September 25, 2011
67's light up Frontenacs
By AEDAN HELMER, QMI Agency
Fans could be forgiven for wondering where the offence would come from with the 67's top snipers Ryan Martindale and Tyler Toffoli still away at NHL camps and Shane Prince out of the lineup with a knee injury.
Those questions were answered in a hurry Sunday afternoon as the 67's lit up the Kingston Frontenacs for five first-period goals and cruised to a 6-2 win in front of 3,738 fans.
Kingston coach Todd Gill, who moved up from the Tier 1 Central Hockey League's Brockville Braves to take over bench duties from Doug Gilmour, called it "our worst period of hockey, including exhibition," after also dropping Friday's season opener 5-1 to Oshawa.
"There's going through tough times and then there's not being prepared to play," said Gill. "We gave the guys (Saturday) off to rest, and I'm not sure if they thought about hockey at all, becuase obviously we weren't prepared ... You're not going to have your 'A' game every night, but the one thing you can control is your work ethic, and our wasn't even close to being good enough. I don't think too many guys can look in the mirror and say (they) gave 100% today."
The addition of Kanata's Ryan Spooner -- returned earlier than expected by the Boston Bruins -- did little to improve the Frontenacs' fortunes, as the visitors were outshot 17-3 in the opening period.
"I thought with the addition of Spooner to the lineup we'd get a boost, but give Ottawa credit, they came at us and they came at us hard, and we didn't stop them," said Gill.
"I just told him, look what you've got to look forward to -- the world juniors, and who knows what's going to happen at the deadline, there may be an opportunity to take a shot at a Memorial Cup. But he's got to come back and lead this team to make those things happen for him.
"He's a proud guy, but he's going to get over the letdown of being sent back and he's going to try to be the best junior player in Canada."
Marc Zanetti got the ball rolling for the 67's, hammering a Sean Monahan rebound past goalie Igor Bobkov at 9:14 of the first.
Monahan then stripped Spooner of the puck inside the Ottawa blueline and steamrolled his way up the middle, dishing off to linemate Ryan Van Stralen and firing the return feed high glove side at 13:03.
As that goal was being announced, Tyler Graovac made it 3-0, snapping a low shot from the left faceoff circle.
Thirty seconds later, it was Brett Gustavsen's turn on a mirror-image play, snapping a low shot from the right circle past a frustrated Bobkov.
Remy Giftopolous was the beneficiary of some strong physical play from Steven Janes on the 5-0 goal, as the big winger gained the zone and was met by both Warren Steele and 6-foot-3, 198-pound centre David Mazurek. Both Frontenacs ended up flat on their backs, while Janes worked the puck deep and Giftopolous finished the play.
"We came out and executed, and we did a good job of working hard early on," said Ottawa coach Chris Byrne. "It's nice to see the offence spread out. Over the two games we've had a lot of different guys scoring, the defence is scoring, it's a good sign for us."
Kingston got on the board with Steele picking up a bank pass on his way out of the penalty box and beating Petr Mrazek, and Derek Froats flipped a loose puck over the 67's goaltender on a scramble play.
"I said in the (intermission) we've got to go out and win this period, we left our goalie out to dry," said Gill. "I thought we had a decent period until we took a couple dumb penalties and lost all momentum."
Monahan, with his second of the game, capped the scoring after Ceci stripped Spooner and skated in on a 2-on-1.
Byrne wasn't one to gloat.
"Those games happen to everybody," he said. "There's always going to be tough periods and tough games in a season. We got off to a good start, but somewhere along the way, we'll end up having a period like that."
NOTES: Prince (knee) is expected to be out of the lineup for next weekend's road trip, but could return in time for the next home game, Oct. 7 against the Peterborough Petes... Toffoli could be returned by the Kings this week.