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Ottawa takes two tough loses over the weekend

By: Dante De Caria

Ottawa, Ontario – The Ottawa Jr. Senators suffered loses against Pembroke (5-3) on Friday and to Navan (2-1) on Saturday – making it just the third time this season that Ottawa has lost multiple games in a row.

On Friday night, the Ottawa Jr. Senators dropped the season series against the Pembroke Lumber kings 4-2, marking just the second season series loss this season after Ottawa went 1-3 against the Brockville Braves.

The Jr. Sens were outshot by the Lumber Kings (35-31) and outshot for the third time this month. Ottawa tied the game twice before taking the lead early in the third period. Conor Smart, playing the point on the power-play, scored from the left point to put OJS up 3-2. Shortly after, Pembroke fired back with three unanswered goals. The game winner was scored after Connor Warnholtz buried the puck on a 2-on-0 breakaway.

Ottawa Jr. Senators goaltender Joshua Ward was one of the main bright spots in the loss as he made 30-saves, with four of them being big pad saves on cross-crease passes.

“I thought he made some big saves, especially in the first period. Tough to blame him for the goals,” said Ottawa Jr. Senators Head Coach Martin Dagenais on the loss to Pembroke.

“With Adrien Bisson and Joe Alexander out of the lineup, some of these D-men have to play better. I thought our forwards didn’t work hard but I thought our D-men made mental mistakes and they keep repeating those mistakes. For us as a staff, it’s a bit scary with three to four weeks before the playoffs,” added Dagenais.

On Saturday night at home, the Ottawa Jr. Senators were defeated by the Navan Grads 2-1 mainly because of their 16-year-old goaltender Will Cranley who made 53-saves in the win.

Ottawa outshot Navan 54-26 and generated 43-shots in the final two periods. Kyle Jackson scored his first goal in six games, picking up his 17th of the season to make it a one-goal game.

Head Coach Martin Dagenais thought most of their shots on Cranley were at his chest.

“We have to do a better job getting rebounds. His rebound control was just okay but with the lineup that we had, we outworked them. You can’t complain with a 30+ shot differential.”

The Jr. Senators were defeated by two teams that are out of a playoff spot in the CCHL standings on Friday and Saturday. Dagenais says that it’s a good learning experience for this group because the league is so close.

“When we’re healthy, I’m not concerned. I think we’re strong in net, but getting Bisson and Alexander back on the backend will make a huge difference, and also getting Owen Cole, Colin Marshall, Darcy Walsh and David Toppa back is going to make a world of a difference. If you have one line not going, then you have two more lines.”

Owen Cole returned to the lineup last night, but had limited ice-time as he’s looking to fully recover from his upper-body injury. As of right now, Bisson, Alexander and Walsh will still be out for the next week or so. David Toppa is on an AP card with Ottawa and will rejoin the squad full-time next week once the Embrun Panthers (CCHL2) season comes to an end.

The Jr. Senators are back in action tomorrow afternoon (Monday February 18th) for a 3pm start on Family Day in Carleton Place against the Canadians.

Dagenais added that he’s a little worried about tomorrows contest against Carleton Place.

“They’re not as physical as they were in the past but at the same time it’s always an intense hockey game when we’re in CP. With the small rink, it’s physical not matter what so we will have to make some decisions on who plays. We are not rushing guys back, we are thinking long term.”