Ottawa Jr. Senators win Fred Page Cup
Photo courtesy of Robert Lefebvre/icelevel.com: Members of the Ottawa Junior Senators stetch to get their hands on the Fred Page Cup Sunday afternoon after winning the Eastern Canadian Junior A hockey championship with a 10-1 win over Longueuil on home ice. Ottawa now advances to the RBC Cup national championship in Chilliwack, B.C.
OTTAWA – Well no one saw that coming.
After a very tight round-robin portion of the Fred Page Cup that included a 3-2 shootout win by the Ottawa Jr. Senators over College Francais on Friday, everyone and their dog was expecting another close game when those two teams met again Sunday in the championship game.
Everyone and their dog were wrong.
The Jr. Sens had scored just two five-on-five goals in their first three games, but on Sunday they scored two in the first period and routed Longueuil 10-1. No rubbing of the eyes in disbelief, that was the score.
“I thought we were the better team from start to finish,” Jr. Sens coach Martin Dagenais said.
“Seven of our top eight goal scorers during the regular season didn’t have a goal in this tournament before this game. Today the leaders really stepped up.”
Six players scored their first of the series for Ottawa on Sunday, including Gabriel Morin who had his first three, two of which gave the Jr. Sens a 2-0 lead after the first period.
Nick Lalonde scored his first to make it a 3-0 game before William Lemay got Longueuil on the board seven minutes into the second, and just seconds after they were unsuccessful on an extended five-on-three power play.
Longueuil continued the pressure and started to take over the game after that goal, but Ottawa's three goals in just over three minutes toward the end of the period took away any doubt as to the outcome.
Owen Guy, Darcy Walsh and Pierre-Luc Veillette had those goals for a 6-1 Ottawa lead after two periods. Veillette, Morin, Isaac Anderson and Ethan Manderville closed out the scoring in the third period.
The Jr. Sens will now represent Eastern Canada at the RBC Cup starting on Saturday in Chilliwack, B.C. as the team tries to become national Junior A hockey champions.
One thing that can’t be overlooked in the win was the fact the Jr. Sens had the day off on Saturday because of a win over Longueuil on Friday night. Longueuil had to play a semifinal game Saturday and ended up playing five games in five days.
The Jr. Sens trailed 2-0 in the third period Friday before winning 3-2 in a shootout out during which Connor Hicks stopped the final eight Longueuil shooters. He allowed only six goals the entire tournament.
“Mentally for our guys to have Hicks in the net is huge. We have two very good goalies but to bring in a guy with three years OHL experience, it’s huge for our team,” Dagenais said.
Hicks faced just 89 shots in the four games, with 31 of those coming Thursday night in a 3-2 win over the Carleton Place Canadians.
“Our team played great all week. We’ve been looking forward to this all year and once the time came we were ready to go,” Hicks said.
“Having the break (Saturday) was huge and it showed why it’s so valuable. (Longueuil) is a great team and we didn’t expect this coming in, but we worked hard and were rewarded for it.”
Jr. Sens forward Finn Evans had four assists in the final on Sunday and was named tournament MVP. He said the big goal differential, while unexpected, was certainly welcomed.
“Obviously, a little less pressure, but no matter how we won it’s just an unreal group of guys and we always believed in ourselves,” he said, deflecting credit for the MVP toward his team.
“It’s awesome, but it’s a team game and I wouldn’t be getting that award if we didn’t win the championship. It was a team game, every guy put in his all. We knew we would win if we played our game and I’m really proud of the guys in that room.”
Dagenais said he hadn’t put any thought into heading to Chilliwack because he didn’t want to get ahead of himself.
“I guess I’m going to get a call from Hockey Canada (on Monday) and we’ll go from there, but we’re very happy to be going,” he said.
The Jr. Senators will open the RBC Cup when they face the Central representative Wellington Dukes on Saturday at 11 a.m. ET.
Jr. Sens headed west
With the Ottawa Jr. Senators’s win over College Francais de Longueuil on Sunday in the final of the Fred Page Cup, four of the five spots on the RBC Cup dance card have now been filled. With the FPC win, the Jr. Sens earned the right to become the Eastern representative.
The Junior A national championship tournament runs May 12-20 at the Prospera Centre in Chilliwack, B.C. As the host team, the Chilliwack Chiefs were the first register their name for the event.
Trouble is, the Chiefs bowed out of the British Columbia Hockey League playoffs in the preliminary round with a game seven loss to the Prince George Spruce Kings and haven’t played a game since March 11.
Add to that the fact that the Chiefs fired their coach Jason Tatarnic in a surprise move last week, so what to expect from the hosts is anyone’s guess.
The Pacific region will be represented by the Wenatchee Wild, BCHL champions and winners of the regional play-in Doyle Cup.
The Wellington Dukes claimed the Dudley Hewitt Cup regional tournament after being crowned champions of the Ontario Junior Hockey League and will be the Central representative in Chilliwack.
The only spot left to decide will be for the West representative.
That could come as early as Monday night. The Nipawin Hawks, winners of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, trail the Steinbach Pistons 3-2 in the best-of-seven Anavet Cup. The Pistons are the Manitoba Junior Hockey League champs.