January 04, 2013

Greyhounds Now-Healthy Defence Shuts Down 67's

On a day where Canada’s National Junior under-20 team was eliminated by the USA, the Ottawa 67’s lost a nearly identical game by a score of 4-1 to Sault Ste. Marie.  Similar to the Canada-USA morning game, Ottawa allowed the first four goals of the game before getting on the board.

Mark Petaccio gave the visitors an early lead just over a minute and a half into the game, and the Greyhounds were able to shut down the 67’s for two full periods before exploding for three quick goals in the third to put the game away.

"They played a good road game, it was tough to get through and we needed to do a better job of getting good, clean breakouts," said Chris Byrne.  "I don't think we started very well, then in the second period we had chances, but they did a great job of closing in and shutting things down."

Ryan Sproul, David Broll and Dylan Staples scored within six minutes of each other in the third period to stretch the lead to four.  Tyler Graovac managed to score a shorthanded goal to round out the scoring.

Unlike the last matchup against the Greyhounds, a 6-1 Ottawa win, defencemen Sproul and Colin Miller were back in the lineup, a pair of players who helped shut down the 67's attack.  "We struggled on one of our strong points this year," the 67's bench boss said of his team's 0-for-3 powerplay.  "It just seemed like we got jumbled."

Matt Murray only had to make 21 saves for the Soo, while Clint Windsor stopped 47 in his return from the flu.  "He was 100%, he wouldn't have been playing if he wasn't 100%, and he was good," added Byrne.

Ottawa, now last place in the OHL, heads to the road, where they take on Barrie and Brampton this weekend before returning home to take on Oshawa next Wednesday.

The game sheet can be found here.

Assorted notes:
  • Windsor did have a spectacular performance, but Brendan Bell easily could have been named the game's Hardest Worker.  He never stopped working, constantly backchecking, battling on the boards and drawing a pair of penalties.
  • Ottawa's defence is missing the type of defenceman who can dominate at both ends of the ice and on both special teams.  Darnell Nurse and Sproul should be the types of guys the 67's look for in this rebuild.
  • Nevin Guy didn't see a lot of ice time, but when he did play on the powerplay, he's the type of player who could be a great powerplay quarterback moving forward.  In relation to the last comment, if the 67's can get one or two defencemen that play solid at both ends to surround him, their defence should be set for years to come.
  • Neither Connor Brown nor Hounds defenceman Chris Buonomo had a lot of ice time on the night, and Brown didn't look for revenge for Buonomo's cheapshot that garnered a 15-game suspension in the last meeting between these two teams.
  • Brett Gustavsen is still day-to-day with his aggravated ankle injury, and although he started using a stationary bike today, isn't expected to be back in the lineup this weekend.

Three Stars as Selected by the Team1200

Hardest Working 67's:  Clint Windsor
    Hardest working 67's: Clint Windsor

    67's Win 2013 Opener In Final Moments On New Year's Day, the 67's headed to Kingston for a re-match with the Kingston Frontenacs, beating them on a goal from Tyler Graovac in the final ten seconds of regulation to give Ottawa a 4-3 win. Remy Giftopoulos assisted on the winning goal, while scoring a goal of his own, Michal Cajkovksy had his second goal against his former team on the year and Graovac had another goal, while Jacob Blair made 34 saves in his second start in as many days.  

     Random Thoughts from Behind the Lens:  
    • This was not one of Ottawa's better efforts; there really wasn't any energy at the start.  But have to give credit to the Soo, they played very well - skating through and around the 67's at will at at times.
    • Clint Windsor made many outstanding saves, including on a couple of breakaways.  He really earned the Hardest Working title for the game.  
    • Former 67's goalie, Seamus Kotyk is an Assistant Coach with SSM.  He spent time chatting and catching up with old friends and acquaintances before the game.  Looks like living and working in SSM is agreeing with him.
    • Has the wrist shot or snap shot been banned?  Seems everyone wants to drill a slap shot most of the time.   
    • With the OHL trade deadline looming (January 10th) and the WJHC ending tomorrow, last night may have been the last home game for a player or two.  There's one home game before the deadline but players may be already traded by then.  The on-going tango at the NHL-level is the biggest wildcard in the mix.
    Some pictures from the game:  
    One of the many key saves by Windsor. 

    Duschense battling Mallette in front of the 67's net 

    Among the challenges Windsor had to deal with. 

    Click here to see more pictures from the game.

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