The Ottawa Jr. Senators have earned a berth in Saturday’s semi-final round at the National Junior A Hockey Championships in Brooks, Alberta. The Junior Sens will take on the host Brooks Bandits in the first of a pair of semi-final games to be played at 2 pm local time at the Centennial Arena. The Oakville Blades will meet the Prince George Spruce Kings in the other Saturday game with the winners meeting the next day in a championship game to be televised nationally on TSN.
The Junior Sens 1-3 mark in the round robin was highlighted by a 3-0 opening game win over the Manitoba league champion, Portage Terriers. Francis Boisvert, who has had a marvelous tournament earned a shutout stopping all 20 Terrier shots while Darcy Walsh, Elie Boulerice and Kyle Jackson found the back of the net to help the Sens get off to a good start at the event. Veteran forward Boulerice was named the Senators Player of the Game.
The next three round robin games found the Senators fighting an uphill battle against some of the nations best Jr. A hockey teams. The squad fell to Prince George 4-0 with Owen Cole earned player of the game honours. The following night in front of a jam-packed arena, Boisvert again stood on his head stopping 36 of 38 shots as the Sens fell 2-1 to the host Bandits. Colin Marshall scored the lone goal for Ottawa and Boisvert rightfully being selected as the Player of the Game.
Coach Martin Dagenais has been pleased with the second-year goaltender’s performance in Brooks: “Frank has been incredible out here. He has given us a chance to win each game. I can’t understand why no NCAA program has stepped up and offered him a spot as of yet. He is certainly a Division One goaltender.”
In their last round robin game the Sens dropped a 7-4 decision to the Oakville Blades. Already playing without Adrien Bisson and Joe Alexander on the blueline, the Senators were forced to be without Carp native Taylor Egan on the back end who was sidelined with a lower-body injury and goaltender Boisvert who was injured in the first period and held out for the remainder of the game for precautionary reasons. Kyle Jackson and Colin Marshall each with their second of the tournament paced the Sens attack who also received markers from David Toppa and Danny Pion in the loss.
The Sens will practice Friday in preparation for Saturday’s semi-final against the powerful Bandits squad. “We haven’t played our best hockey here yet,” Dagenais commented, “We will skate on Friday and hopefully some of our injured players will return for the semi-final.” He added, “Playing Brooks is definitely a huge challenge. They are a deep and talented team that can capitalize on your mistakes if you don’t play the right way.”
Saturday’s semi-final begins at 2 local time and 4 pm in Ottawa and will be streamed live at hockeycanada.ca