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Game 2 Review: BAR vs. OTT

by Alex Quevillon
In Game One, the Ottawa 67’s clearly got to goaltender Mathias Niederberger. In Game Two, a completely different story. The left side of the scoreboard at J. Benson Cartage Centre read the number “67” twice on Easter Sunday; once for the team’s nickname and again for the amount of shots they fired at Niederberger. The Colts netminder turned aside 65 of those, as Colin Behenna put the marathon to an end in Double Overtime, beating Petr Mrazek with a long slapshot. For his efforts in “stealing” Game Two, Ottawa fans have labelled the Barrie goalie “the Niederburglar”.

Scheifele’s The Player To Watch:

Barrie forward Mark Scheifele has been hands down the best player on the ice for either squad in these first two games; he’s also been a target for the 67’s. He isn’t trying to take that target off of his back, either. He went at it with the smallest 67, Brett Gustavsen, a couple times on Sunday. Scheifele has to watch it, though. As good as Gustavsen’s been for Ottawa, I don’t think any 67’s fans mind that trade off if he goes to the box for off-setting penalties with the former 7th overall pick of the Winnipeg Jets. Scheifele did, however, score the first goal of the game and served up the second on a platter for Ivan Telegin.

Empty Tank:

Generally, I locate myself behind the net for 67’s games to get the best view of the ice. However, with a big deal being made out of Barrie head coach Dale Hawerchuk and his bickering to try and get the fans behind him to quiet down, I followed the story within the story, sitting a couple of rows behind the Colts bench for Game two.

As much as it may have been irrelevant, and I wouldn’t have noticed this any other game, I noticed that the Barrie Colts didn’t sit on the bench for the entire first two periods. The first player took their seat at the 13-minute mark of the first, but it wasn’t until the third period and then overtime that the entire bench was no longer on their feet. Was this to avoid the raucous fans behind the visitor’s bench? Maybe. Needless to say, I didn’t think the Colts would have anything left in the tank by the third period. Sure enough, that’s when Ottawa mounted their comeback, tying the game at two on the power of goals from Jake Cardwell and Tyler Toffoli.

Black and Blue in Barrie:

Was discussing this game with a Barrie fan who was quoted as saying “going into overtime makes me wish we weren't missing about 200 points to injury”. As it turns out, those points missing from the Colts lineup didn’t stop them from getting a split in the Nation’s Capital, but they could benefit from a possible returnee tonight; Ryan O’Connor is expected to be a game time decision.

Still out of the Colts lineup: Tanner Pearson (91 points), Zach Hall (59 points), Greg Sutch (21 points)

Out of the 67’s lineup: John McFarland (28 points)

The Three C’s Step Up on D:

With the return of Marc-Anthony Zanetti and Daniel Broussard, along with the shuffling of Mike Vlajkov and Ryan Shipley, a lot of the focus has shifted away from Ottawa’s three best defencemen thus far in the postseason.

Michal Cajkovsky has been tasked as a shutdown guy and he has done his job to a tee. He’s all over Ivan Telegin and Mark Scheifele, the two guys who are clearly Barrie’s best forwards right now. Sean Callaghan looks steadier with every game gone by. And Cody Ceci’s play is turning heads, not only for fans, but for scouts – his great play of late was rewarded on Monday when the Central Scouting Bureau listed him as the sixth ranked North American-based skater for the upcoming 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Final Assessment:

The 67’s still looked like the more convincing team in the first two games, but that’s going to happen when Barrie’s missing their top point-getters both up front and on the back end. A possible solution to beating Niederberger? Re-uniting Prince-Monahan-Toffoli. These three score at will when together and in the only meeting against Barrie this year where those three played together, Ottawa put up a five-spot on the board before losing in Overtime. The key to that game? Tanner Pearson’s six-point night. And yes, for those keeping track, Pearson is out for the year.

The key for Niederberger is to keep his cool. He's going to stop a lot of pucks and he's still going to allow goals - that's how strong Ottawa's offence is. Belleville's Malcolm Subban looked frustrated by the end of Ottawa's first round series, Niederberger can't let that happen.

Another Intra-League Prediction:

Before the first round of the playoffs, I predicted that the 67’s would outlast their nearby QMJHL counterpart Gatineau Olympiques. Sure enough, I was right in assuming that, but as I explain in this article, it was a pretty safe bet to make. Now, I’m putting my money where my mouth is once again by predicting that another nearby team will be gone before the 67's; Kanata, Ontario's Ottawa Senators.

This prediction is a little more bold; the Senators don't play Game Four against the New York Rangers until April 18th, the day after Game Seven (if neccessary) between the 67's and Colts, so Ottawa's Junior team will have to win theiur series, that's how confident I am in the 67's this round. I'm calling 67's in 7 games, NY Rangers in 5 games.

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