March 24, 2012

Bulls seeing red as 67’s take a 2-0 series lead

The Ottawa 67’s faced off against the Belleville Bulls for the 12th time this season in front of a home crowd of 8,958. There was no love lost between these two teams tonight. After several minutes of chirping at centre ice lots of pushing and shoving broke out during the pre-game warm ups. It was quickly broken up by the officials and Marc Zanetti was assessed a 5-minute match penalty for spearing and thus thrown from the game before it even started.

This set the tone.
Fired up after Friday's overtime thriller and this game's pre-game incident, both teams came out of the gate flying. The 67’s started to throw the body around more and made an impact on the pace of the game.

Brett Gustavsen made a great effort to get the 67’s on the board. He recovered from a collision in the corner, skated straight to the net, grabbed a rebound from Remy Giftopolous’ shot and fired it past Malcolm Subban for the early 1-0 lead.

Three minutes later, the Bulls respond as Sean Callaghan couldn’t hold the puck in at the blueline causing to a two-on-one break the opposite way. After a great first stop from Petr Mrazek, the puck flew into mid-air and Michael Curtis tapped it in for a high rebound.

Sean Monahan would regain the 67’s lead after jumping on a big rebound and shooting it into the open net after the powerplay expired. Subban made a great first stop, but with no defenseman covering the right side and Subban now out of position, the net was wide opened and 67’s capitalized.

Rough play started early, but the game’s first fight did not come until the 14 minute mark. After making an extra shot at Mrazek after the whistle, Tyler Graovac took exception and attempted to drop the gloves with Joseph Cramarossa. It wasn’t much of a fight since the linesmen jumped right in with Cramarossa still managing to get a couple extra shots. Three minutes later, Dalton Smith and Adam Payerl continued what they started in the warmup. Smith took Payerl to the ice with four shots.

Time expired for the first 20 minutes. Unlike last game where the teams took their turns dominating the play, both teams skated away with an even effort.

They did, however take their turns with undisciplined play after the first and into the second period. After killing off a lengthy 67’s two-man advantage, the Bulls were stopped on a lengthy two-man advantage for themselves. There were several great chances and great goaltending on both ends as the teams were scoreless in the second. Sean Monahan must have had 3 great chances but was unable to bury them.

Early in the third, Monahan jumped on a bouncing puck, grabbed his own rebound and made no mistake to fire it past Subban for the eventual game winner.

Cramarossa would respond for the Bulls and finally solved Mrazek again after some hard work from his line. It appeared that the puck re-directed off of Steven Janes, but it was Cramarossa's original bullet shot that got past Mrazek. The intensity just cranked up higher for the final 10 minutes of the third with the 67’s holding on to a thin one-goal lead. After pulling the goaltender for an extra attacker, Prince rounded out the scoring on an empty net for his first goal of the playoffs. Subban was solid with 29 saves, but Mrazek stole the show after stopping 44 shots fired his way.

The 67’s now hold a 2-0 series lead over the Bulls. Both teams have a time to recoup before heading to Belleville for games 3 & 4 on Sunday afternoon and Tuesday night from the Yardmen Arena.

Click here for the game sheet.

Three Stars as Selected by the TEAM1200 (Cramarossa did not take a turn for the Belleville fans)

Hardest working 67's: Cody Ceci

Hardest Working 67's: Cody Ceci

Random Thoughts from Behind the Lens:
  • Very chippy game, especially in the pre-game and first period. Zanetti managed to get himself thrown out of the game before it even started, then the Belleville Bulls decided to delay their entry to the ice until well after the countdown to the start had finished. And then the game started...  Here's some video of the event: 
  • I knew Monahan was due to break out soon - good timing.
  • Belleville owned the second period and good chunks of the third. Mrazek saved the 67's. The Bulls did an excellent job of cycling the puck while the 67's were more "one 'n done".
  • An excellent crowd at the game, including lots of Belleville fans who made the trip. Kids have boundless energy - a group of them chanting for the 67's pretty much non-stop for the last 8 minutes of the game.
Some pictures from the game: Brett Gustavsen's first playoff goal to get the Ottawa 67's on the board early. 
 Brett Gustavsen's first playoff goal!

 Sean Monahan gets serious air celebrating his first playoff goal which put Ottawa back into the lead. 
 Sean Monahan getting serious air celebrating his first goal of the playoffs.

  Celebrating a 2-game lead in the series  

Click here to see more pictures.

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