Ottawa 67s Memorial Cup review

By Jason Ahrens

The Ottawa 67s entered the Memorial Cup as distinct underdogs, but went out and won their first game 3-2 in double overtime against the Kelowna Rockets. They then lost 4-3 to the Rimouski Oceanic after nearly tying the game up in the third period after being down by two goals. They played the last game of the round robin and had a chance to advance straight to the finals if they could beat London by two or more goals, but after scoring the first goal, they saw London roar back with four straight goals en route to a 5-2 win.

The loss put the 67s into the semi-final against the Rimouski Oceanic and once again they were down by two goals in the third and were making a comeback before they were hit with a questionable penalty that the Oceanic capitalized on and they went on to win 7-4 led by a five-point night by phenom Sidney Crosby.

Below is a recap of how their drafted and draft eligible players performed.

Jakub Petruzalek (NYR) The small and speedy Czech was hurt early in Ottawa’s first game after an awkward collision in the corner. He never returned to the tournament and it was a big loss for the 67s.

Lukas Kaspar (SJ) The forward was basically ghostlike after his center Petruzalek went down early in the first game. Kaspar created next to no offense in even strength situations and finished with one goal and three assists. He played the right point on power plays and had trouble with his breakout passing. Many of his shots from the point were blocked or missed the net. Kaspar had a great opportunity to tie up the semi-final game when he picked off a poor clearing attempt and walked in all alone, but instead of shooting when on his forehand he waited too long and was forced to his backhand and only got a weak shot away. It was on this play that Ottawa took the debatable penalty that changed the flow of the game.

Mark Mancari (BUF) The big power forward finished with two goals and one assist in the tournament. Mancari scored a big shorthanded goal against Kelowna on a two-on-one break. He scored a nice power play goal against London on a beautiful one time shot from the slot. He was constantly involved in post-whistle discussions with opposing players and the referee. Mancari threw a few hits, but he wasn’t overly physical for a man his size. His line didn’t create many chances when at even strength. He spent his share of time in front of the net setting up screens but had bad luck as a few of his tips just missed going in.

Bryan Bickell (CHI) The big left winger played on a line with Mancari and had some beautiful hits, especially in the first period against Rimouski. The problem with Bickell is that he didn’t keep consistently hitting. In every game he would throw a few big ones, but there would be long stretches in which he wouldn’t be noticed. He ended up with only one assist and didn’t get his hard wrist shot away much and wasn’t able to penetrate when he carried the puck into the offensive end.

Will Colbert (OTT) The captain of the 67s played a good tournament in the back end and ended up with two assists. He did a good job in front of the net and didn’t turn the puck over much.

2005 draft eligible players

Derek Joslin was Colbert’s defense partner and played through an injury to his wrist that seemed to affect his play. He had trouble with his man-to-man play and was beaten to the outside several times in the tournament. He had a few turnovers and had some shots blocked but the wrist may have been a factor in that. Joslin is a good skater but he may have been a bit nervous in this setting and didn’t play his normal game.

Danny Battochio stole the first game for the 67s making 62 saves, many on them on quality shots from good scoring areas. He only allowed two goals in that game, when the Rockets could probably have scored around six if it wasn’t for his quick reflexes. He played a good game against Rimouski but stumbled a bit against the Knights. He didn’t have a good semi-final game against Rimouski and finished with a goals against average of 3.93 and a save percentage of .907. The 19-year-old was passed over last year in his first year of draft eligibility as he suffered a serious brain aneurysm that was life-threatening and left him on the sidelines for most of the year. A small goalie at 5’10, he is extremely quick in close and goes post to post very well. He seems to struggle a bit with long shots. In a draft that isn’t that strong for goalies, his strong playoff run will likely move him up a few spots.

2006 draft eligible players

Jamie McGinn had a fantastic tournament for the 67s. The 16-year-old left winger picked up three goals and one assist and played physical every game. He goes to the front of the net and battles for pucks everywhere on the ice. He made a number of nice passes and showed a lot of hustle and hockey sense. The third round pick of the 67s made a great transition this year from Minor Midget to the OHL and stands a very good chance of being a first round pick in 2006.

2007 draft eligible players

Arron Alphonso is another 16-year-old rookie forward on the 67s who patrolled the right side on the fourth line. A late birthday, he is not eligible until the 2007 draft and is a hard-nosed winger who will throw his weight around. He hasn’t shown a lot of offensive upside so far, but competes hard, will finish his checks, drop the gloves when called upon and is known for his great physical fitness. He played a lot of minutes in this tournament as Ottawa used their fourth line more than any other team. With the injury to Petruzalek and the struggles that some of the veteran forwards were having, Alphonso picked up extra minutes. He drew the penalty that led to the game-winning goal against Kelowna. On his best scoring chance of the tournament he sent a rebound just wide of an open net while driving the net on a sharp angle.

Graduating players

Overage forwards Jeremy Akeson and Brad Bonello will be leaving the OHL as well as defenseman Brad Staubitz who was probably the best defenseman on Ottawa in the tournament and in their entire playoff run.

Mancari, Colbert, Battochio, and Petruzalek could all move on to pro hockey next year, depending on what happens over the summer with the CBA. Forwards Chris Hulit and Julian Talbot are likely overage candidates and defenseman Nick Van Herpt may get a shot depending on what the 67s blue line looks like. Ottawa looks to be in good shape for next year and should be able to have three key overage players return and be able to trade any extras for draft picks.

Copyright 2005 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.