HIRING: INTERN, HOCKEY OPERATIONS
Date: Oct 17, 2019
The Oakville Blades finished the round-robin portion of the National Junior A Championship in Brooks, Alta. with a 7-4 win over the Ottawa Jr. Senators Thursday. The Blades (2-2) meet Prince George (3-1) in the semifinals Saturday night. (Photo: Hockey Canada)
By Ron Valentine
Thursday marked the last day of round-robin play at the National Junior Championship in Brooks, Alta.
Game 1 between the Oakville Blades and the Ottawa Junior Senators would decide the third-place finisher and Game 2 between the host Brooks Bandits and Prince George Spruce Kings was for top spot.
Oakville and Ottawa had records of 1-2 and Brooks and Prince George were both a perfect 3-0. Saturday's semifinal stage pits the first-place finisher against the fourth place team with the No. 2 and 3 teams facing off. The top round-robin club gets the choice of playing game one or game two: the matinee or evening contest.
At the end of Wednesday's games, three players were tied for the lead in individual scoring- the Bandits' Ryan Mahshie, the Spruce Kings' Ben Brar and the Blades' Spencer Kersten. All three had five points. The Kings' Nick Piosson and the Terriers' Ty Barnstable led the way in goals with three each.
Prince George's Logan Neaton led all goalkeepers with a 0.43 goals-against average, allowing just one goal in seven periods of play.
Chris Elliot got the starting assignment for the Blades with Nathan Ribau coming in on defence for Tyler Amaral and Tanner McEachern moving in up front for Holden Doggett.
A powerplay goal just over five minutes in made it 1-0 Blades. Peyton Reeves was the scorer converting a cross-ice pass from Spencer Kersten. The Senators got that one back with a goal from rookie sensation Kyle Jackson but McEachern's marker, from right in the slot, with a touch over two minutes remaining put the OJHL club ahead again. Francis Boisvert started for Ottawa but left for repairs and was replaced by big Joshua Ward after stopping seven of eight shots. Territorially, Oakville had the advantage in the opening 20 minutes outshooting Ottawa 17-4.
In Period 2, Ryan O'Hara put the Blades up by two but Danny Pion quickly replied with a powerplay goal and it's 3-2 Oakville. A shorthanded marker just before the halfway mark from former Erie OtterChristian Girhiny gave the Blades a two-goal cushion but they were not done yet and Reeves tabbed his second of the game redirecting a shot form Garrett Pyke. To close out the period's scoring the Junior Senators got their second straight powerplay goal, this time from Darcy Walsh.
It was 6-3 Blades as Kyle Potts picked up a loose puck to open the third period scoring. The Junior Senators Head Coach Martin Dagenais pulled his goalie early and Reeves completed his hat trick with a shorthanded goal at 13.08. The Senators would get one more for the final 7-4 scoreline and that was from Colin Marshall.
Potts had a goal and two assists for the winners and Callum Jones chipped in with a pair of assists. The Blades, improving as the tournament moves along, ended the round-robin at two wins and two losses while the Senators ended 1-3. The Blades outshot their opposition 36-31.
Oakville Head Coach Mike Tarantino after the game: "I think we are getting better as the tournament progresses. Both Prince George and Brooks are very strong with few holes in their games. We need to bring our best to secure a win. Our boys want another crack at them so it should be a fun one."
Blades GM Jordan Selinger concurred: "Absolutely we wanted to get better as we went on after that rough start and we have been able to do just that. But we still have room for improvement and we will make sure we go over some things with the day off tomorrow and prepare for Saturday."
The final game of the preliminary round featured two unbeaten teams – the host Brooks Bandits and the Prince George Spruce Kings – with the winner set to take on Ottawa and he losers up against Oakville in the Saturday semis.
A close first period with just one goal, and that came late, with Carter Wolski putting the host club on top. The veteran defender came to the Bandits from the Grande Prairie Storm and will be going to Red Deer College next season to play for the Kings. Shots 13-10 in favour of the black-clad Bandits.
The second followed the pattern of the first but with less shots. At 18:53, Nick Poisson got his stick on a long shot from Dylan Anhorn, and it's one apiece going into the third. It was Poisson the younger's fourth goal of the tourney. Shots 8-7 to the Spruce Kings. 1-1 after 40 minutes.
Blueliner Andrew Lucas jumped up on the offense and picked up his own rebound to prompt a large cheer from the home fans. That big one came just past the seven minute mark of the third period and ramped up the intensity for the rest of the way. With a minute and a half left in the game and Logan Neaton on the Kings' bench the Bandits took a minor penalty giving the BCHL team a two-man edge but Brandon Scanlin found the net for the 3-1 win. Goalie Pierce Charleson, in net for all their games, was named player of the game for Brooks; Nick Poisson for the Kings.
Brooks/Ottawa will be Game 1, at 4 p.m. EDT Prince George/Blades will be the evening contest at 9 p.m. EDT.
The final will be played Sunday at 5 p.m. EDT.
The semifinals will streamed live on HockeyCanada.ca. The championship game will be broadcast on TSN and streamed on TSN.ca
All Oakville Blades games at the nationals are being broadcast on Oakville Blades Radio. Listen at oakvilleblades.ca