Shane Prince notched a hat-trick and the 67’s finally put in a truly convincing effort, handing the Belleville Bulls a 5-2 loss and taking a 3-2 series lead after a pivotal Game 5 on home ice. They have a chance to close out the series on Monday night in Belleville.
The game had a great pace to it, although it was marred by a first-period incident. Dalton Smith, who was suspended ten games already for a questionable hit against Belleville in September, flattened Belleville pest Daniil Zharkov coming out of the corner before fighting Luke Judson. With the score already 1-1 on the strength of goals from Joseph Cramarossa and Prince respectively, Smith was kicked out of the game and assessed 20 penalty minutes on the play.
Prince continued his scoring in the second, showing great hand-eye co-ordination and batting his own rebound past Malcolm Subban to give Ottawa a 2-1 lead. Stephen Silas tied the game early in the third period before the 67’s were able to pull away.
Sean Monahan, who aslo had a terrific game defencively, scored from the slot to put Ottawa ahead for good. Tyler Toffoli, just like Monahan, added his fourth goal of the playoffs, before Prince capped off his performance with an empty net goal.
The game had its fair share of rough play and questionable officiating. While Ottawa didn’t find themselves on a single powerplay, they killed all six of Belleville’s man advantages on the night. Mrazek made 32 saves for the win. At the other end, a visibly frustrated Subban made 24 stops.
As mentioned, these two teams will face off on Monday night, a game which could decide the series if Ottawa wins. If necessary, Game 7 would go Tuesday in Ottawa. With the win, it is guaranteed, one way or another, that Captain Marc-Anthony Zanetti will play in at least one more OHL game.
Click here for the game sheet.
Random Thoughts from Behind the Lens:
- Who were these guys and what did they do with the 67's? That was an awesome, full on, team effort. I hope Neil bottled whatever it was 'cause it was fantastic.
- Monahan was a beast. Haven't seen this for a while. Would love to see his face-off stat. Looked like he won most of them by a long shot.
- For a moment during the game, I was sorry that we won't get to see Cazzola next year. Then I thought, well, it's great that we saw him for part of this year. He had a great game too.
- It was good to see former 67's Cody Lindsay before the game. He was here to cheer on his club.
- The officiating seemed a tad lopsided. With the level of intensity that playoff hockey brings, and 4 officials on the ice it seems odd that only one team seemed to be on the wrong side of the law. Especially with some of the post-whistle shenanigans.
- I am declaring myself to be an official playoff hockey warrior princess after getting wounded in action and staying in the game. While taking pictures from between the benches (no glass), and while following the play (keeping an eye on the puck), a player hit my camera which hit my chin and caused a bo-bo. Neil glued it up and I was good to go. Thanks to the fans (all 4 of them) for the standing O. Grrr - bring it on...I can take it!