December 05, 2011

67's Weekend Wrapup - December 5th

This week, the Ottawa 67’s found themselves not only left out of the CHL top-10 rankings, but also without a spot in the ranking’s “honourable mention”. Ottawa (17-7-3-1) did win two of three games this weekend, but couldn’t pull ahead of the Belleville Bulls to regain first in the East Division and Eastern Conference. Both teams are tied with 38 points, but Belleville leads the tiebreaker with 19 wins and also has a game in hand.

December 2nd vs. Windsor: 4-3 Ottawa (OT)
Decemer 3rd @ Peterborough: 7-6 Ottawa (SO)
December 4th @ Mississauga: 5-2 Mississauga

The biggest story of the weekend for the Barberpoles was left winger Dalton Smith.  Smith proved this weekend that not only does he deserve to be considered in the upper echelon of Ontario Hockey League heavyweight fighters, but also that he seems to kick his game into a new gear after a good scrap.

On Friday night, the Ottawa enforcer took on Windsor Spitfires rookie and OHL penalty minute leader Ty Bilcke on National Television.  The spirited fight caused Bilcke to go the dressing room, blood dripping from his nose, while Smith looked no worse for wear.  Bilckie did return to the game, but Smith clearly had a bigger impact, scoring a controversial goal in overtime to give Ottawa a 4-3 win.

The next night in Peterborough, Smith fought Derek Mathers, second in the league in penalty minutes only behind Bilcke.  Again, there was no decisive winner, but Smith held his own and landed some solid punches.  In the third period, Smith scored a nice shorthanded goal to give the 67’s a 5-4 lead.  He also went on to score the shootout winner.

Up to this weekend, it has to have been a frustrating season for Smith, a second-round pick of the Columus Blue Jackets.  He was suspended ten games for running Belleville goaltender Malcolm Subban, and upon his return, the natural winger was moved into the center position for a few games. Furthermore, very few opponents wanted to drop the gloves with Smith.  After how he fared this weekend, it’s easy to see why there aren’t too many willing combatants.

Rookie Ryan Van Stralen also pitched in with a goal on Friday night after dropping the gloves with Windsor’s Nick Czinder.

Ottawa’s top line continued to impress.  Sean Monahan had a hat-trick and a shootout marker on Saturday night, and added another three assists on the weekend.  Shane Prince had three goals and two assists, his first goal sending down a barrage of teddy bears for the annual Teddy Bear Toss. Shockingly, Tyler Toffoli didn’t register a goal this week, but he still leads the league in goals by a considerable amount with 26.  What’s more impressive is that all of Ottawa’s lines are scoring as well. Nicholas Foglia, Cody Ceci and Ben Dubois were also goal scorers for the 67’s.

The most worrisome part of the weekend was the fact that teams seemed to be able to score on Ottawa in bunches.  Windsor lead 3-1 after one period on Friday night with Alexander Khokhlachev scoring just 15 seconds into the game.  Peterborough was able to erase a 3-1 deficit in the first period and also scored twice in the final two minutes to send the game to overtime.  Today, Mississauga took a 3-0 lead in the first 15 minutes.

But by the same token, Ottawa’s resiliency was something to take note of.  They were able to come back and win on Friday, were able to win after losing a late two-goal lead on Saturday, and even though they lost in Mississauga, played to the final buzzer and outshot the home side 37-21 on the afternoon.  The Majors lead 5-1 after two periods, but Ottawa had a strong effort in the third, registering 15 shots to Mississauga’s four.  Ceci also scored his 6th of the season early in the frame, but it was too late to mount a comeback.

Petr Mrazek stood between the pipes for the entirety of the first two games and came in to relieve Michael Nishi in the second period on Sunday.  Mrazek looked to be shaken up after taking a slapshot to the mask in the third period in Peterborough, but he remained in the game and held on to help Ottawa win in the shootout.

Ottawa will be without their starting goalie this upcoming weekend as he heads to Czech Republic’s World Under-20 camp. Toffoli and Ceci will both head to Team Canada’s camp, while Michal Cajkovsky is heading to Slovakia’s camp and Prince is has been named to Team USA. 

Ottawa heads to northwest Ontario this upcoming weekend, playing in Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury on December 9th and 10th. They return home on the 16th to take on the Brampton Battalion.

No comments: