By Jason La Rose, Hockey Canada
BROOKS, Alta. – Peyton Reeves scored once in each period to spark the Oakville Blades (OJHL) to a 7-4 win over the Ottawa Jr. A Senators (CCHL) on Thursday afternoon and third place in the preliminary round at the 2019 National Junior A Championship.
The Blades, who evened their prelim record at 2-2, have now doubled their win total from their first two trips to the national tournament; they went 1-3 in 2008 and were winless in four games in 2010.
Kyle Potts added a goal and two assists for the Blades, who will face the loser of the round-robin finale between the Brooks Bandits (AJHL) and Prince George Spruce Kings (BCHL) in Saturday’s semifinals (time to be confirmed).
Reeves got the Oakville offence going on the power play just past the five-minute mark, taking a cross-seam pass from Spencer Kersten and wiring a shot upstairs on the short side past Ottawa goaltender Francis Boisvert.
Kyle Jackson got the Jr. Senators back even at 9:02 with a quick wrist shot that went through the legs of the Oakville defenceman and beat netminder Chris Elliot over the glove.
Boisvert left the game with an apparent injury midway through the opening frame, giving way to Joshua Ward.
Tanner McEachern put the Blades back in front before the end of the first, knocking in a centring pass from Alton McDermott after McDermott forced a turnover at the Ottawa blue-line.
The offensive floodgates opened in the second period; the teams combined for five goals and 34 shots.
Ryan O’Hara netted the 3-1 goal just 2:20 into the middle frame, outracing and outmuscling a defender before poking a shot past Ward, only for Danny Pion to beat Elliot over the far-side shoulder for a power-play goal just 70 seconds later.
Christian Girhiny connected for a shorthanded goal just past the nine-minute mark, crashing the net to jam home a pass from Kyle Potts, and Reeves redirected in a Garrett Pyke shot to make it 5-2.
Darcy Walsh got the Jr. Senators one closer late in the second stanza, letting go a point shot that popped up and over Elliot to make it a two-goal game after 40 minutes. Potts stuffed in a loose puck five minutes into the third period, and Reeves finished off his hat trick with a shorthanded empty-net goal at 13:08 after Ottawa pulled its goalie in a desperate attempt to close the gap.
Colin Marshall added a late consolation goal for the Jr. Senators, who will take on the winner of the Brooks-Prince George showdown in its semifinal on Saturday.
Photo credit: Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images