Click here for the game sheet.
Any game that serves up 15 goals split almost evenly between two teams cannot remotely be considered a good defensive display by either team. But despite the score, the Sudbury Wolves were the better team and won game 1 on the road for their efforts.
The recently returned Alain Valiquette stole the game for his team in the first period making 22 saves on 24 shots while the Wolves played short-handed for pretty much all of it in a penalty filled frame.
The traditionally truculent Sudbury Wolves were true to form right from the jump with Markus Foligno slashing Dalton Smith in the first 11 seconds. That was followed by checking from behind calls on McFadden and Corrado, slashing by Sgarbossa with an unsportsmanlike added, O'Dell got 5 and a game for boarding Toffoli and Sudbury was caught with too many men on the ice. And that was the first period.
Ottawa took a couple too but for all that time with the man advantage, Ottawa managed two power play goals. Ryan Martindale got the first goal on the first powerplay and Tyler Toffoli got the second one just before the period ended.
All game Ottawa got 4 PPGs in 13 advantages, including a number of 5-on-3s that they couldn't convert. Martindale also had a short-handed goal and his hat trick goal in the third tied the game to send it into overtime. Tyler Toffoli added another PPG for two goals in the game and the returning Nesbitt had 2 to round out Ottawa's scoring.
Three unanswered Sudbury goals in the first 3 and a half minutes of the third period gave Sudbury first the tie, then a 1-goal lead and then a 2-goal lead which resulted in Petr Mrazek getting the hook for 7 goals on 28 shots.
Goals from Nesbitt and Martindale tied it back up but despite starting the OT period with a 2-man advantage, it was Andrey Kuchin getting his hat trick 3 minutes in when he beat Campbell to take the win.
After their gutsy games against Kitchener, Mississauga, Niagara and Oshawa in the final two weekends of the regular season it's hard to explain what we saw today. Nerves? Running out of gas? Over confidence after last Sunday's game? Discombobulation with the players who returned from injury (Nesbitt, Lindsay and Janes)? I'm sure if you ask them, they don't even know.
Meanwhile, the victorious Sudbury Wolves will have a happy bus ride home having neutralized home ice advantage and looking at games 2 and 3 in their barn.
- A rough outing for Petr Mrazek. Got run over a few times and had at least a couple of goals he would like to have back. His D also hung him out on at least one of the goals.
- Between the two teams, three players had hat tricks (Sgarbossa, Leivo and Martindale. Of the 21 points earned by Sudbury, 17 came off the sticks of Sgarbossa, Leivo and Kuchin.
- The lead see-sawed back and forth between the two teams a few times. Sudbury was the only team to get a 2-goal lead and that was erased by Nesbitt and Martindale.
- Gibbons was seriously missed.
- Valiquette had a great game including a game-saving stone of Toffoli on a break away. Think Toff needs to speak with Kilrea again about scoring on the break away.
- They didn't announce the crowd and it's not on the game sheet but it was a sizable one including a good representation of Sudbury fans. I would guess it had to be close to 10,000. Stands in serious contrast with the announced 1363 in Mississauga.
- Taking pictures at SBP is not nearly as good as it is at the Rona Centre. Couldn't get decent pictures of the three stars from where I could get on the ice.