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Jr. Senators reclaim top seed with win over Lumber Kings

Pembroke, Ontario – The Ottawa Jr. Senators (8-1-0) scored a late 3rd-period powerplay go-ahead goal, and never looked back to leave the valley with a 3-1 win.

After surrendering 16 first-period shots in the team’s previous game, Ottawa got off to a strong start, outshooting the Lumber Kings 15-7 in a scoreless first period. Ottawa killed off two first-period penalties and failed to score on a powerplay of their own.

“I really liked our start tonight. First period as a whole I thought we were very good. We were above the puck, we skated hard, had a lot of good pucks on net and a lot of chances, so I was really encouraged with the way we started the game tonight.” said OJS Head Coach Kyle Makaric.

Simon Isabelle scored the only goal of the second period, his sixth of the season at the 3:27 mark. Julian Recine and Thomas Freel picked up the assists. Freel, who had his 7-game point streak snapped Friday night in Rockland, responded by earning his league-leading 12th assist on the play.

The two teams combined for 9 minor penalties in the middle frame. Pembroke with four, and Ottawa with five. Ottawa entered the game fifth in the CCHL with a penalty kill success rate of 86.1%. They continued their success on the penalty kill vs. Pembroke, killing 9-of-9 Pembroke powerplays.

“Jamie [Mayo] does a great job with our PK. Guys work hard, I really like everything that we did tonight, other than some faceoff details. When your best penalty killer is your goaltender, it helps your penalty kill a lot. Those guys were great, they were getting out and blocking shots, but without the way, Will [Desmarais] played on some of those penalty kills, they had some looks, but he was rock solid. So all in all the penalty kill did great.” said Makaric.

Ottawa would hold their 1-0 lead until Riley Thompson evened the score with his third goal of the season with just 4:13 left to play in regulation.

48-seconds after the goal, Pembroke forward, Jesse Kirkby, was called for his second consecutive penalty, a slashing call that would send Ottawa to their sixth powerplay of the game.

It only took Julian Recine nine seconds to capitalize on the man advantage, regaining Ottawa’s one-goal lead. The goal would end up being Recine’s second consecutive game-winning goal. Recine also scored the shootout winner on Friday night in Rockland.

Freel was called for tripping with less than three minutes to play, giving Pembroke a late opportunity to tie the game. Pembroke Coach, Alex Armstrong, would pull their goalie, Reese Proulx, for the 6-on-4 man advantage.

Sam Edwards and Mark McPhee would combine for four blocked shots on the penalty kill before Vincent Velocci would score on the empty net with 1:18 remaining to seal the win for Ottawa.

“Those are winning hockey plays that you need when other teams are pressing. Even the way the defenseman boxed out, they shut things down in front of the net. There were a couple of loose pucks that they took care of, and it was just a combined team effort tonight from top to bottom and I loved the way that our 20 played. ” added Makaric.

Desmarais made 39 of 40 saves for Ottawa, improving his record to 4-1 on the season, with a .943 save percentage and 1.80 goals against average.

The Ottawa Jr. Senators’ next game will be on Friday night when they take on the 2-7 Smiths Falls Bears at the Smiths Falls Memorial Center. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 pm. You can catch the game on mixlr.com/ojsradio or you can watch it on Hockey TV.