Ottawa, Ontario – The Casselman Vikings will host the Char-Lan Rebels in game one of their best of three Richardson Division Wild Card series on Thursday March 17th 2022 inside the Jr Brisson Complex.
Schedule: Casselman (23-15-4) vs. Char-Lan (14-22-6)
Game 1: Thursday March 17th @ 7:30PM – Jr Brisson Complex
Game 2: Saturday March 19th @ 8:00PM – Char-Lan Recreation Centre
Game 3: Sunday March 20th @ 7:30PM – Jr Brisson Complex
During the season series, both teams had three wins a piece. All of the games except one game was a one goal contest. Casselman is the fourth seed and will have home ice in this wild card series, while Char-Lan makes it into the post season for the first time since 2018-19 season.
October 28th: Casselman 4, Char-Lan 3
November 2nd: Char-Lan 4, Casselman 3 (SO)
November 13th: Casselman 4, Char-Lan 0
December 9th: Char-Lan 3, Casselman 2
February 12th: Char-Lan 1, Casselman 0
February 17th: Casselman 3, Char-Lan 2
Casselman’s Keys to Victory:
The Casselman Vikings since the third game of the season were mostly playing short throughout the season. Assistant Coach of the Casselman Vikings Geoff Seguin says team play overall was pretty good, despite having to deal with some injuries and other commitments.
It was tough start to start the second half of the season by going 2-4 in the first six games, but Casselman always finds a way to pick up big wins when needed.
“It’s all credit to the guys that tries to win every shift, period etc. The guys went above and beyond on what we could expect with the schedule we had, but hats off to them for coming out every night. We haven’t had the same lineup once since the third game of the regular season. Other than that, we’ve been having almost having musical chairs on whos in and whos out.” said Seguin.
Xavier Borgia led the team with 21 goals and 38 points during his first full regular season with the Casselman Vikings.
“He was one of the only guys that played in every game except the last regular season game back on Sunday. Progressed a lot when he showed up, the first couple of weeks of the season he was outstanding and then slowed down because he wasn’t playing with the same people. I tried to finding him a good role. Since we came back after the break, I think he is one of the guys that keeps himself in top shape.”
Casselman had a lot of leaders heading into this season with the captain Mathieu Talbot, who picked up 30 points in 38 games as a 20 year old. Casselman has six other 20 year olds in Alex Charlebois, Stuart Taylor, Frederick Gagnier, Nicolas Chartrand, Jacob Dyer and Alex Simard. These guys will need to be big in this wild card series in able to be successful. Seguin comments on them leaders that Casselman had this season.
“These guys dug deep, they haven’t played meanful hockey since the 2020 playoffs in game 2 against Ottawa West before the shut down on March 13th. That age group didn’t get as much ice time than the other young guys had, so its harder for the age group to stay in game shape. It was tough at the beginning of the second half, but things progressed, they stayed positive and kept the room tight.
The goaltending was led by the hometown native Zachari Racine, who played in 27 games and went 15-10-1, to go along with two shutouts, 2.28 GAA / .927 SV%. He’s going to be the goalie to be on the lookout for this series.
“He’s a local kid that were very pleased with. I’m glad that he came back this year. He decided that schooling was more important than hockey and it actually helped him to clear his head. You know how goalies, things cane be funny sometimes, but mostly his mindset is concentrating on school. He comes to the rink and has a simple mentality of going out and having fun. It seems to show a lot more this year than it did during his first couple of season.” said Seguin
Seguin said the biggest keys to victory in a series against Char-Lan is trying to show up with a healthy staff and hopefully outlast them in the short series. We need a couple of bounces to score goals, getting a big of a natural scoring touch. Two small rinks and two teams that are based on speeds. As much as you can prepare the guys in junior hockey, there is a lot of unknown factors that show up during game time.
Char-Lan’s Keys to Victory:
There were a lot of ups and downs as the season progressed for Head Coach Jeff Carter on his team. It wasn’t the best start for this team but ended the season on a great note.
“The season started rough losing both our goalies and starting only three veteran players. It took us seventeen games before we got Dominic Marquis in net and Felix Dubeau was playing most of the first half. The season stabilized with the strong goaltending from both goalies in the second half.” said Head Coach of the Char-Lan Rebels Jeff Carter.
Dominic Marquis was picked up mid November by playing some call up games for Char-Lan. After those games, he was called upon to play throughout the second half. Marquis went 6-6-2 in 17 games, to go along with two shutouts, 3.00 GAA / .912 SV%. On the other hand, Felix Dubeau was outstanding in between the pipes as a 20 year old. He was 6-12 in 22 games, with a 3.65 GAA / .888 SV%. The key to victory for Char-Lan is goaltending.
“I think goaltending will be a huge factor in this series. Both teams are strong in net and we will have to find a way to create offense to beat Racine and be strong to the net to score,” said Carter.
Another part of Char-Lan’s success this season was the leading scorers on the team. Cuyler Molinaro collected 32 points by scoring 21 goals, Devon St-Jean had 10 goals and 18 assists in all 42 games and Tyler Branchaud had 21 points in 34 games this season.
“Molinaro, St-Jean and Branchaud have played very well down the last 10 games, coming alive by putting up some points and playing really well in our last 7-8 games. All three got better all season and are first year players,” said Carter.
Another key to victory for Char-Lan is their defensive core according to Carter.
“Our defense lead by MacPherson, Salterelli and Dillion Spinner will have to play at the top of their game to lead the Rebels in this series. Casselman plays physical, so our D will have to match their intensity and move pucks in order to score.
Josh Esford led all defenseman’s on the team with 19 points while Hunter MacPherson had 18 points on the back end. MacPherson, Salterelli and Spinner will need to be big in a three game series in order to be successful.
Char-Lan is a very young team on paper with only three 20 year olds and a lot of young players from 18 year olds and below. A lot of these players for Char-Lan will get a taste on what playoff hockey is like. Casselman has some guys that have the playoff experience in the past, but Casselman needs to stay healthy in able to win this series and take their game to another level.