November 24, 2013

67's on a Two-Game Winning Streak as they Beat the Ice Dogs 5-2

The Ottawa 67’s scored on their first two shots on goal and their last three shots on goal on Sunday afternoon en route to a 5-2 win over the Niagara Ice Dogs.

Ryan Van Stralen scored twice while Tyler Hill added another in a two minute span to break a late 2-2 tie.

“We had two great, hard practices before our game, and I said, if we worked that hard in the first two periods of this game, we would've been off to the races,” said Chris Byrne.

“We scored a couple of early goals, but then we have to work like that the whole game.”

Ottawa had opened the scoring, despite being outshot in the opening minutes, with goals from Joseph Blandisi and Owen Stewart.

After avoiding suspension for his charging major on Tuesday, Blandisi scored just over a minute into the game.  Stewart scored his first as a 67 on a seeing-eye shot from the point.

Niagara tied the game early in the second period with powerplay goals from Eric Ming and Billy Jenkins, while at one point opening up a 16-7 advantage on the shot clock.

“When we watch over a game, we focus more on scoring chances, the shot count doesn’t mean nearly as much to us,” said Byrne.

Brendan Bell, coming off Tuesday’s hattrick, appeared to give Ottawa the lead with just under 10 minutes to play, but his deflection of a Stewart point shot was over the crossbar. 

Van Stralen broke the tie with just over three minutes to go, lifting a backhander over Niagara’s Chris Festarini.  Hill scored on a long shot 33 seconds later.

Philippe Trudeau didn’t face as much action as usual, but still turned aside 25 shots to secure the win.

With the win, Ottawa separates themselves from the last-place Niagara squad with four points between them.  The 67's still hold the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

They head on their northern road trip next weekend to take on North Bay, Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie.

Assorted Notes:
  • Adrian Sloboda had his strongest game physically today.  He took a few big hits but bounced back up, and nearly got into his first OHL scrap late with Mitchell Fitzmorris.  Ottawa's two import defencemen are doing their best to break any and all European stereotypes.
  • Andrew Abou-Assaly also played a physical game but wasn't rewarded with the ice time.  He and John Urbanic continued to be glued to the fourth line, but made the most of their minutes.
  • These quick, multiple-goal outbursts seem all too common in games between Ottawa and Niagara.  Chances are, a contending team would have taken this game from Ottawa far before their late surge.
  • The first two goals weren't highlight-reel by any means.  Blandisi's marker appeared to be a broken play, which turned into a two-on-one.  Festarini played it way too aggresively, and couldn't move laterally to take the pass.  The second goal was from the line without any screen. Just like Ottawa misses Petr Mrazek, Niagara's goaltending is a far cry from Mark Visentin who squared off against the 67's in the playoffs two seasons ago.
Three Stars as Selected by TSN1200

 Hardest Working 67's:  Jonathan Duchesne 
 Hardest Working 67's:  Jonathan Duchesne

Some pictures from the game: 

Joseph Blandisi scores with the first SOG.  
And my camera was on a black and white setting so we get an artsy shot.

  Owen Stewart gets his first goal as a 67's.
 Owen Stewart with a low key celebration of his first goal as a 67's.

  Phillippe Trudeau debuting his new goalie 67's goalie gear - pads, catcher and blocker.
Phillippe Trudeau debuting his new 67's gear (finally).

Click here to see more pictures from the game. 

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