Entries in Tyler Graovac (17)


Belleville Bulls - Week 23 Review

by Phil Phillips (@filphillips)


How can something so good, turn sour so fast ?  That's a question the Belleville Bulls have to be asking themselves.  After setting a franchise best record for the month of February going 11-1 and stringing together a 10 game winning streak, that seen the Bulls shut out Mississauga, Barrie and Brampton along with victories over three division rivals.  They beat some opponent below them is the standings and finished the Western Conference portion of the schedule with a record of 16-2-2 after defeating the Erie Otters. Belleville scored 58 goals in February the most they have scored in any month this season.  

March hasn't started so nice,  I guess you could say it came in like a lion with the Bulls dropping back to back games.  It started with a 3-1 loss in Kingston on March 1st ending their longest overall winning streak in 5 years,  followed by a home ice 5-4 OT loss to Niagara the next night, that ended an 11 game winning streak at the Yardman Arena.

Don't get me wrong,  its not all doom and gloom in Hastings County. With a record of 39-15-4-3 in 61 games played,  the Belleville Bulls are in first place in the Eastern Conference with 85 points,  where the Bulls have a 3 point lead on the Central Division leading Barrie Colts with one game in hand.  Their lead in the East Division is by 5 points with 2 games in hand over the Oshawa Generals, who aren't going away.  The Motor City Crew has gone 8-2-0-0 in there last 10 and are on a 5 game winning streak of their own. 

Coach Burnett summed up the weekend telling the Intell that "Most of what happened was because we were in reaction mode, not initiation mode. The bench boss went on to talk about what his club learned saying "that we're not as good as we thought we were.  We learned we've got a lot of work to do."

Friday night in Kingston, the Frontenacs brought a real strong fore check.  The 1st period was kinda of slow but the Bulls managed to score first.  Tyler Graovac scored his 36th from Jordan Subban at 14:17 of the opening frame.  Kingston really came on strong in the second and third.  Giving Belleville all they could handle out shooting the Bulls in the game 36-24.  The Fronts out worked the Bulls the rest of the way.  Kingston won all the battles and races for loose pucks.  

In a lot of ways and by a lot I mean mostly all ways that goal was it for Belleville.  Malcolm Subban was ok and wasn't the reason Belleville lost making 33 saves.  The penalty kill was strong for both teams and both teams kept their collective cool, with each team only taking 2 minors.

Kingston got goals from Dylan Diprema,  Sam Povorozniouk and Sam Bennett.  Mike Morrison wasn't really tested all that hard but was good when he had to be making 23 saves.

The Kingston game was hard to lose, because its a loss to Kingston.  Anyone worth their weight in Limestone knows that Belleville wants to beat Kingston as bad as Kingston wants to beat Belleville. Saying that, this weeks the lose to Niagara is maybe a little harder to take.  Belleville had every opportunity to win this game and for a number of reasons it just didn't happen.

One thing for sure is this game had a little more edge to it.  Not that there was fights because there wasn't  and both teams took 16 minutes in penalties and both killed 5 penalties, so really no harm no foul as far as power plays go.  But our old friend Mack Lemmon was very physical and since his trade to the Icedogs always seems to reintroduce self in an emotional way.  Mack's hits vs Belleville have real meaning and he wants to show The Bulls staff that they made a mistake.  Its easy to see why he's a fan favorite in Niagara.

Brett Ritchie scored his 35th in the first for the Icedogs and Aaron Berisha tied the game in the second with his 10th.

Starting the 3rd with game tied 1-1.  Belleville took the dreaded 2 goal lead on goals from Carter Sandlak (8) and Austen Brassard (14).  But at 16:20 Brett Ritchie scored his 36th of the season and 2nd of the night shorthanded and it fired up the Niagara bench.  Carter Verhaeghe tied the game at 17:04 and Steven Shipley gave the visitors a 4-3 lead, their 1st of the game at 19:09 of the third.  But low and behold with the 2955 fans at the Yardman on their feet and some headed for the exits,  Alan Quine bagged his 20th to tie the game at 19:55 of the third.

By the time OT started must had finished celebrating and seen the teams play almost to the shot out but with 4 seconds left Verhaeghe beat a sprawling Charlie Graham with his 2nd of the game to give the Icedogs a 5-4 victory.

After the loss Coach Burnett wasn't pleased with the choices the Bulls were making and saying that the whole scenario might have been avoided had the power play unit protected the puck better, telling Paul Svoboda that "I didn't like our choices, we didn't need another goal.  All we needed to do was keep the puck.  We tried to do something that wasn't necessary" He didn't single anyone out, but just stated that there was plenty of responsibility to go around.  The players know what happened with Austen Brassard stating that "We're scoring okay, but defensively we've got to get back to those things that made us successful".  Bulls host the Ottawa 67's on Wednesday night and hit the road for the next three, playing in Sudbury Friday night, in Barrie on Saturday and Kingston on Monday.

Notes: What made the Bulls winning streak even more impressive is the bodies that have been out of the line up.  OA Jake Cardwell missed 10 games and Carter Sandlak missed 2 games, both sat out due to suspension .  OA Stephen Silas has missed the last 5 games and is now out indefinitely with a concussion and both Michael Curtis (knee) and 1st round draft pick Niki Petti (elbow) have missed the last 7 games.   These are big holes to fill,  anytime you lose two OA defense men its a lot of minutes for other guys to eat,  even more so because of how little the Bulls staff uses Daniel De Sousa, its a lot of ice time for really only four guys to play.  Austen Brassard filled in the best he could, but his body is needed in the forward ranks.  With Michael Curtis out of the lineup, the Bulls are without maybe the OHL's strongest penalty killer.  We all know that when injuries happen, it opens jobs for guys to step up and that young guys gotta play and yada ,yada, but at this stage in the season and with the Bulls looking to make a push for a league championship, you need all hands on deck.  You need your best players,  this season in Belleville is about learning,   Jr hockey is always about learning the game, but this group is looking to prove that most are ready to move on to the next level and show what they have learned.  Everyone on this team has accepted their role knowing that this is a real chance to do something special, but its tough for any squad to lose the type of players and roles that Silas and Curtis fill specifically.  It says here that everything will be fine and that Belleville is a deep team and will move forward without missing a beat but everything is always easier said then done.




Ottawa 67's - Week 13 Review

by Alex Quevillon (@A_Quevillon)

The Ottawa 67's were able to split their final weekend before the Christmas break, beating the Peterborough Petes to put them in last place in the East before losing to the Oshawa Generals, who moved into first in the conference.

Friday:  Ottawa 5, Peterborough 2

Sunday:  Ottawa 3, Oshawa 4

Friday night may not have been the largest announced attendance of the season, but it was certainly the most boisterous.  Minor Hockey night brought out a young and loud crowd of over 10,000.

The home side didn't get off to the best start, heading into the dressing room down 1-0 after 20 minutes.  The lone highlight of the opening frame, with the highlight of the period coming by way of a Brendan Bell fight with Chase Hatcher.

Cody Ceci and Dante Salituro each scored their eighth goals of the year in the second, and Bell and Taylor Fielding each tallied early in the third to chase Michael Guigovaz and give Ottawa a 4-1 lead. 

Nick Ritchie and Sean Monahan, who was playing in his first game back from suspension, traded goals.

On Sunday, the Barberpoles were unable to take advantage of a very depleted Oshawa lineup.  Even without the likes of Boone Jenner, Tyler Biggs and Lucas Lessio, Oshawa handed Ottawa their 20th loss of the year when trailing after two.  The 67's haven't won yet this season while down after 40 minutes.

Remy Giftopoulos opened the scoring for Ottawa, but the visitors' lack of discipline finally caught up to them, as Chris Carlisle tied the game on the powerplay before the opening frame was out.  Cole Cassels and Scott Sabourin each scored in the second to give the Gens a two-goal cushion.

Ottawa was able to stay out of the penalty box and catch up to Oshawa in the third period.  Bell scored on a breakaway and Giftopoulos added his second of the game at the midway point of the third, but Cassels would add his own second of the night to give the Generals the win.

With the trade freeze coming, it doesn't appear as though the 67's will make any moves until January.  Chris Byrne, however, helped spark a number of trade rumours when he and his staff were in attendance for the Barrie Colts home game against Plymouth on Saturday. 

It's believed that Ottawa is looking for a 2012-first round draft choice as the base for a deal that would involved Cody Ceci, while a deal for Tyler Graovac would have to start with a young player who can step into the lineup right away. 


Ottawa 67's - Week 12 Review

by Alex Quevillon (@A_Quevillon)

The 67's may be getting their 1-2 scoring punch down the middle back after their two representatives Tyler Graovac and Sean Monahan were cut from Team Canada, but that does little to ease the pain of a team that was only able to muster up three regulation goals in four games this past week.

Thursday night in Niagara, in what was believed by some to be Ryan Strome and Dougie Hamilton's "last games as IceDogs", the two stars stole the show in a 9-0 blowout.  Ottawa never had a fighting chance.  With two Jr. B callups in Alex Morgan and Doug Harvey joining the lineup that day, the team looked disorganized all night.

Strome had two goals and an assist, while Hamilton had one of each, helping the home side chase Clint WindsorChris Festarini had to make 27 saves, most of which from long range, for the shutout.

The 67's won't reap the benefits of a weakened Niagara team, either.  They won't play them again after Strome and Hamilton leave, if they do.  Furthermore, if those two get traded, it drives down the value of Graovac and Cody Ceci respectively.

Friday night's effort wasn't any better in a battle between the two conference's bottom-feeders.  Once again, the starting netminder was pullled, this time Jacob Blair left the net in favour of Windsor.

Erie jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Ottawa finally got on the board.  Dante Salituro got the marker, continuing to be a bright spot on this struggling team.

The Barberpoles finally caught a break on Sunday, playing against a Kitchener team that hadn't beat the 67's since January of 2007, and had as many injuries as them.

Steven Janes had the lone goal in regulation, while Ceci and Salituro scored in the shootout to win the game 2-1.

Wednesday, the 67's news went from bad to worse.  While the Belleville Bulls were coasting to a 2-0 win in Ottawa, it was also announced that Graovac and Monahan had been cut from Team Canada.

Head coach Chris Byrne played down the news.  "I have enough to worry about here, I just finished coaching a game and I'm not concerned with what Hockey Canada does."

The Bulls played a low-key style, and Ottawa didn't seem to have any urgency either.  The 46-15 shot total was a testament to Belleville's dominant play and Clint Windsor's ability to stand tall and hold his team in it.

With the 67's lack of production, Byrne hopes that the return of his top two centers can bring some more firepower.  "We've lacked offencive punch, and those two guys bring a lot of offence."

Janes was injured in practice on Tuesday, while Brett Gustavsen was injured from a low hit in the Niagara game.  Both players have confirmed that they will be out until after Christmas. 

Monahan has served the last of his ten-game suspension and will be in the lineup on Friday when the 67's take on the Petes.


Ottawa 67's - Week 11 Review

by Alex Quevillon (@A_Quevillon)

At the start of this nine-game road swing, 67's were hoping that it was just what the doctor had ordered, that a solid stint away from 'home' would help the team turn it around.  Now, those are the same fans hoping that Sean Day gets exceptional status into the 2013 OHL Draft.

Now, rock bottom seems to have been hit for this Barberpoles squad that sits at 7-20-0-3 and at are only two points out of last place (Peterborough also has a game in hand. 

Tyler Graovac and Sean Monahan will be heading to Canada's Under-20 Camp later in the month, although one has to wonder what will hurt this team more; losing their top two centers, or how deflated Cody Ceci may be after he wasn't invited to tryouts.

Either way, the 67's have played the majority of this road swing without Monahan and Graovac.  If there has been one positive for this team, it's been rookie Dante Salituro, and his ability to step in as the top-line center and perform.

Salituro had the lone goal on Friday night in a deflating 4-1 loss to Plymouth on Friday, and also added a pair of markers on Saturday in Saginaw.

He opened the scoring against the Spirit, but by the time he had his second of the game, the home side had put up a ten-spot on the 67's. 

Brendan Bell also had his first as a 67 after Salituro's opening marker before Saginaw scored ten consecutive goals, chasing ex-Spirit Clint Windsor despite his great effort.

Ex-67 David Perklin also kicked off a late-game incident, being kicked out of the game for the second time in as many games vs Ottawa this season. 

Taylor Davis, already shaken up after Friday's game, was driven head-long into the boards by Perklin before a scrum ensued.

Mike Vlajkov also sat out the last two games of the weekend with an injury, while Daniel Walsh and Brett Gustavsen continued to nurse their respective ailments. 

Graovac was a -6 on Saturday night, and it turns out he wasn't fully recovered from his groin injury. 

Ottawa managed to garner a much-needed and well-deserved point in Windsor on Sunday afternoon, despite being outshot by a 2:1 mariging yet again.  Taylor Fielding had the lone 67's goal after Chris Marchese kicked off Windsor's Teddy Bear Toss. 

The game headed to a shootout, which was probably the best chance a tired and undermanned 67's team had to pull out a win, but Marchese, Kerby Rychel and Brady Vail each scored, all three goals identical to one another, on Jacob Blair to give the home side a win.

If this is how the 67's continue to play without their two top centers, it's a real reason for concern with Canada's camp coming up.  Salituro is proving that he can hold some of the weight on his shoulders, but whether or not this team can claw out of the basement is another question.

The 67's head to Niagara, Erie and Kitchener -- three teams that they have defeated this year -- to finally wrap up their road trip.  At 0-5-1 on the road trip and a rough home record, it's anyone's guess whether or not a return home is a good thing for them or not. 


Ottawa 67's Week 10 Review

by Alex Quevillon (@A_Quevillon)

Panic mode set in for the Ottawa 67’s on Friday when they found out that road captain Sean Monahan had been suspended ten games for a hit to the head on Plymouth's Colin MacDonald, and the first three games of the team’s nine-game roadtrip were a wakeup call as they were outscored 14-7 in three losses this weekend.

The team was also missing Brett Gustavsen to a lower body injury, Tyler Graovac to a groin injury, Daniel Walsh to a concussion, Mike Vlajkov for the last of the three games to a lower body injury and Steven Janes appeared to be shaken up on Sunday in Belleville.  Trevor Dulong joined the team and made his OHL debut on Friday.


Friday:  Ottawa 2, Oshawa 4

Saturday:  Ottawa 5, Guelph 7

Sunday:  Ottawa 0, Belleville 3


Ottawa’s best chance to steal two points in their three-in-three came on the Friday night as they took on an Oshawa Generals team that had only won three of 15 on home ice going in.

Dante Salituro opened the scoring early, but less than five minutes later, Boone Jenner and Scott Laughton had a pair of goals 15 seconds apart for the Gens, who took a 2-1 lead and 17-9 shot total into the first intermission.

Jenner added his second of the game in the middle frame.  Cody Ceci answered with Ottawa’s second powerplay marker of the night early in the third, but Tyler Biggs added an empty netter to finish the Gordie Howe Hattrick and cap off a 4-2 Generals win.

Jacob Blair got his first start of the weekend on Saturday in Guelph, taking on the goaltender he backed up to start the season in Keegan Wilson. 

The Storm quickly lit up Ottawa’s rookie netminder with three goals in on eight shots in the first 10 and a half minutes, causing Clint Windsor to come back into action.  Brock McGinn opened the scoring 47 seconds in with his brother and 67’s Alumni Jamie McGinn in attendance.

Once again, Ottawa’s powerplay got them back into the game.  Ryan Van Stralen put his team on the board to make the game 3-1.  Guelph continued to fire on all cylinders, taking a 6-2 lead, before Nevin Guy scored with the man advantage, his first goal in the OHL.

Steven Janes and Sean Callaghan scored early in the third, before the host Storm were finally able to put the game away.  Scott Kosmachuk, who also had an assist and a fight on the night, added his third goal into the empty net as Guelph walked away with a wild 7-5 win.

Windsor appeared in his third game of the weekend on Sunday, although fatigue didn’t seem to be his problem.  Goal support was, however, as the Barberpoles were shut out for the first time this year.

Stephen Silas finally cracked Windsor in the second period on Belleville’s 27th shot.  Belleville outshot Ottawa 30-14 in the first 40 minutes, and only piled on in the third period, increasing their shot advantage to 53-23.  Sergey Kuptsov and Carter Sandlak scored in the third to put the game away.

Taylor Fielding was named Team 1200 hardest worker for the Saturday and Sunday games, but Windsor deserves a ton of credit, stopping 127 shots this weekend.

Of all the 67’s rookies who dressed throughout the weekend, 2012 first-rounder Dante Salituro was the most impressive, adding a goal and four assists.  With Monahan and Graovac out, he had every opportunity to take over as the top line center and get quality ice time.

The 67’s fall into a further hole in the Eastern Conference, now sitting seven points out of eighth place.  The last-place Peterborough didn’t gain any ground on Ottawa this weekend.  The Barberpoles head south next weekend to take on Plymouth, Saginaw and Windsor.