Ottawa, Ontario – Tonight the Ottawa Jr Canadians host the Char-Lan Rebels in game one of their best of seven Martin Division Semi-Final.
Schedule: Ottawa (39-4-1) vs. Char-Lan (20-20-4)
Game 1 Tuesday March 5th in OJC @ 7:20pm
Game 2 Thursday March 7th in Williams Town @ 8:00pm
Game 3 Saturday March 9th in OJC @ 7:20pm
Game 4 Sunday March 10th in Williams Town @ 3:00pm
Game 5 Tuesday March 12th in OJC @ 7:20pm *If necessary
Game 6 Thursday March 14th in Williams Town @ 7:30pm *If necessary
Game 7 Saturday March 16th in OJC @ 7:20pm *If necessary
The last time the Ottawa Jr Canadians finished first in the league standings was in 2012-13, and they won the EOJHL championship. For the Char-Lan Rebels, they’re back in the playoffs for the first time since 2015-16, and are coming off a Wild Card Series win over the Alexandria Glens. The last time the Rebels advanced past the first round was in 2014-15.
People have said that you can compare the Ottawa Jr Canadians roster to some Jr. A clubs. They are this years powerhouse team, with a first line player on every line and every defensive pairing. They also have two Jr. A caliber goalies who set single season goalie records this year. For the Rebels, they aren’t looked at as the deepest team, but showed a lot of character in the last series. They are a fast team that relies on goaltending and their top six unit.
Ottawa’s Keys to Victory:
There is a reason why the Canadians finished the regular season with 39-wins and 79-points. They are fast, tough, skilled, good defensively and have great goaltending. Assistant Coach Stuart Battrick said that they must stick to their gameplan and nothing else.
“The key for us is to play our game and make them match our pace. Our attention to detail and work ethic is what has made us successful all year and that won’t change in the playoffs.”
The Canadians consistently play everyone no matter what the score is. They had 14-players record 20 or more points this season.
“One of our biggest strengths is the depth of our lineup. Being able to play all four lines in a playoff series is huge. Keeping guys fresh and engaged is very important,” said Battrick.
Like every other coach, Battrick knows that staying out of the box is key.
“In the playoffs penalties can make or break games. We are fortunate that our special teams has been very good this year, but we would much rather stay out of the box and be disciplined. Playoff hockey is a different animal. More players finish their checks, the intensity is ramped up, that’s the way playoffs are. Being focused on what it takes to win, and staying disciplined is important.”
The Ottawa Jr. Canadians have not played in two weeks. In 2016-17, the two week break got to the Golden Knights, and they got off to a tough start in the playoffs. Battrick believes this is not the case this year.
“A two week break has its positives and negatives. The positive is that we get to rest some bumps and bruises. Char-Lan has a had some intense playoff games, and they are already in playoff mode. We are fortunate to have some veterans who have been there before and know what to expect. For the rest of the guys, it’s going to be important for them to focus on one shift at a time and follow the veterans as an example.”
CharLan’s Keys to Victory:
The Char-Lan Rebels are coming into this series on a high note, and with a hot goaltender. Grant Craig made all three starts against Alexandria and recorded two shutouts, facing 106 total shots. He is the biggest key to the series.
“Grant Craig and Julien Cholette will have to bring their A game for us to compete in this series. Grant made some great saves at key times that got us through the Glens series,” said Head Coach Jeff Carter.
Like Battrick mentioned, Carter says you need to be careful about the Canadians depth, “Ottawa has a lot depth at every position and are heavy favorite to win the league. The only way we are going to have a chance is to play a great defensively, limit their chances and be very disciplined in our team systems.”
The veterans will have to step it up in this series, and there is not question about that. Carter says thier young team will need great leadership from Markell, Sabourin, Ferland and their goaltending tandem to win the series.
The great thing about this series is that you have one team being the underdog and the other being the powerhouse. Both of these will not take each other lightly as they are both well coached and have a lot of speed. Expect this to be a close series, no matter how many games it goes to.