By Davide Disipio
The Ottawa Jr. Senators (8-3-0) were able to fight off a late third-period soar from the visiting Hawkesbury Hawks (7-6-0) to win their third consecutive game.
Hawkesbury opened up the scoring four and a half minutes into the first period, and took it into the dressing room after the opening frame.
Matthew Toporowski was able to stuff a rebound home off a Tucker McIntosh point shot over halfway through the second period to knot the game at one on the power play.
Later, Bailey Brant drove the net hard and Owen Cole potted home the loose puck to put Ottawa ahead for good, in a second period that they dominated.
“The second period has not been good to us this season, so, it’s something we wanted to focus on, and again we didn’t spend more than 3-4 minutes in the (defensive) zone in that second period, and that gave us the momentum going into the third. It was nice to see the guys bounce back even though the first period wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t up to our standards” said Head Coach Martin Dagenais regarding how his team was able to build off a perfect second period to pull out the victory.
In the third, Ottawa was down 5-on-3 with over 4 minutes to go, when clutch goaltending and defensive play, held off any sorts of a Hawkesbury push back to possibly tie the game.
“It was huge,” said Dagenais, “we got the horses to get the job done, you know with Owen Cole, Bailey Brant, Faisal Alsaif, I don’t think theirs a better three man unit on the PK in the league. I thought they got in lanes, then with our second unit on, we got a big save from Josh Ward, along with 3-4 other ones to keep it a one-goal game… just overall a solid team win in all aspects of the game.”
After the momentum swung back in the favour of Ottawa when Max Bush tallied his first CCHL tier 1 goal to add insurance with slightly over two minutes to play in regulation.
Chris Piche added an empty netter, then Zachary Gravel netted his fourth goal in his last five games with 15 seconds left to play.
Josh Ward made 23 saves for his fifth win on the season, while to PP was 1-for-5 and the PK stared, going perfect in four times shorthanded.
Ottawa is back in action tomorrow afternoon, on the road to take on the Smiths Falls Bears for a 3:00 p.m. puck drop, before returning home for the annual school day game Wednesday morning against the Pembroke Lumber Kings.
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