Ottawa, Ontario – The Ottawa West Golden Knights will host the Casselman Vikings in game one of their best of seven Martin Division Semi-Final on Monday March 9th inside the Barbara Ann Scott Arena.
Schedule: Ottawa West (36-6-2) vs. Casselman (27-13-4)
Game 1: Monday March 9th @ 7:20PM – Barbara Ann Scott Arena
Game 2: Tuesday March 10th @ 7:30PM – Jr Brisson Complex
Game 3: Thursday March 12th @ 7:20PM – Barbara Ann Scott Arena
Game 4: Sunday March 15th @ 7:30PM – Jr Brisson Complex
Game 5: Monday March 16th @ 7:20PM – Barbara Ann Scott Arena
Game 6: Thursday March 19th @ 7:30 PM – Jr Brisson Complex
Game 7: Saturday March 21st @ 7:20PM – Barbara Ann Scott Arena
Here we are again. For the fourth time in the last five years, Ottawa West and Casselman will play against each other in a playoff series. During the three series, Casselman has had Ottawa West’s number since CCHL2 existed. This series is expected to come down to the wire. Both teams are well coached and have lots of talent. This year, Ottawa West is the #1 seed in the league while Casselman aren’t that powerhouse team that we’ve seen in years pasts. Casselman is the fourth seed in the Martin Division and finished 7th overall in the CCHL2 league standings.
Ottawa West won the season series 3-1, outscoring Casselman 18-to-16. The last time these two teams met, it was on February 17th, and the Golden Knights beat Casselman 7-6 in OT.
The Vikings Keys to Victory:
Casselman Vikings assistant coach Geoff Seguin says this series will be different because they don’t have the scoring power that they used to have, we’re not the run and gun team that they used to have. On the other side, Ottawa West seems to be the other team that has the scoring punch. They’re the top seed and we’re underdogs so they has to claw every little inch.
Throughout the last three playoff series Casselman is 12-1 during the 13 games because they swept Ottawa West in 2016 and 2017. Last year they won in five games. In their Wild card series, Casselman did win the series 2-0 over Winchester but according to Seguin it was a hard fought battle.
“Winchester came out guns and blazing. Got a bit lucky in Game 1 in the first period where we got outplayed, but very opportunistic. We scored two quick goals, which set the tone for the balance of game 1. Game 2 we were a little more opportunistic on power plays and special teams. Strong goaltending from Nicholas Campbell who got the job for us Wednesday night.”
Shawn Patterson (2G / 1A), Alexandre Charlebois (1G / 2A) and Mathieu Talbot (3A) each tallied three points throughout the two games. One guy that Casselman had stepping up in Game 2 was Nicolas Chartrand who scored twice including the game winner. Seguin added that they were happy that Charts (Nicolas Chartrand), he’s been griping the stick a bit, having lots of scoring chances.
The key in this series for Casselman will be goaltending and Special teams. Everytime, Casselman goes on the power play, they will need to capitalize. The Vikings were 2-for-7 (28.6%) on the man advantage against Winchester and their penalty kill was only 66.7% which will need to improve because the Golden Knights had the #1 power play during the regular season.
The Golden Knights Keys to Victory:
The Golden Knights loss in five games last season, but this year, they are the best team in the league and will need to prove themselves in this series that they are the #1 team in this league. Ottawa West Golden Knights Head Coach Steve Sundin says they need to capitalize on the power play and take advantage right away.
The Golden Knights power play was 27.1% during the regular season which ranks 1st among teams in this league. The story of the season was the line of Noah Haymes, Jack Haymes and Sean Kearns who had so much chemistry throughout the season Kearns led the team in assists (47) and points (74). He was also tied for goals with Jack Haymes at 27.
N. Haymes collected 26 goals, 34 assists and 60 points while playing in 43 games and J. Haymes had 27 goals, 40 assists and 67 points in 37 games for his first season in CCHL Tier 2. Sundin also mentions that the top line is also their power play unit and will need to capitalize. The second key to victory is that the Golden Knights can’t rely on their top unit, they’ll need secondary scoring.
“I need the secondary scoring throughout the series. I need Gallivan, Edwards, Mellios, Brush and Trocolli-Roik. I need everybody,” said Sundin.
The goaltending situation is 1A and 1B this season because both Brent Pledge-Dickson and William McEvoy were tremendous in between the pipes. It’s undetermined on who will start in Game 1 and in this series. McEvoy went 19-1, to go along with two shutouts, posting a 2.07 GAA / .923 SV% and ended the season by going on a 16 game winning streak.
On the other hand, Brent Pledge-Dickson is in his third season of CCHL2 hockey and was 17-5-1, to go along with two shutouts, posting a 2.55 GAA / .919 SV%.
“The addition of Pledge-Dickson was huge for us. We needed to get a goaltender that was a #1 stopper and a 19 year old and he has answered the bell. We’ve had four or five practices and he looks really good. I’m really confident that he can carry the load for us.” said Sundin on Plege-Dickson this season.
Special teams, discipline, secondary scoring and goaltending will be key for the Golden Knights in their series against Casselman.
The Vikings have had the Golden Knights number over the last three playoff series, but this will be a close series. Casselman are the underdogs and don’t have the scoring power in years past and Ottawa West has lots of depth this season. Fans won’t be surprised if this series goes longer. Last year, Casselman won in five games last year.