Perklin’s night didn’t have the best ending, however. He picked up a fight instigator penalty in a last-minute line brawl, before getting handily beaten by ex-teammate Michal Cajkovsky. Ryan Van Stralen, Jonathan Duchesne and Cajkovsky, along with Perklin, Terry Trafford and Dylan Sadowy from the Spirit were all ejected as a result of the kerfuffle.
“I’m not proponent of that,” head coach Chris Byrne said of the third period incident. “That’s not what I’m all about, or our team should be all about. Our guys didn’t play hard throughout the game and then they wanted to do something at the end. That's a game where we're embarassed on home ice and not working as hard as we should be."
Ottawa stayed in the game for the better part of the night, but after Perklin’s goal put the visitors up 6-3, Vincent Trocheck and Brandon Lindberg piled on for a Spirit team that had no problem padding their stats and piling it on at the end of a blowout.
Sean Monahan lit a fire under his 67’s twice in the final two periods with a pair of powerplay goals, but it wasn’t enough to mount a comeback. He scored on a perfectly placed shot late in the second period to pull the home side to a 4-2 deficit, adding another third-period marker on a broken play to make it a 5-3 game. Perklin’s goal destroyed any momentum, scoring just 39 seconds later.
Monahan also had an assist as Steven Janes cut a first-period lead in half to get Ottawa on the board. Saginaw defenceman Brandon Prophet had a pair of markers, a strange bouncing shot from the point to open the scoring, and on a wrist shot from the point to start off the third period’s scoring.
Eric Locke, Andrey Alexeev and Jim Lodge also added goals for Saginaw, who gain ground on the eighth place Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the Western Conference. Ottawa sits three points back of Brampton, who hold the final playoff spot in the east.
Jake Paterson made 41 saves in a winning effort for Saginaw. Jacob Blair made 39 stops in his first start since October 7th. “I thought he competed hard,” added Byrne. “There were all sorts of wide open shots and breakaways, so we need to do a much better job in front of him.”
The 67’s take on Belleville on Sunday before taking on Mississauga on Tuesday, both on home ice.
- Ottawa's problems don't end on the ice. Jake Cardwell was a healthy scratch, while it appears as though Richard Mraz has left the team and is heading home to Slovakia.
- Cody Ceci, Tyler Graovac and Sean Monahan were in the lineup on Friday after suiting up for Team OHL in Guelph on Thursday. "They played and worked hard. It's a tough round trip for those guys obviously, but most nights they're the guys working hard for us," said Byrne of their performance. Graovac is set to re-join the Ontario All-Stars in Sarnia on Monday night.
- Ryan Van Stralen seemed to be looking for trouble all night after Saginaw's first goal. He received an unsportsmanlike penalty off the ensuing faceoff, and two more penalties before being involved in the third-period brawl.
- Although nowhere close to a season-high in attendance, the just-under 6,000 in attendance were a boisterous group, creating the best atmosphere of the year for the 67's. Unfortunately, the home team couldn't capitalize.
Three Stars as selected by the Team1200
Random Thoughts from Behind the Lens:
- That was bad. Really, really bad. It did not look at all like a team effort. On the other hand, Saginaw looked like a machine - all the parts moving in unison. They played really well.
- The 67's dressed 8 rookies again and they all saw ice time. The 4th line consisted of Brett Gustavsen (returning from injury) and rookies Duchesne and Desaultels. A very young team.
- With the departure of Richard Mraz, it will be interesting to see what the club does. My guess is that there will be a significant trade soon to begin building next year's team. It's not packing it in per se; it's evaluating where the club sits realistically and planning accordingly. Every game is still important and no one is guaranteed a spot next year.
- Still have to give the coach credit - he did not call out a single player in the last two games. The philosophy appears to be that they win as a team and they lose as a team. He said some players have to work harder but he didn't single out anyone by name.
- I'm confident that the team will get the message and begin playing like a team again. If you think this is painful as a fan, it's brutal for those athletes. Although I am not sure they've hit rock bottom yet.
Some pictures from the game:
When things really go wrong - this led to one of Saginaw's goals.
Nevin Guy is one of 3 rookies who has played in every game this season.
Jacob Blair fan club.
Click here to see more pictures.