March 20, 2010

Tyler Toffoli's Late GWG Edges the IceDogs for the 4 - 3 Win

Ottawa started strong, had a bit of a fade in the second but came back to take the first game of the playoff series with a 4 - 3 win over the Niagara IceDogs.

Forward Combos:
Cowick, Martindale, Nigro
Smith, Lindsay, Toffoli (starters)
Prince, Merrett, Nesbitt
Hanes, Graovac, Carnevale

Zanetti, Cuma (starters)
Demers, Gibbons
Hartwick, Ceci

Goal: Perugini

Scratches: Foglia, Janes

Niagara got the first scoring chance right off the jump with a shot that went through the crease. That, and an early penalty against Friesen got the 67's attention and they took over the puck and the ice. Niagara got a few breaks, including a foreshadow of what would come later when Friesen got the puck just as he stepped out of the penalty box and broke in on Perugini. Tyler Cuma was tagged with a tripping call in breaking up the scoring chance.

Anthony Nigro got the first goal of the playoffs with over 7 minutes left in the period when Cody Lindsay intercepted Matt Baldassarra's pass and swept it to a driving Nigro who put it past Visentin. At this point the shots were 10 - 3 for Ottawa.

If the Dogs were dominated in the first, they got their mojo going in the second, scoring 3 goals on their first 6 shots and taking a 3 - 2 lead at one point.

The first goal came with just 8 seconds left in Hartwick's penalty for a check to the head. Perugini ran out of lucky bounces when Josh Moes' shot from the point got by him to tie up the game.

Dalton Smith got it back a minute and a half later when he took a drop pass from Cody Lindsay and snapped it past Visentin from the face-off circle. Tyler Toffoli got the second assist and the 67's were back up by 1.

A minute after that, a defensive miscue by veteran defensmen Cuma and Demers left Agozzino alone in the slot to tip Friesen's shot from the corner past Perugini to tie the game back up.

Then it was Andrew Agozzino who took a pass from Freddie Hamilton just as he jumped out of the penalty box, skated in all alone and snapped it 5-hole to give the IceDogs the lead again on just 6 shots on goal with 6 minutes left in the game. At this point the shots were 24 - 11 in Ottawa's favour.

The 67's visibly sagged at this point but they shook it off with Tyler Toffoli tying it up with just 44 seconds left in the period. It was an odd one that he couldn't even describe in the post-game interview with Jon Abbott. He threw the puck on the net from a sharp angle and somehow it got past Visentin. Perhaps Visentin should be credited with the assist - he may have helped it in.

The 67's looked a bit tentative at the start of the third while the IceDogs started stronger. The tempo picked up with Ottawa getting few good chances. With just 5:08 left in the period, the 67's thought they a goal but it was called off as the whistle had already gone (a bit quickly I might add).

As the time ticked down, you could sense a goal coming up but it could have gone either way. But it went Ottawa's way with 3:21 left in the game when Tyler Toffoli got his second in the game, carrying the puck pretty much the length of the ice, getting his own rebound and getting it in the net, from behind the net as the puck bounced in off Visentin's back. Travis Gibbons and Julien Demers were also involved in this important goal.

The 67's kept strong, including the final 53 seconds while the IceDogs had the extra attacker. Niagara's Matt Petgrave made a spectacular save to prevent the EN but it wasn't enough.

The Ottawa 67's held on to take the important first home game 4 - 3.

Game two takes place on Sunday at 2:00 back at the Urbandale Centre.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200

Hardest Working 67 as selected by the Team1200: Thomas Nesbitt

Here's your game sheet if you like that sort of thing.

Random Thoughts:
  • It was actually a bit of a weird game. It felt strange to me and the spousal unit mentioned the same thing on the way home. Can't put my finger on it but it was just weird. Couldn't really get into it. I think the refs had the same issue.
  • The IceDogs were up for the game. Literally. The bench stood for the whole game.
  • The Dogs really wanted to make the game physical. The 67's were willing participants. Some big hits during the game.
  • Andrew Shaw is a piece of work. And he must have a thing for goalies. During the warm-up he felt compelled to chirp Petr Mrazek who was minding his own business doing his stretches well inside his blueline. Andrews didn't appear to think much of the linesman's comments.

    and sure as shootin' he took liberties with Perugini:

  • Nicholas Foglia has been called up from the Trenton Golden Hawks for the playoffs.
  • Did you know that there are guidelines on what constitutes a shot on goal? I didn't. I thought that any shot on goal that the goalie had to stop to prevent a goal counted as a shot on goal Not so. It has to be a shot that is actually an effort to score a goal. So those rink-long shots on goal in a PK do not normally count. I wondered about that.
  • Noticed that the chin straps were done up for the warm-up and they were snugger during the game. Wonder if the league made some comments about players wearing their equipment properly to maximize their safety. With all the recent focus on head shots and concussions, it only makes sense.

More Pictures:
The game winning goal!

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