September 29, 2013

Blandisi Delivers Another Late Winning Goal

Although he’s only appeared in third period action twice so far this season, Joseph Blandisi has game winning markers in both of them, scoring in the final ten minutes on Sunday to give the 67’s a 3-2 win over Niagara.

Having scored the game winner on opening night and coming off a suspension for a slew-foot a week ago, Blandisi picked the top corner for his second goal of the night, holding up as the game winner.

“It's one of the best feelings for me to score a big goal like that,” said Blandisi.  “I could have played a big role in those two games and it's tough to lose four points when we could've had it won.  I had to make up for it now.”

The winning goal in all four Barberpoles matchups this season has been a third period marker.

"All exciting games, all games right to the end,” said Chris Byrne.  “And for our guys it's just important to get the two points today and have some points in the bank going into next weekend.”

Blandisi had tied the game at two late in the opening period after Niagara defender Jesse Graham fanned on a clearing pass.  Fielding scored the other for Ottawa.

Anthony DiFruscia scored twice on the powerplay for Niagara in the first, deflecting a Carter Verhaege shot in six seconds into a man advantage, before beating Philippe Trudeau glove side to re-gain a one-goal lead.

“The first one's right off the draw, it was a good deflection,” added Byrne.  “And the second one, we played it exactly the way we wanted, it landed on their stick and was in the net.  A little bit of tough luck but I thought after that, our guys responded well on the penalty kill.”

Trudeau made 32 saves, only one after Blandisi took the lead, to preserve the win.

Whether or not Byrne is willing to continue giving his overager the number one goaltending spot is yet to be seen, but he’s gained the trust of the coach.

“I thought he was solid both nights, just made the saves he needs to make for us, and a couple extra ones that were real good stops.  He just looks real calm in the net for us.”

Brendan Bell is at two fights against his ten-fight limit, dropping the gloves a second game in a row after taking a cross-check from rookie Zach Wilkie.

Bell dropped Wilkie, who came back to the game fitted with a full face-shield.

The 67’s take on the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Thursday before heading on the road for the first time this season.

Game sheet can be found here.

Assorted Notes:
  • Jake Middleton missed this game with the flu and Mike Vlajkov continues to nurse a leg injury.  Ottawa's thinned-out defence was hemmed in early.
  • Adrian Sloboda and Alex Lintuniemi aren't just turning the tides on a tough preseason, they're playing more minutes than any other 67's defenders, were a +2 today and were on the ice for the entire last minute to preserve the lead.  
  • Dante Salituro had an assist and a solid game today, but it's possible he would be more suited to play right wing as he did in Minor Midget.  On his assist, he cut in from the boards and fed Fielding in the middle of the ice.  Salituro isn't a perimeter player, but one has to wonder if he would score more if he constantly had to cut into the middle that way.
  • Andrew Abou-Assaly and Connor Graham, fourth-liners all season, got their chance at separate times to play second-line minutes.  Graham had a breakaway two minutes before the winning goal with a chance to break the tie.
  • Trudeau has been solid but shots from the top of the circle on his glove side seem to be a soft spot.  Niagara was only able to take advantage when on the powerplay.
Three Stars as Selected by the Team1200:

 Hardest Working 67's:  Adrian Sloboda Hardest Working 67's:  Adrian Sloboda 

Some pictures from the game:

  Gustavsen on a beauty breakaway...leaving the IceDogs in the dust.  He was stoned by Moran.  
Brett Gustavsen leaves a couple of IceDogs in the dust on a break away.  Moran made the save.

  Rookie Zack Wilkie trying to decapitate Brendan Bell.  Bad choice.  Brendan took umbrage and Wilkie ended up wearing a cage for the rest of the game.  
Wilkie attempting to decapitate Bell.  Bad choice.  Wilkie ended up with a cage to finish the game.

 Blandisi celebrating his GWG. 
Joseph Blandisi celebrating his game winning goal.  

Click here to see more pictures from the game.  

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