Alex is enjoying Thanksgiving with his family so my game summary will have to do today.
With Mike Cajkovski (ill), Ryan Van Stralen (shoulder ?), and Sean Callaghan (injured finger) out of the line up, the 67's were not only short a full team, they dressed 8 rookies, all who saw more ice time than they might have otherwise so early in their OHL careers.
Neither team was hot off the jump, with shots on goal only 3 - 1 (Ottawa) in the first 4 minutes and on their first PK, the Wolves didn't get a sniff near the net. But it was Sudbury's Mathew Campagna who pounced on a rebound to open the scoring at just over 8 minutes into the game. Samuel Schutt put the Wolves up by 2 by picking off another rebound. At this point, the 67's were out shot 8-3.
Then the Wolves managed to run up a number of penalties in the last 5 minutes of the first period, including giving the 67's a couple of 5-on-3's. On the first 5-on-3, Cody Ceci slid into the slot and wired a shot that got his team on the board. Monahan had the assist. Despite getting a total of 10 shots on net with 1 or 2-man advantages, Ottawa was unable to tie it up before the period ended.
Joshua Leivo started the second period with two of his eventual 3-goals of the night to give the Wolves a comfortable 4-1 lead. But the 67's didn't quit. Taylor Fielding started the come-back with his second goal of the season when he snapped one from the slot as he skated out from the boards. Graovac and Gustavsen assisted. The three of them then teamed up for the next goal, this time scored by Tyler Graovac in the middle of a goal-mouth scramble.
And Steve Janes notched Ottawa's third unanswered goal to tie it up in the third when he tipped Monahan's shot from the point in the third.
Ottawa kept pressure on Sudbury but Joshua Leivo scored his third goal of the game, which turned out to be the game-winner on a highlight reel, one-man effort that left a few 67's sitting in the dust. He finished his rush beating Blair upstairs.
With a powerplay to finish the third period, the 67's pulled Jacob for the extra attacker but Michael Kantor got the EN to seal the deal.
And with the loss, the 67's fall to 1-5 and last place in the OHL.
Chris Byrne is not panicking. "We believe in the guys in our room. Thought they worked hard - can't complain about their work ethic." As for looking forward, "We're still trying to get our lines and D-pairs on the ice." Regarding the 8 rookies who were dressed for the game, "It's great experience for those guys. The more ice time they get, the earlier they get it, the better they'll be. I think they've done a good job; they've worked hard with their ice time.".
As for young goalie Jacob Blair, "It's not easy, his going in as a 17 year old where we would have had Wilson probably more often. We didn't anticipate him having to play last night and again today. I'm happy with what he's done." commented Tom Dempsey, the team's goalie coach. If anyone is worrying about how Jacob may be handling the situation, Dempsey isn't. "He's solid - nothing seems to bothers him.".
The 67's hit the road next week for games against Niagara and the renamed Mississauga Steelheads before returning to Scotia Bank Place to play the Kitchener Rangers on Sunday.
Click here for today's game sheet.
Hardest Working 67's: Taylor Fielding
Random Thoughts from Behind the Lens:
- This is unfamiliar territory for the 67's but they are closer than the record shows. It's not for lack of effort or caring. They are still putting it together and will figure it out.
- A few scraps in the game, involving rookies no less. Duchense and Brown during the game and Salituro and Davis managed to get into a couple of post-game kerfuffles.
- Speaking of scraps, I don't know who finds the clips they play on the screen after a fight but the one with the cow is hilarious.
- I don't recall Chris Byrne ever calling out any single player publicly any time things went wrong. A good quality in my books. Most players already know when it hasn't gone well - they don't need a public piling on by their coach.
Click here to see more pictures.