By: Mason Detre
Ottawa, Ontario – The Ottawa Jr. Senators (23-20-2) kicked off a back-to-back with a loss to the Kemptville 73s on Friday 2-1 and then on Saturday, Ottawa snapped their four-game losing streak with a 7-2 win over the Nepean Raiders.
Kemptville 2, Ottawa 1
Ethan Mulhearn would opening the scoring 51 seconds in to give Ottawa a 1-0 lead during the first period. Michael Eftimovski would collect the only assist to extend his point streak to two games. Coming into this game, Ottawa had won the first three meetings of the season, but have lost three consecutive games headed into a Friday night matchup with Kemptville.
“We scored first, had a couple of good shifts at the start and couldn’t really capitalize on getting the second goal to take the game from Kemptville,” said OJS Assistant Coach Jamie Mayo on the teams good start.
Ottawa would then take four penalties which lead to two power-play goals from Hunter Brazier and Gavin Wood. Ottawa’s penalty kill was 2-for-4 on the evening.
“Special teams decided the outcome. They scored two on their power play, we had five power plays and we could not score. We had a couple of 6-for-4 opportunities towards the end of the game and couldn’t capitalize. Give them credit, they blocked a lot of shots and protected the house. We just need to find ways to put the puck in the net. One goal isn’t going to win you hockey games,” said Mayo.
Bryan Landsberger got the start and made 25 saves as he dropped his third straight game and his 12th loss this season.
“I thought Landsey (Bryan Landsberger) was okay, looking at the second goal it might have hit off his ankle a little bit. When you give up two goals in a game we should be winning hockey games. Certainly, it wasn’t Bryan’s fault in this game,” added Mayo.
The Kemptville 73s outshot Ottawa 27-25, who’s power play was 0-for-5.
Ottawa 7, Nepean 2
It was the bounce-back game that the Jr. Senators were looking for as they score seven times for a statement win. Ottawa also snapped their four-game losing streak.
Ethan Mulhearn scored the first two goals of the game coming 16 seconds apart under the 16-minute mark of the first period. With his two goals, he gets his 17th goal of the season and is three goals away from hitting 20 this year.
“I just kept it simple, play hard, stuck to the gameplan and I got rewarded for it,” said Mulhearn on collecting three points on the night.
Former Ottawa Jr. Senators forward Zachary Gravel would cut the deficit to one heading into the second period. After McIntosh made it 3-1, the Raiders would cut into the lead to 3-2 on a goal from Patrick Larkin on the power play.
Ottawa would then score four unanswered goals early in the second until the end of the game. It was a full 60 minutes effort from the group in the game and OJS Assistant Coach Stuart Battrick commented on limiting the Raiders to 16 shots.
“I think our defense did a really good job on moving pucks quick. We got away from it for a bit, that resulted in a lot of chance for them. Our defense were moving the pucks quickly and our forwards were giving them options. We were quick through the neutral zone, which results in a lot of pressure in the offensive zone and when we were doing that, we were able to bring pucks to the house and get some quality shots.”
Christophe Cote and Julien Recine added two assists in the win. It’s their first points since coming to Ottawa at the CCHL trade deadline. Battrick thought that MacPhee, Mulhearn, and Recine were really good on a line together.
“I’m very happy with Recine since the trade. I was surprised by him. I didn’t notice him at much when he was with Kanata. I really enjoy watching him play in practice as well. MacPhee was out for a couple of weeks, but I really think he’s starting to pick up his game as well. He’s going a lot of good things, his habits are starting to get really good as well. When he brings pucks to the net, he gets open lanes and creates scoring chances,” said Battrick.
Ethan Mulhearn also weighed in on playing with Mark MacPhee and Julien Recine. Throughout the entire season, Mulhearn has been playing with Freel on a line together.
“I’ve been with Freel all year but it was a little mix and match here and there. So sometimes it was good for the team and get guys moving around. I liked playing with MacPhee, he plays his game really well and plays his role. Recine is a good skill guy and if he can put points together then I think we can be good,” said Mulhearn.
Maxime Blanchard, Davide Berube, and Conor Smart each netted one goal. Most importantly, Thomas Freel picked up his 20th goal of the season. It’s also his 7th power-play goal of the season. Battrick did expect Freel to have 20 goals this year.
” I had him last year, so I want to say yes but it’s his work ethic that creates those goals. If you look at where he’s scoring those goals from, it’s a lot around the net. He’s worked a lot on his shot, he is still dangerous above the circles but his bread and butter is around the net. His work ethic is what’s creating him those chances and he’s capitalizing on them,” said Battick on Thomas Freel’s 20th goal.
Ottawa’s power play was 1-for-6 throughout the evening and outshot Nepean 48-16.
Felix Schnell collects his 8th win by stopping 14 shots. Michael Eftimovski continues to be terrific on the back end by collecting one assist to extend his point streak to three games.
“He’s been good. It’s a good time to be playing very well and stepping up. Three games now with a point. It’s looking good for him, so I’ve been chuckling with him about that,” said Mulhearn.
Next game for the Ottawa Jr. Senators will be on Wednesday night when they take on the Brockville Braves. It’s the final meeting between these two teams this season and Ottawa will also look to break their three-game losing streak against the Braves. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:20 pm. You can catch the game on mixlr.com/ojsradio or you can watch on Hockey TV.