By Davide Disipio:
Nepean, ON – The Ottawa Jr. Senators (22-19-2) continued their three-game road trip with a stop at the Steve Yzerman Arena, to get shocked by the Nepean Raiders (8-31-3), to extend their losing streak to three games, falling 4-1.
Ottawa saw some new faces in the lineup, Wednesday with Josh Shimizu and Christophe Côté making their debuts since being acquired prior to last Friday’s CCHL trade deadline. Costa Touliopoulos and Isaac Leduc were also making their CCHL debuts as call-ups from the Ottawa Jr. Senators Midget AAA team.
Shimizu was back in the lineup for the first time since November 22nd, when he was with the Nepean Raiders and saw himself get a glorious opportunity for Ottawa’s lone scoring chance in period one.
On the other hand, Nepean’s trade deadline acquisition and former Jr. Senator Zach Gravel clicked with linemates Matt McQuade and Evan Boucher in his first game with the Raiders, in which was the best trio upfront for either side in the game.
“They outplayed us,” said Ottawa Head Coach Martin Dagenais postgame following the team’s first loss to the Raiders since suffering a 5-4 shootout loss on home ice last season. “They outworked us and we kept them in the game, so it’s tough to win when your best players are callups.”
Nepean would get on the board first with under five minutes to go in the second courtesy of their dangerous top line when Zach Gravel fed a cross-ice pass to Matt McQuade who filtered it past Bryan Landsberger to make it 1-0.
Conor Smart would record his first goal since December 15th, beating Tyler Laureault after a beautiful net drive and wrap around chance from David Bérubé and the rebound chance off the shot from Michael Eftimovski to tie the score with under a minute to go in the second.
For Smart, he snaps a five-game goalless drought and records his 40th career CCHL goal.
In the third, Nepean took it to Ottawa getting goals from Patrick Maule early in the third, then a powerplay marker from captain Beau Binnie, the Binnie would slide home his second of the game to seal the deal, and a three unanswered goal final frame from Nepean.
The physicality showed from Nepean made life really difficult for Ottawa to get any cracks at secondary opportunities, but did throw 41 shots towards Laureault who picks up his sixth win of the season.
“I thought it was a good game plan for them (Nepean),” added Dagenais. “Their coaches had them well prepared, they were trapping and obviously we spent a lot of time in the offensive zone, cause were the better team, but at the same time I thought they did a great job keeping us to the outside, and we don’t have enough players willing to go to the net to win battles and that’s what cost us in the end.”
This now marks the third time this season that Ottawa has lost three consecutive games. The last coming December 15th-19th, when the team fell to Kanata, Hawkesbury, and Cornwall.
Ottawa’s powerplay went 0-for-2 in the game, while the penalty kill was 1-for-2.
Bryan Landsberger (Loss, 9-11-1) stopped 24 of 27, while his counterpart Tyler Laureault (Win, 6-16-1) stopped 40 of 41 while taking home first star honours in the process.
Ottawa returns to the ice tomorrow for a 7:30 faceoff at the North Grenville Municipal Centre to take on the Kemptville 73’s. The last time Ottawa was in Kemptville, was November 1st scoring a convincing 6-0 win for Bryan Landsberger’s first CCHL shutout. Mason Detre and Josh Primeau will have the call on the Jr. Senators Broadcast Network at mixlr.com/OJSradio or watch it live on Hockey TV. Ottawa returns home on Saturday to wrap up the weekend schedule with a rematch against the Nepean Raiders at 7:40.