HIRING: INTERN, HOCKEY OPERATIONS
Date: Oct 17, 2019
By Ron Valentine
Could Ottawa Junior Senators Head Coach Martin Dagenais reach into his box of magic tricks Saturday afternoon and pull out something to defeat the host Brooks Bandits, who went undefeated through the preliminary round of the National Junior A Championship?
Following a shutout of the Portage Terriers (3-0) in Game 1, the Senators dropped their remaining three round-robin contests. In the 'something to build on' category they only fell 2-1 when they met the Bandits in some part, due to the stellar play of goalkeeper Francis Boisvert.
Going into the semifinal, Ryan Mahshie led all Bandits' scorers with five points while four players were tied with four points each: blueliners Luke Bast and Brandon Scanlin and forwards Simon Gravel and Arnaud Vachon. For Ottawa, forward Kyle Jackson and defenceman Noah Rowe led the way with four.
Before the opening faceoff, tournament awards were given out to Gravel - most sportsmanlike. Mahshie as top forward, Bast as best blueliner and Boisvert as MVP. Former Bandits' standout defenceman Cale Makar, who joined the NHL's Colorado Avalanche during this spring’s Stanley Cup playoffs, was on hand for the presentations.
Defenceman Adrien Bisson, an NCAA Maine commit, returned to the Ottawa lineup for his first game at the tourney.
The meeting is called to order...
Early in the first frame, Simon Boyko took a breakaway pass from Jakob Lee from between the centre ice and bluelines early to put the Bandits one up. Surprisingly it was his first point of the tournament. He's heading to Vermont next season. On a strong rush, Brooks Ray Christy beat Boisvert for his first of the week with a little over three minutes left. Christy played high school hockey in Minnesota before joining the club at the start of this season. It was 2-0 to the home team after one as they started at a fast pace and maintained it throughout the period.
In the second stanza, Brooks added to their lead as sniper William Lemay got one before some of the capacity crowd had returned to their seats. The Junior Senators, a little deflated but not defeated yet, got one back on a powerplay goal from Kyle Jackson, with a lot of net to shoot at, and it's 3-1 Bandits with at least one more period remaining.
The next goal was almost a necessity for the Junior Senators but it was not about to happen as they took a quick penalty early in the third and after some heavy action around their net Mahshie wristed the loose puck past Boisvert for what would seem to be a commanding 4-1 lead. Another shorthanded situation for the Senators set things in a gloomy light but former Nepean Raider Geoff Dempster lit the light shorthanded, unassisted. Brooks' 'keeper Pierce Charleson then had to make a large save on Darcy Walsh who was trying to finish off a 2 on 1 break. This did not deter the CCHL squad and ex-Orangeville Flyer Conor Smart scored their third after lots of pressure making things a little quiet at the CRA in Newell county. The fans were now in clock-watching mode but the Bandits refused to panic. With Boisvert out and 1:15 remaining in the period, the Senators were called for a too many men on the ice penalty with the goalie having to come back in. He was out again in the dying seconds when Charleson made a game-winning save of a Jackson shot. Final: 4-3 Bandits.
Player of the game for Brooks was Ryan Mahshie, who had the game winning goal and for Ottawa, blueliner Bisson, back from an injury, got the nod.
The OJHL and Central Canadian champion Oakville Blades meet British Columbia’s Prince George Spruce Kings in the other semifinal. The puck drops Saturday at 9 p.m. EDT.
The final will be played Sunday at 5 p.m. EDT.
The semifinal is being 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