By Jared Crozier, SenShot
With points in five straight games and entering on a roll, the Ottawa 67's began a stretch of 7 of 8 games at home over the next 15 days with a loss to archrival Kingston Tuesday night. Tyler Graovac's pair of first period goals (his league leading 17th & 18th) were not enough as Kingston scored 7 times on 33 shots to win the game 7-4. Kingston moved two points ahead of Ottawa for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with the win.
An early rebound kicked into the slot by Keegan Wilson right onto the stick of Ryan Kujawinski got Kingston on the board early, just a minute and a half into the game. On the game's first power play, who else but Graovac would score the equalizer as the Minnesota prospect continued his sizzling start, putting a rebound past Mike Morrison. A couple of minutes later he was at it again as Graovac corralled a loose puck outside the crease and flipped it through traffic past Morrison to give the 67's the lead. Wilson got beat on a relatively easy shot from a bad angle off the stick of Mitchell Fitzmorris with 2:15 left to let the Frontenacs get to the dressing room even at 2. It could have been worse as the 67's played a little loose with the puck in their own end in the waning moments of the period.
It took over 8 minutes to get a goal in the 2nd, and it was a power play marker by Cody Alcock that moved the Frontenacs up by a goal as the see-saw battle continued. Sean Callaghan got beat by a nifty move at his own blue line and Warren Steele made him pay, wristing a shot past Wilson to extend the lead to 4-2 just past the halfway point. An undisciplined penalty by Jonathan Duchesne gave Kingston another power play, which they again capitalized on when Mikko Vainonen's long wrist shot got through a maze of bodies and was tipped by Trevor Morebeck past a startled Wilson to extend the Kingston lead to three. Ottawa got one back quickly, with rookie Andrew Abou-Assaly knocking home a loose puck for his first OHL goal.
Mike Cajkovsky brought Ottawa within a goal with a long point shot and it was a game again with almost 14 minutes remaining. However, Spencer Watson had the insurance goal with just over 4 minutes remaining to seal the deal for the Frontenacs, continuing his trend of being a difference maker against Ottawa. Marc Beckstead capped it off with an empty netter for the 7-4 final.
OBSERVATIONS & MUSINGS
Jacob Blair played the 3rd period for the 67's, as Wilson got the hook. Not sure if he got nicked during the second, as Ottawa continues to be their own worst enemy when it comes to knocking opponents into their own goalie. Or it could have been allowing 5 goals on 25 shots.
The 67's played a shift at the midway point of the third period with 5 defensemen on the ice as the Barber Poles were forced to dress 9 natural blueliners due to injuries up front.
Abou-Assaly played the best game I have seen from him in his rookie season, his goal notwithstanding. He showed some jump and agression on the forecheck. He was rewarded with quality minutes down the stretch on a line with Graovac and Taylor Fielding.