Cowick, Nigro, Toffoli
Smith, Lindsay, Merrett
Prince, Martindale, Carnevale
Janes, Graovac, Foglia
Scratches: Hartwick, Nesbitt (injury), Anderson
It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. It would seem that Coach Chris Byrne is on top of this and decided to tweak his top two lines for this game and put Petr Mrazek in net.
The start of the first period didn't indicate that he was going to get the different result he was looking for. Missy was all over Ottawa from the puck drop and Riley Brace scored with a shot that rung in off the post just 1:12 into the game and on the second shot on goal.
The 67's didn't look like they would match St. Mike's intensity. Ottawa's clearing passes ended up on Mississauga sticks and their outlet passes weren't working so well. Mississauga were strong defensively and didn't allow Ottawa to set up much in their offensive zone. Mississauga looked much more organized than Ottawa.
Then Ottawa started skating harder and getting physical and it's these two traits that resulted in the tying goal. Dalton Smith tapped in a pass from behind the net from Cody Lindsay, finishing his hard work from chasing down the puck against Parlett. Andrew Merrett dug out the puck and got it to Cody. The 67's had awakened!
The 67's continued their pressure, causing Jordon Mayer to take a hooking penalty. Just 13 seconds in the PP, Anthony Nigro's tenacity in front of the net put Ottawa into the lead when he picked up his own rebound and tucked it past Carrozzi. Tyler Toffoli and Corey Cowick with the assists.
It took until mid-way through the game for the next goal and it came off the stick of Casey Cizikas to tie the game. And that would be the last goal Mississauga would score.
Ottawa responded with 5 unanswered goals - 4 in an 8 minute span in the second period. It started with a PPG by Tyler Toffoli less than two minutes after the Majors tied the game. Anthony Nigro assisted. Then it was Tyler Toffoli returning the favour by feeding Anthony Nigro a sweet pass in the slot that Anthony wristed top shelf for his second of the game to put the 67's up by two. Julien Demers had the second assist.
After killing Missy's 3rd PP, including a point-blank save by Mrazek, Ottawa went back on the PP and Corey Cowick gave Ottawa a 3-goal lead with a wrap-around. Anthony Nigro and Tyler Toffoli were in on that one too. That line was clicking!
The in-house announcement had just finished when Shane Prince beat Carrozzi up high. Ryan Martindale and Jon Carnevale contributed to Shane's first playoff goal of the season.
So after 40 minutes, the 67's were leading 6 - 2 and seriously outplaying the Majors.
J.P. Anderson replaced Carrozzi in the third, as expected. And while he allowed only one goal, a PPG by Ryan Martindale halfway through the period (assisted by Cody Lindsay and Dalton Smith), the Majors were not able to mount anything remotely resembling a come-back. They were beaten and undisciplined, playing chippy and taking 5 penalties.
The game ended 7 - 2 for Ottawa with shots 39 - 28 for Ottawa. The series moves to Mississauga with games 3 and 4 going on Sunday and Tuesday. Game 5 will be back at the Urbandale Centre at 7:30 next Thursday.
Here's the game sheet.
- Boy, when bounces go your way, they really go your way and little things can really change the emotions of your team. A big save by your goalie, a big hit and the bench can go from tight and tense to relaxed and connected.
- In the early going, it looked like the Majors were sticking to a system and Ottawa wasn't. Ottawa finally got organized.
- And just days after Gordie Howe's birthday, Dalton Smith had a Gordie Howe hat trick with his goal, fight and assist.
- Ottawa specialty teams were indeed special - 4 PPGs and none against in 5 PKs. They really limited the chances that Mississauga had with the man advantage.
- Byrne gave his 4th line some serious ice time in the third including first PP unit duties.
- Playoff beards - another hockey tradition - are amusing at this level. Between 16 year-olds and 20 year-olds there is a wide range of facial hair looks.
- Mississauga fell apart when they lost the lead. This may be their Achilles tendon.