March 31, 2011

And That's a Wrap: Sudbury Sweeps the 67's with 5-3 Win

Despite holding a two-goal lead at one point and going into the third with a 1-goal lead, the Ottawa 67's were unable to contain the Sudbury Wolves who sealed the deal with an EN with 7 seconds left in the game.

Too many things just went wrong.

The 67's started the game fast, hard hitting and taking the game to Sudbury. Shane Prince started the scoring and Dalton Smith had a pair but it wasn't enough.

Coach Chris Byrne wouldn't bite when asked whether injuries played a factor. "We don't use excuses here. They played harder than we did and they deserved to win the series."

As for today's game, "(They) had a couple of short-handed goals and that seemed to swing momentum pretty good and it's always tough when you put the game winner in your own net. A couple of tough plays, a couple of tough breaks but you make your breaks as well."

At times the 67's had a tough time getting out of their own zone were guilty of over-handling the puck.

Losing Sedlak with a separated shoulder early in the game when Marcus Foligno laid a bit hit on him, didn't make things any easier for the coaching staff.

As for the Wolves, Sgarbossa had a great second half to his season, had a great series and was the difference.

So the many Wolves fans went home happy having swept the series. They are fast and dangerous, Valiquette was strong in net and they had some serious puck luck to boot.

The 67's were devastated as you might expect. We bid farewell to Thomas Nesbitt, Cody Lindsay and Travis Gibbons as their Major Junior careers end.

Click here for the game sheet.

I don't have time to go through the pictures tonight - will post some tomorrow with more thoughts about the season.

Pictures from the game:

Shane Prince's goal.

Dalton Smith scores right from the face-off after Monahan was kicked out of the face-off circle.

Great glove save!

I tried to get at least one picture of each player but it was not possible. In part due to the annoying habit of the referee to get in the way. He had an uncanny instinct for getting right in the shot. More shots of this backside than he probably knew was possible. Click here to see more pictures.

March 26, 2011

Game 1 Goes to Sudbury: 8 - 7 in OT

It certainly was not their best work as Ottawa 67's lost to the Sudbury Wolves 8 - 7 early in overtime.

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.

Hardest Working 67's

Hardest Working 67's as selected by the Team1200: Thomas Nesbitt

Random Thoughts:
  • 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.
More Pictures:

Click here to see more pictures from the game.

March 20, 2011

Regular Season Finished with 7 - 3 Win Over Sudbury

The final game of the season was a preview of the first round of the playoffs and although the 67's sent a strong message in their 7-3 win over Sudbury, it came at a mighty price as Travis Gibbons' season came to a painful halt late in the first period. A puck was deflected into his mouth and he injured his leg as he buckled from the hit.

This horrific injury overshadowed Tyler Toffoli's 5-point, 4G and 1A, to end up tied with Jason Akeson of Kitchener for the OHL scoring race.

Click here for the game sheet.

I don't know how long this has been happening but once again the final home game of the season was against the Sudbury Wolves. The playoff brackets are already set and these two teams are schedule to meet in the first round.

The 67's were still playing with a short bench. Tyler Graovac's season came to an end on Friday when he broke his forearm early in the game. Fortunately Remi Giftopolous was available for today's game so the team started with 3 whole lines (!).

The Wolves rested their starting goalie and played their backup goalie, Brendan O'Neill, who had only 4 previous starts this season.

Taylor Fielding started the scoring just 2 1/2 minutes into the game with his first goal of his OHL career. Nick Foglia quickly picked up the puck for Taylor.

Ottawa got into some penalty trouble late in the first, having to defend a 5-on-3 for 1:04. This is where Gibbons was injured. Ottawa held Sudbury off the scoreboard during the 2-man advantage but with 55 seconds left in the second penalty, Josh McFadden tipped it in for the PPG to tie up the game.

Sean Monahan restored the Ottawa lead early in the second with a pretty goal driving the net and backhanding it over the outstretched pad. Dalton Smith and Marc Anthony Zanetti with the assists.

Ottawa kept up the pressure and Brett Gustavsen put Ottawa up by two three minutes later when he picked up his own rebound, had his back to the net and shot it between his legs that beat O'Neill. That one should make the OHL high-light reel. Sean Monahan and Tyler Toffoli assisted.

Sudbury got within 1 with a PPG from Scarbossa who tucked it under Mrazek.

But that's as close as they would get as Tyler Toffoli took over the scoring for Ottawa with two goals in the second and two in the third for a 5-point night to briefly regain the scoring lead in the OHL and finish with 57 goals on the season. One of those goals came from behind the net as he tried to centre the puck to Martindale but it went in off the goalie.

And the game ended 7 - 3 with shots 31 - 29 for Ottawa. Both teams have had a decent look at each other. It would be a mistake for anyone to think that today's game is an indication of how the next four or more games will go.

See you at Scotia Bank Place next Saturday at 2:00 for game 1 of round 1 of the playoffs.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200

Hardest working 67's
Hardest Working 67's as selected by the Team1200: Jake Cardwell

Random Thoughts:
  • Shayne Campbell went into the net for the third period. I presume to give him some ice time against Sudbury and to give Mrazek a bit of a rest.
  • There were a number of Sudbury fans on hand for the game. No sign of Nick Foligno - he may have kept a low profile.
  • Sean Monahan moved back to centre the second line and had a great game - worked hard all game.
  • Surgery on Wednesday for Graovac for pins and plates. 4 - 6 weeks which could equate to the rest of the season.
  • Gustavsen certainly has taken advantage of his call up - playing on the top line today, scoring a goal, and assist and just getting everywhere quickly.
  • Jake Cardwell played against his former team - was today's Hardest Working 67's. Good start to the playoffs for him.
More Pictures:
Click here to see more pictures from the game.

March 19, 2011

67's are East Division Champs with Their 4-3 Win

First place in the East Division and second seed in the Eastern Conference were on the line in Friday's game. The Ottawa 67's started with a short bench and finished with an even shorter one but they gutted out this important win.

Click here for the game sheet.

The lines for the 67's started something like this: Monahan, Martindale, Toffoli; Smith, Graovac, Dubois; Gustavsen, Foglia, Fielding with D-pairs: Ceci, Gibbons; Zanetti, Cardwell; and Shipley, Sedlak.

Chris Byrne was forced to reconfigure this small crew when Tyler Graovac left the game early with a fractured forearm. By the time the game ended, I couldn't tell if anyone was playing regularly with anyone else - just bodies out there working hard to keep the Generals from getting the tying goal.

It was a fast-paced back and forth game with both teams either getting amazingly lucky with goals not scored or having agonizingly bad luck for goals not scored - depending on your point of view.

Ottawa had to play to win...not to not lose and and play to win they did. Dalton Smith started the scoring on Ottawa's first PP when he popped the puck past Di Salvo just 4 minutes into the game. Jake Cardwell and Brett Gustavsen with the assists.

But in what would be a pattern pretty much all game, the Oshawa Generals got it back just three minutes later when Boone Jenner got one past Mrazek from in close.

The Oshawa Generals are the most penalized team in the OHL but tonight Ottawa got into the most difficulty half way through the first when Tyler Toffoli went off for slashing and then Ryan Martindale was sent off for putting the puck over the glass. The Generals had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:24.

The 67's did a great job defending the 2-man disadvantage and with Toffoli back on the ice, Dalton Smith poked the puck past the General's defensman Tony De Hart and skated (faster than I think I've seen him skate all year) into the Oshawa zone. De Hart and Smith both went down but as he was falling Dalton Smith got the puck to Tyler Toffoli who buried it past Di Salvo for the short handed goal to put Ottawa back up by one. Zanetti had the second assist on that pretty goal.

But once again, the Generals tied it up in a goal-mouth scramble that had J.P. Labardo getting credit for the goal.

The teams traded goals again in the second with Ben Dubois scoring his 5th goal of the season when he tipped Jake Cardwell's shot from the blue line for Ottawa's second PPG of the game. Dalton Smith had the second helper there.

Ottawa native Calvin de Haan tipped in Tony De Hart's shot on one of Oshawa's 6 power plays to tie the game once again. But what must have been the best/worst puck luck of the game (again, depending on your point of view) was a series of chances the Generals had in the last 6 minutes or so to bury the puck into an open net with Mrazek clearly out of the way but simply could not. The TV time-out could not come fast enough for the 67's to rest their legs and get their hearts back into their chests.

The 67's looked a bit tired to start the third but they had to bear down right away with Zanetti being sent to the box for tripping just 42 seconds in. The 67's killed that one, no shots at all by Oshawa.

Then, when he returned to the ice Marc-Anthony Zanetti one-timed a pass from Tyler Toffoli that beat Di Salvo short-side. I didn't see a replay but from my pictures, it looks like it may have gone in off Di Salvo's glove. In any event, it gave Ottawa the lead again, and produced one of the most enthusiastic goal celebrations I've seen in a while. Jake Cardwell got the third assist for his third point of the night.

As Dalton Smith said after the game, the strategy in the third was to keep the shifts short, slow the game down, be patient with the puck and chip it out. And they executed it perfectly. There wasn't anything left in the tank of the 67's players as they kept the Generals at bay.

Another outstanding team performance for a gutsy win. The 67's face the Sudbury Wolves on Sunday for what could be a preview of the playoffs. The Wolves have been a surprising team all season and are not to be taken lightly.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200

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

Random Thoughts:
  • Dalton Smith was a beast! Terrific on-ice leadership.
  • This was one of those Roger's games where the mothership broadcasts the game. While usually a bit of a pain because of the commercials, it worked in Ottawa's favour as it gave Chris some regular breaks to rest his very short bench. Probably saved their legs a bit.
  • Again, lots of scouts at the game. Not that there's any good time for an injury but this is really bad timing for Tyler Graovac. This is his draft year and he has been getting better and stronger out there all year. His fracture will have him out 6 - 8 weeks. Tough finish to the year.
  • Other injury updates: Shane Prince is back in town. Says he feels better. Not sure when he will be cleared to skate; Fontana is skating again; Janes may get clearance soon; no word on when Nesbitt will skate; Lindsay should be back for the playoffs. Carnevale and Luciani are indefinite.
  • Playoffs start next Saturday at Scotia Bank Place. The first round opponent has yet to be determined.
More Pictures:
Celebrating the Toffoli's short handed goal.
Click here to see more pictures from the game.

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.

March 12, 2011

Tough Loss But Character Play by the 67's

It was a tough loss in the Rona Center last night as the injury riddled Ottawa 67's battled hard against the Niagara IceDogs, outplaying them for most of the game. Already missing starting goaltender Petr Mrazek, veteran defensemen Marc Anthony Zanetti and Julian Luciani and hard-nosed Jon Carnevale, in-game injuries to Shane Prince, Cody Lindsay and Thomas Nesbitt slowly depleted the on-ice available talent. And kept trainer Neil Hoch pretty busy too.

The team played hard but with just 5.5 seconds left in the OT period (and a penalty kill), Ryan Strome sniped the game winning goal and notched his 101st point of the season.

Click here for the game sheet.

There is certainly no love lost between these two teams and this game was no different.

Both teams came out fast, physical, and in a playoff mood. Both teams limited their opponent's scoring chances with the opening goal coming off only the 5th shot, in total.

During Ottawa's first PP of the game, Tim Billingsley lined Shane Prince up as he came across the blue line and drilled his forearm into Shane's head. Shane did not have possession of the puck and Billingsley was not going for the puck. The rink was stone silent as Shane lay on the ice with both trainers attending to him until he managed to leave the ice with assistance. It was later reported that he required repairs to both the back of his head and to his face. Since he fell backwards from the hit, the facial injuries must have been the result of contact to the head from the hit. No penalty on the hit.

Jake Cardwell stepped up to mete out the justice that the referees seemed disinclined to do. The officials gave him 2, 5 and 10 for his efforts, but everyone else gave him their respect.

While on the ensuing 4-on-4, Alex Friesen put the IceDogs on the score sheet with a short-angle shot that squeezed between Campbell and the post.

The 67's were not rattled by the injury to their team mate or the goal as they came right back hard on the puck in the Niagara zone. Taking advantage of the strong cycling and possession work, Sean Monahan sniped the puck over the glove of Visentin to tie it up.

Shortly thereafter, Cody Lindsay took a puck in the face and left the game for good. It was later reported that a jaw injury was suspected. So with the game tied at two in the first period, Ottawa was down to 9 forwards and missing 2 of its top-6 forwards.

The speed, intensity and physicality picked up as the period continued and both teams had their scoring chances but neither team could finish.

The second period was a bit tamer and was scoreless. Perhaps the coaches told their teams to settle down. It certainly was not because the officials set the tone. Ottawa carried the play, outshooting the Dogs 20 - 8, but they were unable to solve Visentin.

Ottawa continued pressing in the third, getting two goals called back. Jake Cardwell's goal was called off apparently because the ref thought Graovac interfered with Visentin. I guess the ref didn't think that Gronvaldt's involvement mattered.

The second was on a very fast whistle when the ref found himself on the other side of the action and the puck out of his sight while it remained in play.

You had to think that they would eventually get one that the refs could not call back and Captain Thomas Nesbitt delivered by snapping a shot from the slot past Visintin. Sean Monahan and Cody Ceci with the assists.

Ryan Strome got it back with 8 seconds left on the power play as his shot from the face off circle squeaked through Shayne Campbell for his 100th point of the season.

Ottawa had one last power play of the game when Myles Doan kneed Thomas Nesbitt. Ottawa was not able to get anything going and regular play ended in a tie. He didn't return to the game.

So Ottawa went into OT now down 3 of their top-6 forwards. This certainly was a war of attrition.

With 51 seconds left in OT, Cody Ceci was called for tripping.

Marty Williamson must have seen something as he called a time out with 35 seconds left in the game and a face off coming up in the Ottawa zone. Niagara won the face off and Ottawa had a chance but was unable to clear the puck all the way down the ice. Niagara re-entered zone and Strome fired the puck upstairs for the PPG goal with 5.5 seconds left in the game.

It took a full strength IceDogs team all they had right down to the wire to defeat a seriously depleted Ottawa 67's.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200 (second star Visentin did not take a turn)

Hardest Working 67's
Hardest Working 67's as selected by the Team1200: Travis Gibbons

Random Thoughts:
  • Cannot say enough about how the team stepped up in face of all the challenges that were set before them. Strong defensive play from everyone, players stepping up in defense of their team mates, taking the hits, giving the hits. A great team effort that may not have been rewarded with two points but certainly rewarding as a team effort. There was no room for passengers and there certainly weren't any.
  • Matt Cooke, er, I mean, Tim Billingsley, is a menace. In December 2007 he delivered an open ice hit on Logan Couture that resulted in a concussion. And last night he delivered an open ice hit on Shane Prince. I would be surprised if it does not result in a concussion. With all the recent attention in the NHL to head injuries, including discussions about the OHL's intolerance for hits to the head, I wonder if Dave Branch will review this incident for supplementary discipline. With reported injuries to Prince's face, it would be hard to argue that there wasn't significant contact with the head. Prince did not have possession so the hit was not to separate him from the puck; the hit was to separate Prince from the game.
  • Ottawa needs more consistency on their PP. Lately it swings from being totally powerless to occasionally threatening but not nearly successful as it was earlier in the season. They went 0/6 on the PP.
  • Another house full of scouts again with so many draft prospects on the ice. A good game for them to see some great character at play.
  • Earlier this year, Niagara IceDogs coach Marty Williamson earned himself a 5-game suspension for his comments directed at officials. While it may have cost him a few bucks and some bad press, it may also have had an impact on officials.
  • I understand that officials get at least a video review for each game. Should be a feedback-rich session for this game. Among other things, the refs were particularly disinterested in making use of the video review. 'nuf said.
More Pictures:
Sean Monahan's unassisted goal
The second goal that was waived off - the ref in the upper left corner has the whistle to his mouth. Puck is still in play but he had whistled it dead. Click here to see more pictures from the game.

March 10, 2011

The Barber Pole Jerseys are Returning!

As you may have heard, the Ottawa 67's are bringing back the barber pole jersey next season. From yesterday's press release:

The Ottawa 67’s will return to their roots next season by wearing the barber pole jersey/socks as their “dark” uniform. The team was forced to temporarily switch from the barber pole to a solid colour prior to the start of the 2009-10 season when the OHL adopted the new Reebok EDGE jersey. At the time, 67’s Owner and Governor Jeff Hunt pledged that his team would return to the barber pole design as soon as it was technologically possible, and that time has now arrived.

“The barber pole jersey is synonymous with 67’s hockey,” said 67’s Owner and Governor Jeff Hunt. “It’s the jersey of Denis Potvin, Doug Wilson and Bobby Smith. It’s the jersey of our Memorial Cup winning teams. And it’s fantastic to finally be able to return to it and give our fans the look they’ve been asking for.”

The jersey will be unveiled to 67’s fans at the Rona Centre on Friday before the start of the game against but you can get an early look right here.

Ottawa 67's Captain was available earlier today to give us a preview of the jersey and here it is:

March 08, 2011

Ottawa 67's Booster Club Awards Banquet

I had the pleasure of attending the Ottawa 67's Booster Club annual awards banquet. The Booster Club is celebrating 20 years of supporting the players. These volunteers work all season to raise money that goes to the players in the form of performance awards to the players, gifts at Christmas and the end of the year and other items for the benefit of the players. All funds raised go to the players - over $2000 this year alone.

It is clearly a labour of love for the Booster Club members, volunteers and executives and the efforts and results are clearly appreciated by the players. It's all very impressive.

To acknowledge the 20 years of dedication and contributions to the Ottawa 67's players, Brian Kilrea presented the executives with two gifts on behalf of the Ottawa 67's club. One is a plaque that lists the gifts that the club have donated in the past with places to note the gifts that will be given in the future. The other is a team photo.
The Ottawa 67's Booster Club Executive with the gifts from the Ottawa 67's club acknowledging their 20th anniversary and all the tremendous work they have done for the team over those years.

Fans of all ages chat with the players, get autographs and take pictures...and then there's the awards.

The first award of the evening was for the Best Defensive Player. This year's award went to overager Travis Gibbons.
Best Defensive Player:  Travis Gibbons

It was followed up by the award for the best Offensive Player. No surprise there - Tyler Toffoi.
Best Offensive Player:  Tyler Toffoli

Best Two-Way Player: Thomas Nesbitt
Best Two-Way Player:  Thomas Nesbitt

Brian Kilrea Trophy: Thomas Nesbitt
Brian Kilrea Trophy:  Thomas Nesbitt

Fan Favourites: It was a tie - Tyler Toffoli and Petr Mrazek
Fan Favourite(s):  A tie! Tyler Toffoli and Petr Mrazek

Jon Abbott presented the first Team1200 Hardest Working 67's Trophy. Jon said that choosing just one player as the hardest worker was hard since the expectation from club management is that everyone works hard. Notwithstanding a difficult task, Jon presented the first Team1200 Trophy to Petr Mrazek.
Team1200's Junior Hockey Broadcaster Jon Abbott presented the first Team1200 Hardest Working 67's Trophy to Petr Mrazek

CTV-Ottawa Sportscaster Terry Marcotte was on hand to present the Brian Smith (Smitty) Trophy for Community Work to Travis Gibbons.
CTV Ottawa's Terry Marcotte presented the Brian Smith Award for Community Service to Travis Gibbons

Terry also presented the Bill Patterson Trophy for Rookie of the Year to Sean Monahan.
CTV Ottawa's Terry Marcotte presented the Bill Patterson Rookie of the Year Award to Sean Monahan

It was a very enjoyable evening....taking photos, chatting with some of the players and some of the folks who make the game-day experience enjoyable, and witnessing the obvious affection between the Booster Club members and the players.

March 06, 2011

Shayne Campbell Backstops His Team to a 2-1 OT Win!

Best home game of the year - without doubt. It was a full 64:29 minutes of full-on teamwork that was fast and physical and in the end, the right guys won (for this fan anyway).

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.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200

Hardest Working 67's
Hardest Working 67's as selected by the Team1200: Shane Prince

Random Thoughts:
  • 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.
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March 05, 2011

Full Team Effort in 67's 5 - 2 Win Over Barrie

Another strong game from Sean Monahan led the injury riddled 67's to a 5-4 win over the visiting Barrie Colts. Everyone stepped up to give Shayne Campbell another win at home.

Click here for the game sheet.

Down two veteran D (Zanetti and Luciani) and arguably their best defensive player not playing defense, Petr Mrazek, as well as Jon Carnevale and with Janes and Fontana still side lined, there were no healthy scratches for this game.

And despite being in last place in the league, the Barrie Colts were not to be taken lightly. They already beat Ottawa twice this year and their last two games were one-goal losses against Kingston and Guelph where they had scored a total of 9 goals.

Remy Giftopolous and Brett Gustavsen were called up last weekend while the 67's were on the road and they will be staying with the club for the rest of the season.

Byrne went went with the same lines as Wednesday, sprinkling his older vets across the lines: Smith, Martindale, Toffoli; Prince, Monahan, Nesbitt; Lindsay, Graovac, Dubois; Giftopolous, Foglia, Gustavsen.

The order of the day was strong defensive play and so they did but not at the expense of generating scoring chances. Barrie didn't get their first SOG until halfway through the first period by which time Ottawa had 10 shots on Barrie keeper John Chartrand.

Ottawa went 1/4 on the PP while the Colts went 1/6. Cody Ceci started the scoring with Ottawa's lone PPG on a one-timer from the high slot. Ryan Martindale with the perfect feed off the half-wall with the first assist and Tyler Toffoli with the second assist.

Hard working Tyler Graovac put the 67's up 2-0 when he knocked Ben Dubois' rebound out of the air and past Chartrand 5-hole. Cody Lindsay with the other assist.

But despite being pretty much outplayed all period, Barrie pulled within 1 when Thomas Nesbitt turned over the puck inside his own blue line allowing Taylor Pearson to pick it up, shoot, get his own rebound and beat Campbell top shelf. That was Barrie's 6th SOG with about 4 minutes left in the period.

Sean Monahan continued his scoring ways as he restored the two-goal lead with 1:12 left in the period. Shane Prince fed a great pass to Sean in slot. Brett Gustavsen with the second assist.

The Ottawa 67's got themselves into a bit of penalty trouble in the second, playing almost half of it short-handed, including 54 seconds of a 5-on-3 with both Gibbons and Smith in the penalty box. Ottawa successfully defended the 5-on-3, limiting Barrie to one SOG but with 8 seconds left in the Smith penalty, Petr Beranek slipped the puck in the net on a wrap-around attempt that went in off Sedlak's stick.

The early PPG got Barrie back in the game. They started carrying the game and Ottawa was scrambling at times. But neither team scored for the rest of the period and at the end of two it remained 3-2 Ottawa with SOGs at 27-19 in favour of Ottawa.

It took until the second half of the final frame for the 67's to get some breathing room on the scoreboard despite having possession in the offensive zone for a long stretch. Thomas Nesbitt scored short side on a play that started with Sean Monahan's hard work to keep the puck in play before the blue line. Shane Prince with the first assist.

Sean Monahan put the icing on the cake with under 7 minutes left with a nice move at the top of the crease on a pass from Thomas Nesbitt.

And these two teams have played each other for the last time this season with each team winning at home. Ottawa is 5 points ahead of Oshawa for the divisional lead with Oshawa having 2 games in hand.

The 67's now prepare for Sunday's game against the high-flying Kitchener Rangers who are led by top-NHL draft prospect Gabriel Landeskog and the league scoring leader and Ottawa native Jeremy Akeson.

Hope to see you there.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200

Hardest Working 67's as selected by the Team1200: Tyler Graovac

Random Thoughts:
  • Brian Kilrea has said that after Christmas, there are no more rookies on the team meaning by then the kids have enough experience to play like veterans. Despite that expectation, it's still a bit nerve wracking to see all of them playing because so many older veterans could not. A bit like watching the Senators....only with much more on the line.
  • Some folks have suggested that Shane Prince's success was due in large measure to the players he was playing with. In his last two games since returning from his shoulder injury he has 5 assists and is a +3 with new line mates so I guess that puts that theory to rest. He's a good player - plain and simple.
  • Barrie Colts Behenna had at least two one-timer chances at the edge of the crease that he could not connect on. It could have been a much different outcome.
  • Great to see points developing across the roster. Sean Monahan has been the highest scoring 67's since January 1st with 10 goals, 24 assists goals and a +16 and Cody Ceci has quietly racked up 17 points in his last 20 games. The newest members of the team, Gustavsen and Giftopolous made big contributions last weekend.
  • This was a good win for Shayne Campbell too - creating confidence as he is likely to be in goal again on Sunday against Kitchener.
  • Don't forget to get your copy of the 2010-2011 limited edition of "Through Our Lenses", a beautiful, 80-page full colour book of photos of the 67's. You can get your copy for $35 at the Booster Club or order it for $40 via kijiji Ottawa.

More Pictures:
Sean Monahan's hard work leading to Thomas Nesbitt's goal in the third
A one-timer in the making
Welcome back Remy Giftopolous
Welcome Brett Gustavsen
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