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Kyle Jackson (Pictured) nets three points in loss.

Nationals down Jr. Sens for the first time in Franchise history

By: Dante De Caria

Rockland, Ontario – The Ottawa Jr. Senators (15-8) allowed seven goals on 18 shots in a 7-4 loss against the Rockland Nationals (14-7-3) at the Nats’ School-Day Game on Wednesday morning.

Ottawa suffers their first loss against the Rockland franchise since they moved from Gloucester last season. The Jr. Senators were 8-0 against the Nationals prior to today’s defeat, outscoring them 35-to-16. Despite the lopsided goal differential, a match-up between Ottawa and Rockland has always been very competitive until the end.

“There is a lot of guys in there (Rockland) that used to be in our (Ottawa) organization if you look at the trades we’ve made with Rockland in the last two or three years,” said Ottawa Jr. Senators Head Coach Martin Dagenais.

“They’re is always more of a playoff atmosphere. Especially today with over 1000 kids in attendance so it adds more fuel to it.”

The total attendance was 1200 at the CIHA arena in Rockland – capping off the final of two School-Day contest’s between these two Yzerman Division rivals this season.

The Jr. Senators still lead the season series 2-1, but after today’s seven-goal outburst, Rockland has outscored Ottawa 10-to-7.

“We’ve played them three times this year and we’re 2-1 and I actually thought today was probably our best game out of the three games against Rockland but unfortunately we lost,” added Dagenais on the season series.

The most goals that Rockland had scored against Ottawa in a single  game was four, which happened twice last season.

The Jr. Senators gave up seven goals in a game for the first time since November 3rd, 2017 against the Hawkesbury Hawks at the Vankleek Hill Arena. Francis Boisvert allowed five goals on 12 shots before being pulled just over nine minutes into the second period. Joshua Ward entered in relief and gave up two goals (one an empty netter) on five shots.

Head Coach Martin Dagenais says that the Jr. Senators had never allowed that many goals on less than 20 shots in his five-year tenure as the franchises coach.

“I don’t think it’s ever happened. People will look at that and say that our goalies didn’t get the job done but for us it’s more that we had a lot of natural-zone breakdowns and bad plays in the D-zone.”

Another reason why the Jr. Senators had a tough time keeping the puck out of the net was because Rockland went 3-for-5 on their power-play.

“Our PK wasn’t great which is very rare. Every time we made a mistake it resulted in a goal against and it costed us the game in the end.”

The Nats’ led the Jr. Sens 2-1 after one. They scored four goals on eight shots in the second period to bring a 6-3 lead into the third frame. The Jr. Senators played catch-up the whole game, cutting the deficit to two twice in the second period.

Kyle Jackson brought Ottawa within two (6-4) for the third time, scoring his second of the game at 9:38 of the third period. The 16-year-old forward finished the afternoon with three points (2G/1A) while netting his sixth and seventh goals of the season. He now has nine points (4G/5A) over his last six games.

“Kyle (Jackson) was very good. He’s improving with his puck protection skills, he’s very smart with the puck and he can do a lot of things with the puck that a lot of players in our league (CCHL) cannot do.”

“Him, Remer and Manderville are a force on that line and I don’t think we’re going to make any changes to that,” added Dagenais.

Ethan Manderville helped Jackson get his second goal of the game by spinning around two checks, protecting the puck and feeding him on the side of the goal. Dagenais says that Manderville looks a lot more confident with the puck.

“We still want him to move the puck a bit quicker sometimes and go to the net more but Ethan Manderville is probably our best player when protecting pucks on the wall.”

“When he does have the puck it’s very difficult for the opposing D-men to do anything¬† because he has such a long reach and he’s strong physically,” said Dagenais.

Samuel Hatto also had a multi-point game, finishing the game with one goal and one assist. He has now recorded a multi-point game in four of his last seven games.

Dagenais says their game-plan does not change going into their next game on Saturday against Hawkesbury.

“We will have a good practice tomorrow and we’ll be ready for Saturday. We don’t want to change much, we just need to limit the brain cramps and the mental mistakes in the nutural-zone, defensive-zone and offensive-zone.”

Saturday’s puck drop is set for 7:30 at the Jim Durrell Sports Complex. This is the first of a three-game home-stand. Ottawa will play Kanata on Wednesday and Cornwall on Saturday before going on the road on Sunday in Kemptville. You can catch the broadcast on mixlr.com/ojsradio or Hockey TV.