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Game 4/5 Review BAR vs. OTT

by Alex Quevillon
Last time I wrote about the second-round playoff matchup between the Barrie Colts and Ottawa 67's, Barrie had taken a one-game lead. Now, that's still the case, although the Colts have pushed Ottawa to the brink of elimination, winning Game Five 3-2 before the 67's won on Friday night, keeping their season alive with a 2-1 win.

With the Niagara Ice Dogs sweeping the Brampton Battalion in the other Eastern Conference Semi Final, the stage is set for whoever comes out of this one. For Barrie, perhaps the potential third-round opponent adds even more inspiration to close this out. They'd be enough of a feel-good story having gone from dead last in the league to the Conference Finals in just a year, imagine if they had the chance to stick it to their old bench boss Marty Williamson while they were at it. At the same time, 67's fans are hoping they haven't seen the last game in the classic Ottawa Civic Center, with the team slated to move to Kanata, Ontario next season.

Longshots Destroying 67's:

Same song and dance. For whatever reason, as well as Petr Mrazek's played in allowing only four goals in the last two games, he seems to have an issue with the longshots. The most deflating goal from far out came 20 seconds into the third period of Game Four, a quick wrister from Aaron Ekblad that should have easily been handled. Last night, he only allowed one goal, off the stick of Daniel Erlich from just inside the line.

It would appear that Ottawa's defencive tactic of sitting back and giving the other team the shot by keeping them to the perimeter simply isn't working. In fact, it hasn't been working for a long time in the Nation's Capital. Sean Callaghan (+1) and Michal Cajkovsky (+5) lead the team in playoff +/- in the postseason and are the two guys on the back end who constantly try to stand the opposition up at the blueline and use their long reach to deflect perimeter shots - perhaps the rest of the team should follow suit.

Goaltender Interference?

The winning goal on Friday night caused a bit of an uproar for Colts fans. After being pushed on top of Barrie netminder Mathias Niederberger, Dalton Smith remained there as Tyler Toffoli slid home a rebound in the final ten seconds of the middle frame. Niederberger, once again, refused to come onto the ice when presented with one of the three stars. Frustration? Nobody's really sure.

Swap Smith & Prince?

Aside from the controversial role he played for the winning goal, Dalton Smith hasn't been the best fit for Ottawa's top line. Meanwhile, Shane Prince continues to draw criticism from 67's supporters, being held off the scoresheet and becoming a -5 on the series. Perhaps it's time to re-unite Prince with Toffoli and Sean Monahan.

Stars Getting Physical:

These past two games never saw the gloves come off, but a number of heated scrums broke out. I'm not sure which team favours this matchup - the OHL's leading playoff goalscorer (tied with Kitchener's Tobias Rieder) in Toffoli? Or the best player in this series, Barrie's Mark Scheifele. The two were tangled up for a good minute after the final buzzer on Friday night, setting a physical tone for Sunday.

Final Word:

What a difference a week can make. Seven days ago, Ottawa was fresh off a Game One win. Now, they need another strong performance just to keep the season alive. In order to stay alive, the 67's will need to overcome their poor road record in this postseason. But, remember, their only road win of the playoffs did come in the last Game Six they played. It's Junior Hockey at it's best, and anything can happen.

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