And I believe a number of 67's acquitted themselves very well in front of the many scouts in attendance. Some stock went up today for sure.
Click here for the game sheet.
Talk about hyper-hype-drive: critical points, league leading scorers, NHL prospects, key players injured. Pick your sub-plot - the game delivered on all of them.
Let's start with the leading scorers. After leading the league in scoring for much of the season, Tyler Toffoli's lead was overtaken by Jason Akeson. Today, Jason was kept off the scoresheet while Tyler had an assist on the GWG. Tyler also played the most physical game I think I've seen him play this year.
It's not unusual to see more scouts when Western Conference teams play in Ottawa in the final quarter of the season. It was in overdrive today with top-5 NHL prospect Gabriel Landeskog coming to town. Driving up the hype curve was the interest of Ottawa Senators scouts, management, fans and media given the current and predicted final standings of same said Senators. The Ottawa 67's checked Landeskog close, taking away his space and time and generally rendering him harmless.
Both teams were missing key players: Ryan Murphy, second in scoring on the Rangers, was injured this weekend and returned to Kitchener; Ottawa was missing starting goalie Petr Mrazek. Shayne Campbell had an outstanding game with numerous game-saving saves, stopping 40 of the 41 shots he faced. He was simply a wall.
And the 67's came away with the important two points to remain 5 points ahead of Oshawa.
Chris Byrne returned to line combinations that we were used to seeing earlier with Prince returning to the top line and Monahan centering Lindsay and Nesbitt.
It was almost 65 minutes of fast, end to end play with both teams getting great chances and both teams unable to bury their chances. Both goalies did their job well although I would say that Shayne had the harder work. But the 67's also blocked a ton of shots and cleared rebounds out of harm's way.
The Ranger's lone goal came with over 7:00 minutes left in the first frame with a backhand from Tobias Rieder that got by Shayne. Shots on goal at that time were 9 - 6 in Kitchener's favour.
It stayed a one-goal game, literally, until over halfway through the 3rd period when Shane Prince stole the puck behind the Kitchener net and put it perfectly on Ryan Martindale's stick in the slot and he snapped it top-shelf blocker side to tie the game.
The three-in-three and the fast pace of this game started catching up with the Rangers and Ottawa started carrying more of the play. But they couldn't get the winning goal in regulation and so it was off to OT.
Ottawa continued to dominate in OT but just as it looked like we were heading to a shoot-out, Tyler Toffoli picked up the puck at the half-wall, passed it back to Jake Cardwell who threaded a pass from the point to Cody Ceci by the crease and he flipped it up and over Maxwell for the dramatic game winning goal.
And then Ceci was mobbed - first by Toffoli and then the rest of the team.
That was a great game!
Never get too low or get too high. They can enjoy this win for a day and then get back to business and prepare for Kingston on Wednesday.
- This game showed everyone that the 67's can play a hard, fast full team game. No sag at any point. That was fun to watch.
- What a weekend for Shayne Campbell, playing only his 10th and 11th games of the season and getting two great wins. And the game's first star.
- Full marks for Kitchener - they played with a ton of energy given this was their third game on the weekend: a shoot out win in Kingston on Friday, a shutout loss in Belleville yesterday and today's game in Ottawa.
- Good crowd at the game although it took a while for them to filter in. I understand there were a lot of walk-ups. The hype at work.
- The spousal unit says "Landes...who?". His ranking is certainly based on more than one game but this better-than-a-point-a-game guy was held pointless by the Eastern Conference.
- Zanetti and Mrazek should be skating again tomorrow. No official word on Luciani or Carnevale. I would not be surprised through if Jon is done for the year.