Ottawa blanks Portage in NJAC opener

By Jason La Rose, Hockey Canada

BROOKS, Alta. Francis Boisvert made 20 saves for the shutout, backstopping the Ottawa Jr. A Senators (CCHL) to a 3-0 win over the Portage Terriers (MJHL) in the opening game Saturday afternoon at the 2019 National Junior A Championship.

The Jr. A Senators have already accomplished something they didn’t a year ago in Chilliwack, B.C. – winning in regulation time. All four Ottawa games in the preliminary round went to overtime in 2018 (it went 2-2).

Darcy Walsh, Élie Boulerice and Kyle Jackson had a goal and an assist apiece for the Jr. Senators, who became just the second team to shut out the Terriers this season, and the first since Swan Valley on Jan. 19.

Ottawa wasted no time taking the lead; a mishandled puck at the Portage blue-line squirted through to Walsh, who went five-hole on goaltender Nathan Moore just 74 seconds after the puck dropped.

That was it for offence through the first 40 minutes, although both teams had their chances; the Jr. Senators hit a pair of posts behind Moore, while Boisvert sprawled to make a right-pad save on Scott Mickoski on a second-period power play.

Boulerice added insurance early in the third period, deftly redirecting a Bailey Brant shot past Moore, and Jackson wired in the 3-0 goal from the high slot with just over five minutes to go.

The Jr. Senators smothered Portage in the final frame, allowing just two shots on goal.

Ottawa held a 28-20 advantage in shots overall.

The East Region champions will enjoy an off day Sunday before taking on the Prince George Spruce Kings in the lone game Monday (7 p.m. MT), while the Terriers are back in action Sunday night against the host Brooks Bandits (7 p.m. MT).

Photo credit: Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images