By Warren Rappleyea
In just his first season as a Junior Senator, Noah Rowe has quickly become a mainstay on the blue line while also making his presence felt at the other end of the ice.
Acquired during the summer by GM/Coach Martin Dagenais from the Nepean Raiders, the 6-2, 205-pound defender was expected to provide additional size and experience in front of the Ottawa net, as well as the ability to play in all situations.
Rowe split the 2017-18 season between Kemptville and Nepean, posting 11 goals and 19 assists overall and logging big-time minutes for both squads. When the 20-year-old became available Dagenais quickly cemented a deal.
“Noah is a heart and soul type of player; he leaves it all on the ice,” Dagenais said. “The fun thing with him is that he is still improving as a 20 year old. He wants to get better, and you can see it in the way he practices.”
In 29 games this season, Rowe has played a solid defensive game, while also contributing five goals—one of them a game-winner against Carleton Place— and 14 assists. His hard right-handed shot from the point has earned him time on the power play as well, and four of Rowe’s tallies have come on the man advantage.
“I think they saw me as kind of a shutdown defenseman, and that is a big part of my role, but I’ve evolved into more of a two-way guy and the coaches have given me more opportunities,” Rowe said.
Dagenais added, “Noah’s at his best when he keeps it simple. He’s learning to let the offense come to him, and not force anything. His shot is a major weapon, and that’s why we have used him a lot on the power play recently.”
More responsibilities and the additional ice time that goes with them, should help Rowe as he looks to earn an opportunity to play Division I hockey in college. His play has garnered interest and, hopefully, will result in a scholarship offer.
It doesn’t hurt that the Junior Senators have been playing well, either. After dropping three straight in the season-opening showcase, Ottawa has won 20 of the 27 matches since then and are now in the hunt for a sixth successive Yzerman Division crown.
Rowe broke into the CCHL in the 2015-16 season when he played in 14 games for Kemptville. The following year he became a regular, tallying three goals and 14 assists in 58 contests while picking up 51 penalty minutes. With the 73’s rebuilding in 2017-18, Rowe was dealt to Nepean. Although the young Raiders struggled, Rowe became a defensive anchor. He played in 58 games between the two squads. In addition to his 30 points, Rowe showed toughness in accumulating 78 penalty minutes.
“I was getting top-two minutes in Kemptville and Nepean and I definitely learned a lot,” he said. “There were rumors I would be traded to Ottawa late last year and I was hoping it would happen, so I was glad when the deal was finally made over the summer. This is a great place to play. They have a winning atmosphere and everyone is really good throughout the line-up.”
Like most good players, Rowe is constantly working on his game.
“For a defenseman, foot-speed is so important—you can never be too fast,” he said. “I’m also looking to be more consistent offensively. Sometimes I jump into the play before I should. I want to be better at picking my spots.”
A self-described “social guy,” as one of the veteran players in the room Rowe goes out of his way to connect with the newer members of the Junior Senators.
“I know how it is when you’re a younger guy and you’re struggling,” he said. “I try and talk to those guys and help them out. I know how it goes. It happens to all of us. I had a couple of veterans take me under their wing and that meant a lot.”
Rowe is currently studying civil engineering part-time at Ottawa University. In his spare time, he enjoys working on jigsaw puzzles with his dad, Peter, and brother, Dominic. That’s not surprising since hockey is something of a family affair for the Rowes, who reside in Nepean.
“My parents have always been there for me,” he said. “My dad taught me a lot about how to play and I was always playing road hockey with my brother. My mom didn’t really know much about hockey, but she does now, and no one roots harder for me.”
Ottawa fans are rooting for Rowe and his teammates, too, as the Junior Senators inch closer to the Bogart Cup playoffs.