November 19, 2011

Ottawa Remains On Top Despite Heartbreaking 6-5 OT Loss

By Alex Quevillon
Tonight's matchup between the 67's and Barrie Colts featured two storylines that Ottawa fans have become very accustomed to this season. Ottawa lost to the Colts 6-5 in overtime in front of 5,835 fans on Friday night. This marks the fourth time that Ottawa has had to settle a 6-5 decision in overtime this season. And with the one point for losing in overtime, Ottawa moves back into first place in the Eastern Conference once again.
However, the fact that the 67’s move into the conference’s top position doesn’t change the fact that tonight’s loss was an absolute heartbreaker. With less than one second left in the third period, and the 67’s leading 5-4, Ivan Telegin buried a centering pass from Colin Behenna, sending the game to extra time.

Just 48 seconds into the additional frame, the OHL’s leading scorer, Tanner Pearson, beat Petr Mrazek with a long wrist shot, giving Pearson his third goal and sixth point of the game. He also added a pair of second-period goals.

Despite Pearson’s amazing performance, he still sits second in the OHL’s goal scoring lead, behind only Ottawa’s Tyler Toffoli. Already leading 1-0 in the first period, Toffoli caught the Barrie defence flat-footed, taking a perfect pass from Remy Giftoupolous and placing a high wrist shot past Barrie goaltender Mathias Niederberger.

Barrie forward Mark Scheifele, drafted seventh overall by the Winnipeg Jets this past summer, scored in the second period in between Pearson’s two goals to help the Colts take a 3-2 lead. But Toffoli struck again, stealing the puck from Scheifele on a Barrie powerplay and putting a nifty backhand to the back of the net.

Brett Gustavsen had opened the scoring for Ottawa in the first, taking advantage of a strange bounce off the glass that handcuffed Niederberger. Dalton Smith (powerplay) and Ben Dubois (shorthanded) chipped in with third period markers. Smith gave Ottawa their second lead of the game before the seven-minute mark of the third. Behenna tied the game on a two-man advantage, but Dubois put Ottawa up 5-4 less than 20 seconds after the Behenna goal.

Scoring aside, tonight’s game was a rather chippy affair as well. Ryan Van Stralen found himself in the penalty box for most of the evening, dropping the gloves with Jonathan Laser in the second period and then jumping to the defence of Gustavsen, dropping the gloves with Barrie tough guy Victor Terreri. Terreri also received a two-minute penalty and ten-minute misconduct for a check to the head of Gustavsen just prior to the fight.

Michal Cajkovsky also sat out a large portion of the game. Much like Van Stralen’s second tilt, Cajkovsky came to the defence of Dalton Smith who had received a knee-on-knee hit from Colts winger Brendan Bell (no relation to former 67 Brendan Bell). Cajkovsky was also in the box for holding when Telegin tied the game late.

Mrazek made 32 stops and also registered his first assist of the season on Ottawa's 2nd goal, while Neiderberger only had to make 25 for the win. Barrie heavily outshot Ottawa in the final two periods and overtime by a 29-14 margin.

Ottawa heads to Belleville to take on the Bulls tomorrow night before returning home to face the Niagara Ice Dogs on Sunday.

The Game Sheet can be found here.

Three Stars as Selected by the Team1200

Hardest Working 67's:  Remy Giftopolous

Hardest Working 67's: Remy Giftopolous

Nishi acquired from The Soo
Although he didn't see any in-game action, tonight was the first time Michael Nishi suited up for a game with the 67's after being acquired from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Thursday for a 13th-round draft choice.

This marks the second goaltender trade in as many years between the two teams. Last year, Ottawa dealt Chris Perugini to Sault Ste. Marie for a package of draft picks, the highest of which ended up being current 67 defenceman Mike Vlajkov.

Nishi, who started four games at the start of this season, could be relied upon if Petr Mrazek leaves in December to represent the Czech Republic at the IIHF World Under-20 Championship. Shayne Campbell went in for hip surgery this past week and is expected to be out until January, making the goaltender position a key one to bolster.

Ransom Thoughts from Behind the Lens:
  • Barrie is a fast skating team that moves the puck very quickly, especially on the PP. Scoring on 3 of their 4 2-man advantages (including when they pulled their goalie for the extra attacker) was not surprising.
  • Tyler Toffoli is the first OHL player to hit 20 goals this season as he notched his 20th and 21st goals in the losing cause.
  • The Colts pulled out a win despite the shaky performance of their rookie goalie. Niederberger made two huge mistakes resulting in the Gustavsen and Smith goals and an almost goal from Janes.
  • Toffoli's SHG was a beauty - stealing the puck from Sheifele as he tried a spin-o-rama in his own zone.  Nice patience by Toffoli. 
  • Barrie's Tanner Pearson is a late-blooming 19 year old who is having a career season. Look for him to get an invitation to Team Canada and likely to get drafted in 2012.
  • Late update: according to Don Campbell of the Ottawa Citizen, the 67's were down two additional men starting in the second period as Tyler Graovac and David Perklin were out with the flu. So, to give the 67's credit, they were playing with a very short bench (only 3 lines). Makes for a tough rest of the weekend.

Pictures from the game:
Injured 67's Sean Monahan, Shayne Campbell and Taylor Fielding watch the warmup.
Marc-Anthony Zanetti was called for tripping on this play
Ben Dubois' SHG to give Ottawa the lead late in the third 
Click here to see more pictures.

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