October 29, 2013

Blandisi scores lone goal in 67's 2-1 loss to the Frontenacs

It did not look like a good start.  With only 33 seconds into the opening frame, Henri Ikonen picked up his 7th goal of the season after he banked in a sharp angle shot off of Jonathan Duchesne’s skate in front of the net.  That was Ikonen’s 14th career point against the 67’s in 10 games.

Hoping to avoid a repeat of their 7-4 loss earlier this month when the Frontenacs also got off to a quick lead, the 67’s regrouped and fought harder in the last half of the first period. Their hard work paid off and forced the Frontenacs to take penalties.

The 67’s went 0-4 on the powerplay, but the extra man-advantage gave them a lot more momentum leading to more scoring chances.  The 67’s outshot the Fronts 10-4 in the first 20 minutes but were unable to solve backup goaltender Lucas Peressini in the Kingston net.

The game was scoreless in the second period but filled with penalties in the second half.  Both goaltenders shut the door stopping all 23 shots in the period.  67’s coach Chris Byrne was impressed with both goaltenders, “Trudeau’s solid, he gives us a chance and I thought both guys were pretty good tonight.” (Trudeau made 35 saves and Peressini made 30 saves).

It wasn’t until midway through the second that the 67’s were able to solve Peressini.  Joseph Blandisi scored his 10th goal of the season after Ryan Van Stralen won a battle with the puck and slid a nice feed on the stick right in front of the net.  Blandisi has a knack for scoring late period goals.  Of his 10 goals this season, 8 have come in the 3rd period.  Byrne explains, “[Blandisi]’s a clutch player.  For us, he’s our go to guy up front.  Definitely a hard working player that plays with some grit and some determination and that’s his style.”

Less than two minutes later, Tyler Hill took a questionable tripping penalty that led to the Fronts game winning goal.  Up until that powerplay, the Fronts looked a little lifeless and were 0-3 in the game.  The Fronts moved the puck very well and capitalized on their late chance.

Despite the 67’s best efforts in the final seconds, the Fronts held on to their 2-1 lead and snapped a 4-game losing streak.  The 67’s dropped to a record of 6-9-0-0.

The loss spoiled the debut of the two newest 67’s blueliners Owen Stewart and Ryan Duhaime.   The two were acquired last week and did not look out of place tonight.  “I thought they played well. Nice for them to get into practice for a week, get some time into them and to figure things out a little bit.  I thought that both guys were pretty tonight good again,” Byrne reinforced.

Stewart and Duhaime will continue to see more icetime with the lengthy injuries on the 67’s blueline.  Mike Vlajkov is likely out until next season, Taylor Davis is out for a couple months with a concussion and Adrian Sloboda is still a couple weeks away with a high-ankle sprain.

Byrne isn’t worried about a log jam when the defensemen start returning from injury, “That’ll be a nice problem to have, so I’ll worry about that when that happens.”

Ottawa 67’s are in Peterborough on Saturday night and then travel back to host the red-hot Oshawa Generals on Tuesday night.

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