March 13, 2011

Another Tough Overtime Loss: 3 - 2 Mississauga

Our intrepid injury-ridden Ottawa 67's put in another solid performance against a tough conference rival and Tyler Toffoli notched his 100 and 101st points of the season but it wasn't enough to carry the Ottawa 67's to victory. They made it to overtime but this time it was all over in less than a minute when Justin Shugg rung it in off the post.

Click here for the game sheet.

The list of scratches was almost as long as the list of players actually playing: Carnevale (post-concussion - indefinite), Nesbitt (lower body - week-to-week), Luciani (concussion - indefinite), Giftopolous (with his Tier 1 today team by agreement), Janes (shoulder), Prince (mild concussion), Fontana (concussion), Lindsay (jaw). For those who without the libretto, that list includes three of the 67's top-six forwards and two of the three overagers.

Three of the 9 forwards were rookies including Fielding who is also plays defense. Fortunately the 67's welcomed Marc-Anthony Zanetti back into the line up.

So, on paper anyway, the Ottawa 67's looked to be in tough against the league leading Mississauga St. Mike's Majors. Dave Cameron didn't take any chances; he started J.P. Anderson and he rolled 4 lines all game.

The Ottawa 67's clearly didn't think they were in tough. For two periods they matched the Majors in intensity and scoring chances and at the end of two, they held a two-goal lead with goals in the second period from Sean Monahan and Cody Ceci.

Sean's goal came near the halfway mark of the game when Tyler Toffoli, from right beside the net, got the puck to Sean at the front of the crease. Sean flipped it over Anderson for the PPG. And with his assist, Tyler finally notched his 100th point of the season making him the first player to do so since Corey Locke. And this milestone was achieved in front of the nearly 7,000 fans gathered this Sunday afternoon unlike his 50th goal which happened in front of an unappreciative Plymouth audience.

And then about 5 and a half minutes later, Cody Ceci scored his 9th goal of the season when he took the puck around the back of the net and banked it in off Majors' Dylan DeMelo. Tyler Toffoli and Sean Monahan with the assists.

In the final 5 minutes of the game the 67's successfully defended a 5-on-3 PK, limiting the Majors to one shot on goal and finished the period up by two goals and staying close on shots at 19 - 17 for Missy.

But the pace of the game caught up with the 67's in the third period. Able to roll 4 lines, Missy was able to keep fresher legs out there and keep the 67's players out there longer than they would have preferred. When playing with such a short bench, short shifts is key.

Missy's first goal came just under 30 seconds into the third period when Justin Shugg's sharp angle shot squeezed between Campbell and the post for his 39th goal of the season.

It was an important goal in that it gave the Majors some serious momentum early in the third. But the 67's kept working and had some good possession series with strong cycles but they were unable to get shots to the net, much less score.

It was just after one such strong cycling series that Mississauga gained possession and came back up ice to tie up the game when Ryley Brace found the loose puck and tucked in into the net at about the halfway mark of the third period. At this point Mississauga had 8 shots in the period to Ottawa's one.

The 67's held off the push by the Majors to finish regulation tied at two and earn an important point.

Overtime ended when Justin Shugg picked off Jake Cardwell's turnover at the blue line and rung it in off the post just 36 seconds into the OT frame.

And so, the depleted Ottawa 67's played hard against the two highest performing teams in the conference point-wise and came away with two points, having lost both games in OT. Not the results they were hoping for but not for lack of effort. They remain 3 points ahead of the Oshawa Generals who have a game in hand. Ottawa now rests up and prepares to play the Generals next Friday for first place in the Eastern Division.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200

Hardest Working 67's - Brett Gustavsen
Hardest Working 67's as selected by the Team1200: Brett Gustavsen

Random Thoughts:
  • Brett Gustavsen has done nothing but work his butt off since joining the team. He is a fast, resilient player who bounces back from all the attention he attracts from the opposition.
  • Ben Dubois has really stepped his game up recently. Fast, hardworking, he makes the opposing team pay attention.
  • Shayne Campbell was called for an odd interference call in the second period when he ran into a Majors player as he (Campbell) attempted to return to the crease from behind the net. He was headed directly to his spot when the Majors player wanted to use the same path to get behind the net. For some reason, Campbell was at fault. hmmmm.
  • The games against Kitchener, Niagara and Mississauga have all had a playoff feel and the 67's have played solid hockey. This is a great way to go into the final weekend of the regular season with second spot in the conference in play.
  • Had a chance to chat with Cody Lindsay and Julien Luciani before the game. Lindsay has a non-displaced fracture in his jaw. It's pretty sore and he's hungry (can't eat too much when you can't open your mouth). Luciani is skating and feeling well but still hasn't been cleared to play. The OHL has a rigorous process for clearing players.
  • A video featuring Dalton Smith (thanks to Scott MacArthur of Team1200 for tweeting it out).
  • A review of Billingsley's hit on Prince.
More Pictures:
Tyler Toffoli collecting the puck from his 100th point of the season. Congrats Tyler!
Roger's Lee Versage interviewing Kevin Lowe, President, Hockey Operations/Alternate Governor for the Edmonton Oilers
Kevin Lowe (Edmonton Oilers) being interviewed by Lee Versage.
Click here to see more pictures from the game.

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