March 24, 2016

67's lose a nail bitter 5-4 in regulation to the IceDogs

‘Let Them See Red’ is Niagara’s playoff slogan but it was also the slogan for refs in the opening game of the series. The Ottawa 67’s and Niagara IceDogs found themselves playing 28:48 of the first 40 minutes with the man advantage between the two of them. Vince Dunn scored the eventual game winner on the power play just one minute into the third period to lead his IceDogs to a 5-4 regulation victory over the 67’s.

It one of the most bizarre starts to an OHL series as the 67’s scored on their own net just 1:25 into the game. With Leo Lazarev on his way to the bench from a delayed penalty call, Adam Craievich sent a no-look pass behind him from centre ice that ended up in the back of the net. The 67’s would not score on the ensuing power play but Nathan Todd would wire one on their next power play opportunity of the game.

There were 5 consecutive power plays for Ottawa in the first period but were only able to connect on that first goal. Specialty teams proved to be important for both teams tonight as the 67’s went 3 for 8 on the power play and the IceDogs went 2 for 5. The officiating tightened up in the third period with only two power plays awarded in the final frame.

The 67’s found themselves chasing the IceDogs all night matching them with each goal scored until the eventual game winner one minute into the third giving the IceDogs the first two-goal lead of the game. Ottawa had a hard time gaining any pressure in the third period as Niagara’s defense did a great job of clogging lanes and limiting zone entries. It wasn’t until 12:35 into the period that Ottawa would get a shot on net.

But a late power play gave the 67’s a great opportunity to gain some momentum. After hitting the post, Jeremiah Addison connected on the next rush from a nice pass by Artur Tyanulin. The goal gave the 67’s some more life as they battled until the final seconds. Despite the extra attacker, Alex Nedeljkovic and the Niagara IceDogs were able to hang on to their 1-goal lead and took game 1 of the series.

Nathan Todd and Jeremiah Addison each had a goal and two assists for Ottawa while Joshua Ho-Sang had three primary assists for Niagara. Addison now has 7 goals and 6 assists through 7 playoff games against Niagara. Meanwhile Ho-Sang has 1 goal 12 assists through 7 playoff games against Ottawa.

Next game goes Saturday night in Niagara before the series shifts to Ottawa on Monday afternoon.

·         It was hard for either team to really gain momentum due to the several penalties in the first 40 minutes. Players had a hard time knowing what was and wasn’t a penalty.
·         67’s will need to be better in the faceoff circle winning on 38.6% of the draws on the night.
·         Silverlining is that the 67’s found multiple ways to score on Alex Nedeljkovic. It’s the defence that they need to tighten up.
·         67’s will need to continue to work on their power play as they have had to all season. Not capitalizing on their opportunities hurt them in the end however 3 of 8 is much better than 0 of 8.
·         Niagara continues to drive hard to the net. More protection is needed for Lazarev.
·         Watch Josh Ho-Sang, his playmaking skills and vision are some of the best in the league. He is lethal at many ends of the ice including behind the net (where he had two assists tonight).

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