demers, Gibbons (starters)
Scratches: Hanes, Foglia
For the first couple of minutes, neither team got much going but a smart play by Cody Ceci along the boards got Ottawa on the scoreboard first by keeping possession of the puck and getting it to Thomas Nesbitt in front of the net where he beat Visentin for his first OHL playoff goal - ever.
The teams traded a couple more chances including a breakaway by Corey Cowick but the period was otherwise unremarkable..well except for a couple of good saves by the goalies and the post! And Corey Cowick sending a message to Niagara with a big (too big) hit on MacEachern and drilling Schwindt a couple of times in the ensuing fight.
Once again, both teams put on a couple of cycling clinics although for the most part, they didn't result in too many scoring chances. But Niagara was getting stronger in the second period but it took a series of penalties before they able to solve Perugini. Before that happened, Thomas Nesbitt scored his second goal of the game at about the halfway mark with a shot from the faceoff circle that beat Visentin over the shoulder. Shane Prince got the assist for the setting Thomas up.
With Tyler Toffoli in the penalty box for the last penalty of the game, Dylan MacEachern's shot from the point found its way to the back of the net. And we had a 1-goal game.
The Niagara IceDogs owned the third period as far as offensive possession and getting shots on goal - 16 of them. But Chris frustrated them with some great saves to protect the lead. With 1:25 left in the period, Niagara called a timeout and left Visentin on the bench for the extra attacker. Anthony Nigro worked hard below the goal line to spring the puck up the boards. Thomas Nesbitt worked it free from Freddie Hamilton, skated to the blue line and sealed the win for Ottawa with the EN with 53 seconds left. Niagara pulled Visentin after the faceoff but to no avail.
With a goal in each period, Thomas Nesbitt's hat trick was all the scoring Ottawa needed to take the second game of the series on home ice. They head to St. Catharine's on Monday for games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Thursday.
Here's the game sheet.
- It's hard to believe that in the 16 previous playoff games that Thomas Nesbitt has played in Ottawa that his goal just 2:31 into today's game was his first playoff point.
- Anthony Nigro was hurt on the play that lead to Thomas' EN. He was on the ice for a while, made it back to the bench on his own steam but left the game with the trainer at the next whistle. No visible signs of what ailed him from my angle.
- The refereeing was a tad uneven today. I find it hard to believe that in playoff hockey only one team gets penalized in the second period and there are NO penalties in the third period. There were no penalties called after Niagara's PPG. Hmmmm.
- Tyler Cuma had a much better game today - very strong defensive plays and great shot-blocking.
- A lot of scouts at today's game. A very good day for Nesbitt (and others) to show them what he's made of.
- It wasn't as physical a game as it was on Friday. Guess both teams were focusing on putting goals in the net and keeping them out of their net.