December 14, 2012

67’s win 5-2 over Petes in Monahan & Gravoac’s return

Brendan Bell scored the game winning goal in front of 10,829 screaming fans as the Ottawa 67’s defeated the Peterborough Petes 5-2.  The win pushes the 67’s one point ahead of the Petes for 9th place in the Eastern Conference but Peterborough has one game in hand.

The crowd was a welcomed change from Wednesday night’s total of 2,977. 

“Obviously a great crowd, one of the biggest of the year,” said coach Chris Byrne knowing the fans already had a bit to cheer about before the game started.  “They were loud and I think they did a great job of getting us going.”

After being returned from Canada’s World Junior selection camp, Sean Monahan and Tyler Graovac both had something to prove.  It was the first time since Nov 15th that the two were in the lineup at the same time.  You could feel how much of a difference their presence made to this struggling team.

“It allows the guys to play where they are supposed to play.  It puts the guys back to spots where they should be. Makes it a little bit better of match up for us I think,” Byrne acknowledged.

The opening frame didn’t go as planned for the 67’s.  Francis Menard opened the scoring after he grabbed an Alan Quine rebound and tapped it through the fivehole of Clint Windsor only 27 seconds into their powerplay.

However, Ottawa would respond big by scoring four unanswered goals within the next two periods. Cody Ceci got the 67’s on the board early in the second period with a long bullet shot from behind the blueline.  The puck sped through the pads of Michael Giugovaz in the Peterborough net, a goal he would like to have back.

In the slot out front, Dante Salituro picked up a loose puck and slid it into the net past a sprawling Giugovaz for his 27th point of the season.  Ottawa had 11 shots in the second period after going 21 straight periods with 9 shots or less.

After a cross-crease pass from Salituro, Brendan Bell made no mistake but to wire a wrist shot from the sharp angle marking the eventual game winner.  Taylor Fielding and Sean Monahan would score next for the 67’s while Nick Ritchie responded for the Petes mid-way through the final frame.

Dante Salituro was awarded the game’s first star after a goal and an assist in the 5-2 win.  “He’s really come on,” explains Byrne.  “Some of the benefits are some of the young guys have played a ton and some of our young guys have played more than any young guys in the league will all year long so they’re coming into the second part of the year as veterans and we rely on the heavily every night.” 

The 67’s have one more game before Christmas break.  They will be in Oshawa on December 16th to face the Boone-Jenner-less Oshawa Generals.

The game sheet is here

The 1st star as selected by the Team1200: Dante Salituro
1st star:  Dante Salituro

The hardest working 67's as selected by the Team1200:  Brendan Bell

Random thoughts from Behind the Lens:
  • A very big crowd for the game, the vast majority of them kids. All the more moving as we stood for a moment of pin-drop silence for the people affected by the tragic events in Newton, Connecticut. 
  • Chris had a rare situation.  He actually had to decide which player had to sit for the game; there were more healthy bodies than space on the bench.  Both Daniel Walsh and Taylor Davis took the warm-up; Daniel got the nod for the game.  He's been itching to get back on the ice and it was good to see him out there again.
  • I thought the Bell-Salituro-Giftopolous line was high-energy. And their hard work landed them a couple of goals.  
  • Fielding's goal was just like the ones at practice on Monday, sniped into the top right corner.
  • I didn't get good pictures of Ceci and Graovac for their 3-star selection so Dante is up there all by himself.  
  • As usual, the team plays it's last game before Christmas on the road where the players can head directly home for Christmas.  Hope all of you have a great Christmas, Hanukkah or however you celebrate this time of year.   

 Some pictures from the game:
Mike Vlajkov defending in front of the net.

Connor Brown

Some of the many fans who cheered as the 7th player and went home happy.

Click here to see more pictures.

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