The Ottawa Junior Senators are heading back to Canada’s junior A hockey championships.
The Senators, who earned a berth in the final with a buzzer-beating win over the host Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers on Saturday, scored four times in the second period to blow open a 2-0 lead en route to a 9-2 win over the top-seeded Princeville Titan to claim the Fred Page Cup for a second consecutive year.
“It’s a nice feeling. It’s a little different when you win 9-2 so the emotions weren’t too high,” Senators forward Darcy Walsh said after the game. “It’s been one heck of a ride.”
Walsh did not expect such a wide margin in the Fred Page Cup final after losing a close-checking, penalty-filled match to the Titan on the second day of the tournament.
“They have a very good team over there. We never expected we’d win this way,” Walsh said. “We had a couple of lucky bounces and a couple of lucky goals, but the guys worked hard and definitely deserved it.”
After Connor Smart and Owen Cole scored in the first period, Elie Boulerice, Christoher Piche, Ethan Manderville and Kyle Jackson scored in the middle period to give the defending champs a 6-0 lead.
Matthew Newbury broke Francis Boivert’s shutout just 1:30 into the final period, but Geoffrey Dempster scored two times and Piche added his second goal of the game in the third.
Alex Plamondon rounded out scoring for Ottawa.
Ottawa heads to the national championship tournament in Brooks, Alta
Head coach Martin Dagenais said it was an unreal feeling to win the Fred Page Cup for a second consecutive season, especially considering his club didn’t get the bye and it has been more than a decade since the team that won the bye had been defeated in the final.
“We came out and had two really strong periods,” Dagenais said. “To win 10-1 last year in the final last year with the bye and 9-2 this year without the bye speaks volumes about the character of these guys.”
Degenais said the winning goal on Saturday gave his club lots of momentum after letting a 3-1 third period lead slip away.
The Ottawa coach said he told his players to stay away from the rough stuff that dominated Thursday’s game a 4-3 overtime loss that saw four five-minute majors called and more than 70 minutes in penalties.
“We told our guys to stay away from that stuff because it’s not us. We play classy, win or lose,” he said. “Karma does good things sometimes and I thought we deserved it.”
The Senators showed their depth bouncing back from losing a pair of players in the round robin game against Princeville, including defenceman Adrien Bisson – who’s regarded as one of the top defencemen in the Central Canada Hockey League, and forward Colin Marshall.
On Saturday, the tournament presented the MVP award to Princeville goalie Mathieu Bellemare, while Walsh, from Ottawa, shared the top scorer award with Princeville’s Alex Plamondon. Ottawa’s Kyle Jackson was named most sportsmanlike player.
Following Sunday’s final the tournament all-star team was named including: Bellemare in goal, Marc-Eric Bourque of Princeville and Noah McMullin of Yarmouth on defence and Walsh, Jackson and Plamondon as top forwards.