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Give the Knights full marks for keeping the 67's at bay for the better part of this game. The Knights were down to icing only three lines in this 3rd-in-three road game. Illness swept through the team starting on Friday and by today they had listed 8 players as scratches. Throw in some bus issues along the way just to mix it up and you have all the reasons you need to play as defensively as possible for as long as possible.
So, the London strategy was to trap right from the get-go. Ottawa had a tough time breaking through it, Stretch passes were interrupted or went for icing, the neutral zone was impenetrable and London did a good job of keeping play in their offensive zone for decent stretches.
The shots that did get through, big Bobkov managed stop just by being big although he was also positionally pretty good in many cases. He did his part to keep this game close for a long time.
The first goal of the game didn't come until just under 8 minutes left in the second. Julian Luciani scored his 3rd goal of the season when his shot from the point made it past Bobkov on a deflection off his own player, Tinordi.
At this point the SOGs were 18 - 8 for Ottawa and London had just two in the period so far. But they started getting their chances and Mrazek had to make a few good saves to preserve the tenuous lead.
By the third period, the wear and tear on London was taking its toll and the 67's were able to keep them skating and from setting up the trap. And the scoring chances and goals followed.
Before the halfway mark of the third, Jon Carnevale was credited with a goal that Tinordi actually put in his own net. But that was because this hard working line was creating havoc in front of the net. Dalton Smith and Tyler Graovac were credited with the assists. It was good to see this line finally show up on the scoreboard given all their hard work.
Then it was Marc Zanetti's shot from the point that beat a screened Bobkov to put the 67's up by three with just under 6 minutes left in the game.
With Sedlak in the penalty box for slashing and just over 5 minutes to go, down 3 - 0, Dale Hunter pulled Bobkov for the extra attacker. Two Ottawa skaters each managed to get control of the puck at about their goal line and send down the ice towards the empty net and twice the puck went just wide - in just about the same spot. Taking matters into his own hands (or stick I guess) Petr Mrazek managed to get ahold of the puck and he too tried to score the EN, but his went way wider. The PP ended with London getting only one shot on goal.
The RST line rounded out the scoring with Ryan Martindale's shot from the slot to put the 67's up 4 - 0 with about a minute and a half left. Shane Prince and Tyler Toffoli with the assists.
So all that was left was for the 67's to preserve the shut-out for Mrazek which they did easily.
With their two wins this weekend the 67's officially clinched the playoffs and maintain their 4-point divisional lead on the Oshawa Generals who also won their games this weekend. And they are even in games-played against their closest rivals.
Ottawa ranks second in the league in GF at 214 in 50 games (Owen Sound Attack has 222 in 52 games) and third in the league in GA with 150 (behind Niagara with 142 in 50 games and Mississauga with just 121 in 49 games). And Ottawa remains the least penalized team in the league.
Next Friday, Ottawa hosts the Erie Otters before starting a tough road schedule.
- Wish the OHL published game stats like face-offs, hits, etc. It would be interesting to know Monahan's face-off stats.
- I happened to catch the tail-end of last Monday's practice where they held a drill/competition for nailing empty-netters from the front of one of the goals. Two players (who shall remain nameless) kept missing over and over again. A meaningless drill at the end of a practice? Gauging from today's results, not at all. Keep practicing boys.
- Was chatting with a NJD scout during the second intermission and even he thought it was a pretty boring game. NJD!
- We should be receiving this year's "Through Our Lenses" this week. Be sure to get your copy of this limited edition either at the Booster Club table at home games or by contacting me at through the email address email@example.com. This high-quality keepsake is $35 (plus shipping where necessary).