Ottawa, Ontario – The Ottawa West Golden Knights will host the Ottawa Jr. Canadians inside the Barbara Ann Scott Arena on Thursday March 24th 2022 in game one of a best of five Martin Division Semi-Finals.
Game 1: Thursday March 24th @ 7:20pm – Barbara Ann Scott Arena
Game 2: Saturday March 26th @ 9:20pm – Earl Armstrong Arena
Game 3: Monday March 28th @ 7:20pm – Barbara Ann Scott Arena
*Game 4: TBA – Earl Armstrong Arena
*Game 5: Sunday April 3rd @ 4:30pm – Barbara Ann Scott Arena
The Ottawa West Golden Knights swept the season series 6-0 over the Ottawa Jr. Canadians
September 30th: Ottawa West 3, Ottawa 1
November 23rd: Ottawa West 5, Ottawa 2
December 9th: Ottawa West 4, Ottawa 2
February 8th: Ottawa West 7, Ottawa 2
March 5th: Ottawa West 4, Ottawa 0
March 7th: Ottawa West 10, Ottawa 3
Ottawa West’s Keys to Victory:
The Ottawa West Golden Knights finished first place overall in the EOJHL and the division for the second consecutive year. The Golden Knights had 33 wins out of 42 games this season. Head Coach of the Golden Knights Steve Sundin gives his thoughts on an impressive season.
“The majority of our team have been together for four years and because of covid, they didn’t get a chance to challenge for a league championship. They are a motivated group who are 20 years old and they know this is their last chance at winning the Barkley Cup. Its been a great regular season but that won’t matter unless we go deep into the playoffs.”
Ottawa West had thirteen 20 year olds on their roster this season. The squad was made back in 2018-19 when Sundin decided to go with a younger team at the time. In that season, they would lose in five games against Casselman in the Martin Division Semi-Finals. Ever since then, the Golden Knights have proven to be one of the top teams in the EOJHL.
Jack Haymes won the scoring title by collecting 29 goals, to go along with 58 assists and 87 points. Keon Troccoli-Roik was another 20 year old who improved on his game by scoring 30 goals, which led the team and had 63 points. Other players that were impressive during the season were Sean Kearns (52 PTS), Marco Haw (51 PTS), Max Bush (45 PTS), Nicolas McFarlane (37 PTS) and Sam Brown (29 PTS).
“As I have said, 90% of my players played together on either the Ottawa Sting or the Nepean Raiders AA teams. They were great rivals growing up and came together three years ago and have become a very good team. They have become very close as players, friends and they are very motivated to win the Barkley Cup,” said Sundin on the chemistry on and off the ice.
Another part of their success is defense and goaltending. It was mention that McFarlane had 37 points and Sam Brown collected 29 points. It wasn’t just Brown and McFarlane that had success for the Golden Knights, their were other key contributors such as Dempster, Graham, Mellios, Baldwin and two rookies in Storey and Almstedt. The goaltending this season fr Ottawa West were Jordan Provost and Josh McMaster.
“With the addition of Jordan Provost and Josh McMaster have made, they’re one of the best goaltending duo in our division. Our defense is made up of three 20 year old, one 19 year old’s and two 17 year old defensemans. They have come together and played great shut down hockey for us. Nick McFarlane and Sam Brown have lead our team in scoring from the back end,” said Sundin on the defense and goaltending.
Jordan Provost had to play in majority of the games throughout his first full season in a Golden Knights uniform. He played in 32 games by going 25-5-2, to go along with three shutouts, 2.08 GAA / .926 SV%. On the other hand, Josh McMaster went 8-2 in 12 games, to go along with one shutout, 2.76 GAA / .902 SV%.
Ottawa West did win the season series over OJC in six games, but it will be 0-0 when the playoffs begin. Sundin comments on the keys to victory in the series vs Ottawa.
“We need to play our game, use our speed and offence and not playing in our end, play in their end. They are coming off a great upset in the wild card round. They are playing with a lot of confidence and we had better be ready. These are the playoffs and the record in the regular season is out the window. We both start 0-0.”
Ottawa’s Keys to Victory:
The Ottawa Jr. Canadians are coming of a huge upset series win over Winchester by outscoring the opposition 6-to-2 during the two games. When Ottawa was tied against Winchester going into the third, the Jr. Canadians were able to lock down on defense when they got the lead in the third. Head Coach Tasso Vasilas was very impressed with the guys of how they would hang on in the third period during the two games in the series.
“The team seemed to get the defensive game together in the third period, that was the difference in the series. Throughout the season, the third period was our worst period. The lads did a great job to hold on even with the short bench in both games. It helped a lot. Baillie was outstanding when it counted.
Ottawa only played 14 skaters throughout the entre wild card series. Remember, this is a very young team with not much experience and lots of first year players. Andrew Carr had three points by collecting two goals and an assist which leads the team offensively.
“Andrew was a difference maker for sure, but for that matter, all our 04’s for their first every junior playoff series and being a heavy underdog did a really good job of putting defense first before offense,” said Vasilas on Carr being a big factor and the entire team.
Fraser added two assists in the series, while Dobson, Hunter, Kelleher and Papineau each tallied one goal. Rookie goaltender Connor Baillie average a 1.00 GAA and a .970 SV% during his first two playoff games of his EOJHL career.
“Connor Baillie was lights out. In the second game, he was called on to make a two or three on 0 breakaway and he came through with a massive save. He for sure was a big reason why we had success. He is a very calming goalie who you ever see rattled regardless of how many goals he or the team lets in. Baillie is a very positive individual who is a great teammate,” said Vasilas on Baillie’s great goaltending in the wild card series.
Vasilas also mentions that Winchester was a very good team throughout the season and very well coached. Their goalie, Lee, I thought had a very good series and also made some big saves. Vasilas said that Head Coach Bob Gould should be very proud of his squad and how well they played this season.
The next series for the Canadians will be even more tougher as they’ll have to take on the Golden Knights and have not won against them this season. Vasilas comments on the keys to victory against Ottawa West.
“The keys to victory are going to be to hold on like you are riding a bull. This is a bit like David versus Goliath. They finished 36 points ahead of us, they had 33 wins and we had 16 wins. We will do our best to try to limit the scoring opportunities they have and hold on. We of course will need the entire team including the goalie to be prepared and ready to face this powerhouse of a team. Steve has accumulated an outstanding team with some real veteran leads and very good goaltending.”
The biggest thing in this series will be discipline and team defense throughout the series. The Golden Knights will need to get their game to the next level by playing very strong offensively and great defensively, while for the Canadians, defense will need to come first in able to win this series. Both teams will need to stay out of the penalty box.