October 10, 2014

67’s come from behind, win home opener 4-3 over IceDogs

Dante Salituro scored the first goal, the tying goal and the game-winner to lead the 67’s to their first regular season win of the 2014-15 OHL season. The 67’s rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win 4-3 over the Niagara IceDogs in regulation leaving the hometown crowd of 4,713 fans happy.
Another Dante Salituro goal - not sure if it's his second or third of the game.  He was a beast!

Leafs prospect, Carter Verhaeghe, opened the scoring after Jacob Middleton fanned on a pass attempt. Verhaeghe jumped on the loose puck and broke out down the ice shooting it glove side past 67’s netminder Liam Herbst. The shorthanded goal gave the IceDogs the 1-0 lead.

The 67’s would tie it up with Dante Salituro’s first goal of the night. Orleans native and IceDogs goaltender, Brent Moran, came up with a big save off a Travis Konecny shot, but Salituro there was waiting on the door step and tapped in the rebound.

The first period featured several great chances at both ends of the ice and both goaltenders had to make some great saves.

Bruins prospect, Cody Payne restored the IceDogs 1-goal lead after he received a long breakout pass from defenceman Vince Dunn on the powerplay. Payne had a clear breakaway and blasted the puck past Herbst on his stick side. It was a very similar goal to Verhaeghe’s in the first period. Both shooters skated straight down the middle until the last second and deked the goaltender to get him moving.

Matt Gillard would give the IceDogs a 2-goal lead after the 67’s get caught watching. The puck fed through a screened Herbst as the IceDogs lead 3-1 midway through the second.

Head coach, Jeff Brown, called a timeout immediately after in an attempt to settle down his team; a potential turning point in the game.

“In my mind it was getting away from us, again. We played a pretty good first period and a couple bad bounces, a little adversity and our whole bench just died and I was like ‘here we go again’,” said Brown.

“I thought Travis Barron was out best player up until that timeout. I challenge our older guys; our 95's, our 94's, I mean how can a 98 be going out there and be our best player. It’s time. Are you guys not sick of losing?' We challenged them and I thought they responded.”

Late in the second period, Mitchell Fitzmorris laid out Barron with a clean hit along the boards. The hit was so big that it caused the glass to explode and Barron to stay down for a couple minutes. He had to be helped off the ice but returned later in the game.

“I didn't think there was actually anything wrong with the hit. It was just a good solid hockey play,” commented Brown. “He’s good, so that’s good and now we can laugh about it. He did have to completely shower after. That’s what took him so long [getting back on the ice].”

Maybe it was the timeout, maybe it was the big hit or maybe Travis Konecny was successful in helping turn things around during his first game as captain.  The 67’s would score three unanswered goals in the third period to defeat the IceDogs. Erik Bradford picked up his first of the season beating Moran on the backhand. Later in the third, Salituro would score the final two goals in just under two minutes apart including a highlight reel goal. He displayed his speed and acceleration blasting past three IceDogs players for the game winning goal and his first career hattrick goal.

Following the goal, both teams tightened up. Niagara didn’t give up and worked hard until the very end. A late powerplay (40 seconds remaining in the game) gave them hope but the 67’s would hang on to defeat the IceDogs for the very first win of the regular season and first win at TD Place.

“That third period, there was a lot of sacrifice. A lot of guys coming together and doing things for one another and it was a special thing to watch. We found a way to win tonight. Obviously, there's a lot that needs to be worked on, but you got to celebrate the victories in life. So that's what we're going to do tonight and get back at work tomorrow,” said a relieved coach Brown.

The 67’s are back at it again at TD Place on Sunday afternoon where they will face the first in the league Oshawa Generals (5-0-0-1) for already the second time this regular season. The matinee game will be a big test for the 67’s.

Coaches Corner:

On work ethic…
“I was telling the guys when you think you're working hard, work harder, it's never enough. My old coach Brian Sutter use to say how do you gauge 100% because nobody knows what your hundred percent really is. At the time, I was thinking ‘this guy is off his rocker a little bit’ but it makes sense now as a coach. You just have to always continue to push and push and when you think you're doing more, do more and keep going. Our guys just kind of pulled together tonight it was special, it was a special night.”

On Travis Konency’s first game as captain…
“[Konecny]'s a little frustrated out there, he had plenty of opportunities to score and he was kind of getting down on himself and he stuck with it and he led the way. He was on the ice at the end and that's the kind of guy he is. He's not just a scorer and when he's not scoring he's gotta be a good defender too and he was tonight. He blocked shots for us and his energy obviously led the way.

Blocked shots late in the game…
“We had more blocked shots in the last minute than we've had in seven games of pre-season. That's what it's all about. And I told the guys in the room, that ice bag on a block shot after a game, I miss that more than anything – the sacrifice that these guys made to be successful tonight.”

Game notes:
The IceDogs were without star winger Brendan Perlini … 67's are without Mike Vlajkov after aggravating his hip injury right before the regular season … Niagara went 1/6 on the powerplay while Ottawa went 0/4 … Salituro was named the games’ first star while Travis Konecny and Erik Bradford were named the second and third stars, respectively … Carter Verhaeghe of the IceDogs and Travis Barron of the 67’s get my honorable mentions … It was announced during the game that Brian Kilrea will be behind the bench  next Friday night as the 67’s take on the Steelheads for his 80th birthday. 

Three Stars:

Some pictures from the game:

I didn't hear who the hardest working 67's was so I'm picking Travis Barron.

Newcomer Artur Tyanulin

What your face might look like when a pane of hockey glass explodes all over you.
This is what it looks like when a pane of hockey glass explodes in your face.

Click here to see more pictures from the game.

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