67’s Sting Sarnia

By Jake Dole

Ottawa (5-2-2) vs Sarnia (6-6-1)

The Ottawa 67’s, fresh off a 4-4 tie with the Kingston Frontenacs, faced off against the Sarnia Sting on Friday, October the 19th. The 67’s welcomed back captain Zenon Konopka, coming off a 2-game suspension, for being the instigator in a scuffle in the October 7th match against the Barrie Colts.

Ottawa came in with a 6-game unbeaten streak, which was well earned, consisting of several come-from-behind wins and ties. On Tuesday, the 67’s scored two goals in the final 10 minutes of the game and the tying goal with 51 seconds remaining (by defenseman Brian Rodney). Ottawa collected a season-high 46 shots on Kingston’s Peter Hamerlik, a mark that would be broken in last night’s game.

17-year rookie Corey Locke remains out of the 67’s lineup with a separated shoulder. He will miss at least two more weeks.

The Sting have been busy lately making several transactions over the past week or so. On Friday, Sarnia acquired sophomore blueliner Brian Hayes from the Barrie Colts in exchange for an 11th rounder in the 2002 OHL Priority Selection.

Last Saturday, Sarnia traded defenseman Scott Heffernan to St. Mike’s for overager Matt Bannan and a 7th rounder.

Julius Halfkenny was later traded to the Wolves for the 10th round pick in the 2002 OHL Priority Selection on Saturday.

And finally, on the same day, the Sting acquired blueliner Josh Chambers from London, in return for a 10th rounder.

Sarnia came off a 6-4 loss to the Peterborough Petes on Thursday, as the star center Eric Himelfarb netted a couple of goals in a losing effort.

1st Period

Robert Gherson and and J.F. Perras faced off in the nets for the Sting and 67’s respectively. Gherson was in need of a solid outing, as he was coming in with sub-par stats, including a 5.03 Goals-Against Average and an .877 Save Percentage. Perras at the start of the game, led the league in Save Percentage with a .933 mark, with a sparkling 2.16 Goals Against.

Ottawa got off to quick, dominant start to the game, outshooting Sarnia 8-1 early on. However, Ottawa showed a bit of rust several times in the first period, which resulted in numerous turnovers. With Adam Smyth in the box for roughing, the Sting capitalized on the man advantage, with a goal from John Hacimovic, as he corralled a loose puck in front of the net.

Ottawa managed to collect 13 shots on Sarnia’s Gherson, but struggled to accomplish a lot of high-quality scoring chances, resulting in low-percentage shots on the Sting goalie.

The Hacimovic goal was the result of some sloppy defensive work in front of J.F. Perras. The goal was originally called courtesy of newcomer Bryan Hayes, but upon further review, it turned out that the puck went off an Ottawa player. Hayes was rewarded with an assist.

2nd Period

For the first 9 minutes, Ottawa came up empty on a number of quality scoring opportunities, largely in part to Gherson’s heads up play.

Finally at 10:41 of the period, Sean Scully sneaked in on the wing, unleashing a hard slap shot, beating Gherson high, glove side. The goal was No.7,700 under the coaching of Brian Kilrea and the 10,238th in the club’s history.

However, less than a minute later, the 67’s committed a costly turnover, unable to shoot the puck out of the zone, Ottawa allowed Eric Himelfarb to capitalize on the opportunity, giving Sarnia the lead once again.

Ottawa collected 18 shots in the period, but were unable to move the puck consistently in the Sting’ zone. Sloppy passing and low percentage shots haunted the 67’s, who looked nothing like a team on a 6-game unbeaten streak. However, several J.F. Perras timely saves kept Ottawa in the game, within only a goal.

3rd Period

For the first 5 minutes, Ottawa showed little progress in their game, but at the 15-minute mark of the period, Rodney Bauman broke in at the Sting’ net, unloading a slapshot at Robert Gherson who let out a juicy rebound. Matthew Albiani pounced on the loose puck and wristed a shot off Gherson’s glove and into the net to tie the score at 2.

At 13:54, Ottawa took the lead on a solid all-around effort on the powerplay. Brian Rodney made a beautiful fake at the Sting blueline, worked the puck past the defender and unloaded a hard shot at Gherson. Adam Chapman picked up the rebound in front of the net, netting the go-ahead goal.

However, with Rodney Bauman in the box for high sticking, the Sting tied the game, as sniper Kris Newbury one-timed the puck from the point that his Perras’ glove and landed in the net.

The tying goal seemed to pump up the Sting, who had several opportunities to take the lead late in the period. But a turnover in their own end cost Sarnia, as at 18:53 of the period, Karol Sloboda broke in undefended at Gherson, unloading a hard, accurate shot upstairs on the beleaguered Sarnia goalie, who had no chance to stop the puck. It was Ottawa’s 50th shot of the game.

Sloboda picked up his 3rd goal of the season. It was just the 9th OHL game for Karol, but he completed another hard-fought two-way effort. Sloboda came into the game with a team-leading +/- 10.

Final Score: Sarnia-3, Ottawa-4

Final Shots on Goal: Sarnia-30 (5, 13, 12); Ottawa-50 (13, 18, 19)

Goaltenders: Sarnia-Gherson (50 Shots, 46 Saves); Ottawa-Perras (30 Shots, 27 Saves).


1st SAR: Hacimovic (Stals, Hayes) PP
2nd OTT: Scully (Bell, Akeson)
2nd SAR: Himelfarb (Chambers, Stals)
3rd OTT: Albiani (Bauman, Savage)
3rd OTT: Chapman (Rodney, Delisle) PP
3rd SAR: Newbury (Bannan) PP
3rd OTT: Sloboda (Konopka, Bell)

Attendance: 9, 293

Three-Star Selections:

3rd Star: Brendan Bell – 2 Assists on the night for Bell. Played excellent two-way hockey; forechecked effectively, created scoring chances with great hustle and work ethic.

2001/2001 Stats: 9GP 0G 6A 6PTS

2nd Star: Robert Gherson – Sarnia goalie played to give starter Cory Campbell a rest, because the Sting played back-to-back games. Needed a solid outing and came up with a gem. Was spectacular start to finish and was not to blame for any of the 4 pucks that eluded him.
2001-2002 Stats: 7GP 394 Min 4.87 GAA

1st Star: Karol Sloboda – He and Bell were the difference makers in the game. Follows the puck extremely well and passed the puck with precision. His willingness to play in his own zone has translated into a +/- of 10.
9GP 3G 2A 5PTS

Honourable Mentions:

Sean Scully – Powerful slapshot and great hustle.

Eric Himelfarb – 3 goals in the last 2 games.

Matthew Albiani – Scored first goal of the year, yet is producing at a point-a-game pace.

Locker Room:

“It’s a game that could have went either way, and I’m happy it went out way, thanks to Karol, because he does work hard and this is a big award for him.
The worst thing is that on two of their goals, we were the last to have the puck before they scored. So we actually gave them two goals. So, we are not playing better in our end.
The Scully and McGrath line came alive; they played hard and had good shifts.” (Brian Kilrea, GM and Head Coach of the Ottawa 67’s)

The Ottawa 67’s play the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors on Saturday October 20th, and the Mississauga Ice Dogs on the following Sunday, which would wrap up a busy weekend for the squad. The 67’s next home game is on Friday, October 19th, at 7:30 Eastern time(Guy Lafleur will be in attendance).

Trade Update: The Guelph Storm have traded Charlie Stephens, the 2nd round pick in the 2002 OHL draft, as well as the 1st pick in next year’s CHL Import Draft to the London Knights in return for Aaron Lobb.

Hockey’s Future would lik
e to congratulate the 67’s Head Coach and General Manager Brian Kilrea with his 67’s birthday and wish him another outstanding season!