Ottawa, Ontario – The Ottawa Jr. Senators defeated the Brockville Braves, 6-3, for a commanding 3-0 series lead in the Bogart Cup Semi-Final on on Wednesday night at the Jim Durrell Sports Complex.
Conor Smart took a pass from Noah Rowe and ripped it past Liam Souliere for the game-winner (4-3 lead) one-minute into the third period.
Ottawa trailed twice in a game. Emerick Nadeau opened the scoring, beating Francis Boisvert on a breakaway early in the first frame and Simon Kerr scored on the power-play late in the second period to give the Braves a 3-2 lead.
It was goals from the backend that tied it on two different occasions. First, Taylor Egan scored the point with 15-seconds left in the opening period (1-1) and second, Bailey Brant scored from the mid-point to even the game (3-3) towards the end of the second.
“I thought both goals gave us (Ottawa) a lot of momentum,” said Head Coach Martin Dagenais. “It was bonus for Bailey to get a goal. I thought him and Bisson were just average in the first-half of the game but stepped it up in the second-half and got the job done.”
Ottawa defenseman Bailey Brant had a big smile on his face when he scored his first career playoff goal and tied the game heading into the second intermission.
“The play was for me to pass it but I saw an opening and I just closed my eyes and shot it,” said Brant.
Smart’s game-winning-goal just a minute into the third period was his second career playoff GWG (sixth of his career) and his sixth goal in eight-games this post-season.
“Smart finds ways to get it done and his shot is his biggest weapon. I’m not sure Souliere saw that because we had good traffic in front. He’s been a huge surprise for us in the playoffs and we hope he can keep it going,” said Dagenais.
One of the main keys to Ottawa’s 3-0 series lead has been their defensive play. Top pairing defenseman Bailey Brant has been matched up against Brockville’s top line all series and along with Bisson, has got the job done.
“It’s a team effort. Our forwards are not giving up many odd-man rushes and that helps a lot especially against their top line,” added Brant, who has helped limit the Braves top scorer Eric Faith to just one-goal in the series.
The Jr. Sens take game three for the first time in the last two series against the Braves. Ottawa had lost game three in 2016-17 and 2017-18 against Brockville. Ottawa also has a 3-0 series lead for first since the 2016-17 post-season when they swept the second place Cornwall Colts.
Ottawa’s next game is Friday night in Brockville, as they look to sweep the Braves. You can catch the broadcast with Dante De Caria, Mason Detre and Brett Bonisteel on CKDJ 107.9 or online at mixlr.com/ojsradio.