January 10, 2013

New-Look 67's Blanked by Generals

The group of Ottawa 67's that will finish the 2012-13 season hit the ice with a series of new bodies on Wednesday night, and although the fresh faces didn't look out of place in the lineup, they would fall to an undermanned Oshawa Generals team by a score of 2-0.

John Urbanic, who was acquired from the opposition earlier in the day for an eighth-round pick and only arrived half an hour before puck drop, joined Joseph Blandisi, Jake Middleton and Mark Petaccio as debuting Barberpoles, while Sergey Kuptsov played his first home game at Scotiabank Place.

"I thought it was a good game.  I thought we competed hard and I thought we got stronger as the game went on," said Chris Byrne.  "As I said to our guys, if we work that hard, we'll execute better as we get a little sharper together."

Jacob Blair did his best to hold the home side in the game, turning away the first 24 Oshawa shots before allowing Boone Jenner to bury his own rebound, opening the scoring.  Jenner also added an empty netter.  Blair made 32 saves, while Ottawa native Daniel Altshuller stopped all 22 shots for a shutout win.

"That's three good games in a row for (Blair) and a solid performance," added Byrne.  "In the first period they got after us a little bit and he did a good job of holding down the fort and he made some big saves."

After being outshot 16-4 in the first period, Ottawa picked up the pace, evening up the shots at 18 apiece through the final fourty minutes.  Michal Cajkovsky nearly tied the game, but his shot from the line late in the third period glanced off the post.

The Generals move into a tie with Belleville for first in the East Division, while the 67's remain tied for last in the conference and division with Peterborough.

The 67's head on the road now to take on the league-leading London Knights and Sarnia Sting.  "It'll be a good trip to get everybody knowing each other and I think feeling it out a little bit," said Byrne.  "We'll play some tough teams and that's not a bad thing either."

Game sheet can be found here.

Assorted Notes:
  • Petaccio made his presence felt in his 67's debut, establishing himself as a top penalty killer, helping his new team kill all five Oshawa powerplays.
  • Daniel Walsh doesn't appear to have a short memory, going over to Scott Laughton a few times to have a word with him.  Laughton's headshot on Walsh put him out of the lineup for nearly two months in November.
  • Middleton had a strong first game, playing on both special teams, finding himself in the starting lineup and also getting icetime in the final minute as Ottawa scrambled to try and tie the game.  His performance didn't go unnoticed from his bench boss.  "It's probably the most icetime he's played in an OHL game and I think he handled it well."
  • Taylor Fielding was also playing on both special teams, although moving back to defence to play the point on the powerplay and help the 67's kill a second period 5-on-3 as a defender.
  • As expected, Sean Monahan will now make up the top unit alongside new acquisitions in Kuptsov and Blandisi.  Byrne realizes that they won't neccisarily have instant chemistry, but that they're already coming together well.  "I think it'll be a feeling out process a little bit, just figuring out where guys are going to be in different systems.  It'll take some time, but I think there's enough talent there to make it work."
  • Urbanic's story is an interesting one as he found out after a team lunch with the Generals that he had been traded to their opposition for tonight's game.  He had an early scoring chance that just missed wide, and drew praise from the coach.  "I thought that was a good game for him coming in under some tough circumstances.  He skates well and plays a real hard game."
Three Stars as Selected by the Team1200

 Hardest Working 67's:  Joseph Blandisi 
Hardest Working 67's as Selected by the Team1200:  Joseph Blandisi 

Random Thoughts from Behind the Lens:
  • What a week it's been.  Like everyone else, I knew that trades would be made and it was clear who was likely to be traded but it's still hard to see guys go.  I was surprised just how busy Chris was - I don't think I've seen so many changes at the trade deadline in the years that I have been following the club. 
  • Ceci, Janes, Graovac and Giftopolous will be missed.  They played hard until they were traded.  I admire commitment like that. 
  • A hearty welcome to the new guys:  Blandisi, Kupstov, Middleton, Petaccio and Urbanic (that was a test to see if I could do it from memory - I passed).  They all have had a great start as 67's.  Really looking forward to see how the rest of the season unfolds. 
  • Middleton is a large lad and he's only 17!  
  • It was good to see Taylor Fielding, Ryan Van Stralen and Mike Cajkovsky with the "A"s. Not sure if this is permanent (I suspect so).
  • And, while the broadcasters are not part of the trade deadline, with the resumption of the NHL near, it was Gord Wilson's last game in the Team1200 game broadcast booth.  He has been the colour guy working along side AJ Jakubec.  When the team is on the road I listen to the game on Team1200 and I enjoyed how he and AJ called the games.  Looking forward to hearing him on the broadcasts for the Senators games. 
Some pictures from the game (all the new guys):

 First home game for Sergey Kupstov acquired in the Graovac trade with Belleville. 
Sergey Kupstov

Jacob Middleton

 John Urbanic - today's acquisition from Oshawa.  Arrived just in time for the game. 
John Urbanic

Joseph Blandisi acquired from Owen Sound in the Ceci/Janes trade. 
Joseph Blandisi 

Mark Petaccio acquired from The Soo. 
Mark Petaccio

Click here to see more pictures from the game:

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