For just the second time this season, the Ottawa 67’s met the Niagara IceDogs in Ontario Hockey League action. The game saw some oddities including a pair of strange goals, a pair of fights, and three of the four goal-scorers for the 67’s recording their second goal of the season. Apparently good things do come in pairs. In the end, a resilient 67’s squad came away with a 4-3 win in overtime.
Vinzenz Rohrer Goes From Zero to Hero
No one would have been feeling quite as bad as Vinznez Rohrer after the IceDogs’ third goal of the game. It was an unfortunate series of events that saw Rohrer toss the puck off the shoulder of his goaltender Max Donoso and into the net.
“For me, the first thought was for Donoso,” said Rohrer. “He plays an unbelievable game and I think he has a really good save percentage right now and the first thought was “oh my God, that’s too bad for him”. I think it’s just the way plays in hockey are. The first mistake from me was that I didn’t have enough poise with the puck. That’s hockey and you just have to recover from that.”
“I think it just gives you an extra boost. If you want to win a hockey game, especially after that, you gotta put that behind you and just do everything you can to get it back.”
For as bad as Rohrer would have felt in the immediate aftermath of the goal, it wouldn’t be the defining moment of the game for him. The 67’s managed to get the game to overtime where Rohrer sniped the game-winning goal just under the glove of Josh Rosenweig, earning the praise of his head coach.
“He’s real competitive and like a lot of guys who are competitive and real good players, they think they can do something every shift and that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” said head coach Dave Cameron. “Sometimes your biggest strength can be a weakness too. You’re trying to force things that aren’t there.”
Related: 67’s Collapse In Loss To Petes
“I have a lot of respect for the Europeans who come over here just because they are leaving their family, they are leaving their country. Vinni is a little bit lucky because he speaks the language and he was here a few summers ago, so we kinda had a little time, but it’s not easy on these guys.”
A mistake the size of the one Rohrer made in the second period won’t go under the radar in the dressing room, especially considering it didn’t end up costing his team the game. He will be hearing about it for the rest of the season, but Rohrer seems to see the lighter side in it.
“In the second period, it was good that they didn’t say anything and I went into the locker room to calm down a bit,” said Rohrer. “After the game, it was kind of a safe zone, so they chirped me a little bit. ‘Oh, you scored two goals today,’ but it was funny because we won.”
67’s Fight Back
The 67’s found themselves in a tight battle with the IceDogs on Friday night. The young roster faced the ups and downs of the game and coped with it much better than they did in Peterborough on Thursday night. They created their own issues in this game, but to their credit, they created their own luck at the other end of the ice as well.
“It’s unfortunate that we dug ourselves a hole,” said Cameron. “We gift-wrapped a few goals for them and that’s a recipe for disaster. We’re doing a lot of good things. What our young club is learning is that it’s a 60-minute game, or in tonight’s case, 65, but you have to stick with it. You can’t play the score, you just have to stick with it and you know that there are going to be momentum switches in the games.”
Having the resolve to come back after a demoralizing goal against such as the one Rohrer put into his own net is no easy task. It’s easy to get down on yourself and be unable to pick yourself back up, but that wasn’t an issue for Ottawa on the night. They got back to work and came away with two points.
“I had a situation that was unlucky for me and I just thought to make the best out of it,” Rohrer said. “I just wanted, maybe not a goal to bring us back, but just make the right plays and be the best player you can. Forget what happened in the second period.”
Chris Barlas Nearing First Goal
With his play in the past handful of games, Chris Barlas has earned himself some more ice time, sucking up key minutes with Luca Pinelli suspended for two games. He scored his first point in the loss in Peterborough on Thursday, but he continues to search for that first goal. Regardless, Cameron has been happy with what he has been seeing in the past couple of games in particular.
“We moved him up last night because he’s playing the right way,” said Cameron. “You don’t evaluate your game on offence. You have to play tight, if you’re playing centre, you have to be in the middle of the ice. You can’t be turning pucks over. When he’s playing the right way, he’ll be happy with his ice time and if he gets away from that or starts cheating, then he won’t be happy with his ice time.”
“Good hockey player, really competitive kid. I really like his attitude and stuff like that, now he’s just gotta realize that this is a pretty good league and he has to know how to play the right way. I give him credit, he’s figuring that out.”
It’s not just Cameron who’s happy with how things have been going. Barlas himself is feeling good and looking to continue making strides the rest of the season.
“I’m feeling really good, especially after the win today,” said Barlas. “It was really good to come back after yesterday’s tough loss and come out with a big win. I’m feeling good. It was good to get the monkey off my back with the one point, but now I just gotta keep going and keep playing the right way.”
As for that goal, Barlas feels as if it’s close.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “I feel like I’m getting the chances but I just gotta bear down on the stick and put it in the net.
Brenden Sirizzotti Returns To Ottawa
For the first time since being traded to the IceDogs just before the Trade Deadline, Brenden Sirizzotti suited up against his former team. The return was a bit of an interesting one with Sirizzotti being credited for the IceDogs third goal, the one Rohrer threw into his own net.
That was the first goal Sirizzotti scored in his new digs, but it’s certainly not the goal he would have imagined. Since the trade, he has been very good for the IceDogs, sitting with four points in four games. It seems like he’s starting to reach his potential and it’s clear that the change of scenery has been a positive for him.
Big Test Coming
After playing the Petes and IceDogs to open the weekend, the 67’s next test will ramp up in intensity. The Hamilton Bulldogs will come to town on Saturday afternoon, and while the status of newly-acquired Mason McTavish is still in question, there is still plenty to be cautious of with the Memorial Cup contenders.