November 27, 2010

Mrazek Wins Battle of the Goalies in Ottawa's 3 - 2 OT Win Over Niagara

These two evenly matched teams squared off at the Rona Centre last night just one week after their meeting in St. Catherine's in which Andrew Agozzino was a one-man wrecking crew scoring 4 goals in their 6 - 3 victory over Ottawa.

This time it was the Ottawa 67's skating away with a 3 - 2 OT victory to retain second spot in the Eastern Division.

Head-to-head stats going into the game:

Ottawa 67'sHead to HeadNiagara IceDogs
16-9-0-0 32 pointsRecord14-7-1-1 30 points
2nd EasternConference - Rank5th Eastern
101 GF79 
79 GA70 
(18/107) 16.8PP%(20/107) 18.7
(17/118) 85.6PK%(20/111) 82.0

Top Guns
Ottawa 67'sNiagara IceDogs
Martindale (17-23-40)Strome (10-25-35)
Prince (9-30-39)Friesen (9-16-25)
Toffoli (22-16-38)Agozzino (15-9-24)
Nesbitt (11-11-22)Hamilton (10-13-23)
Lindsay (11-8-19)Shipley (7-11-18)

Click here for the game sheet.

For all their puck possession and great cycling, it took some outstanding saves from Petr Mrazek to give Ottawa the victory. At the end of a fast-paced first period, where both teams had their chances, Ottawa led 2 - 0 on the strength of goals from Tyler Graovac and Thomas Nesbitt. Jake Cardwell, Tyler Toffoli, Marc Zanetti and Cody Ceci provided the assists.

Ottawa started quickly with a couple of good scoring chances that they just couldn't bury, which was going to be a bit of a theme all game for both teams. The first goal of the game came on the PP on Cardwell's shot from the blue line. From my angle I couldn't tell how it went in but with Graovac getting credit and Toffoli with the first assist, it might have bounced around before Graovac got it past Vistentin.

Despite some outstanding fore checking and cycling to maintain possession in their offensive zone, the 67's didn't get the puck to the net as much as one might have liked but at least it kept the IceDogs pinned in their own end.

Near the end of the first, it was the hardworking captain, Thomas Nesbitt who gave Ottawa a 2-goal lead on a nifty move and quick shot that beat Visentin shot side.

They carried the play in the second period as well, getting good scoring chances, including a couple of break-aways. But the tide turned on a questionable call that gave Andrew Agozinno a penalty shot. Mrazek had the puck but it leaked out and slid over the goal line to make it a one-goal game. It gave Niagara life and with 25 seconds left in the frame, Mitchell Theoret tied it up getting the puck past a lunging Mrazek.

Ottawa started the third on a penalty kill that carried over from the second period which put them on the defense immediately and seemed to have them playing tentatively. The IceDogs took full advantage and started piling up the shots on Mrazek. But they managed to snap out of it and get back to how they played the first two periods and made Visentin work hard to keep his team in the game.

But with Gibbons in the penalty box and 6 minutes left to play, the momentum shifted and it was all Niagara pretty much for the rest of a game where you knew that the next goal would take it all. During their PP, the IceDogs were credited with 8 shots on Mrazek (although I think the guy running the shot clock was a tad trigger happy). From my notes, Ottawa had not registered a single shot on Visentin since the 8-minute mark of the period.

But the 67's withstood the onslaught and we were off to overtime.

4-on-4 overtime hockey on big ice can be entertaining and the boys did not disappoint. At precisely the halfway point of the extra frame, Shane Prince picked up a rebound from a shot that rang off the post and popped it past an outstretched Visentin for the win.

The announced full house of fans were treated to an exciting game between two fast and evenly matched teams. Add the win for the home team and you have a perfect start to the weekend. Next up - the team travels to Kingston Sunday for a key divisional match up.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200 (second star Visentin did not take a turn)

Hardest working 67's
Hardest Working 67's as selected by the Team1200: Sean Monahan

Random Thoughts:
  • Good to see secondary scoring - goals from the second and third lines in this game.
  • Monahan's hard work and solid play were rewarded with extra time and responsibility. He played on the second line with Lindsay and Nesbitt.
  • The D accounted for 4 points of the 8 points credited to Ottawa. Strong contribution from the blue line.
  • It easy to forget how much these kids develop physically and skill-wise from year to year. Gibbons and Zanetti are so strong and skilled out there, blocking shots, pivoting away from their attacker, and taking and giving hits.
  • Alot of Movember efforts out there - some good, some...well...let's just say good effort. All for the cause!
More Pictures: Click here to see more pictures from the game.

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