CHILLIWACK, B.C. – Finn Evans tipped in a Zachary Salloum wrist shot just 61 seconds into overtime, giving the Ottawa Jr. Senators a come-from-behind 2-1 win over the Wellington Dukes in the curtain-raiser Saturday afternoon at the 2018 RBC Cup.
With the Jr. Senators on their eighth power play of the game, Evans parked himself at the top of the crease and redirected the winner past Wellington goaltender Jonah Capriotti.
The game was a battle of Ontario, with the champions of the Ontario Junior Hockey League and Central Canada Hockey League facing off. The win by Ottawa means the CCHL has won five of the last six meetings, although the OJHL still holds a 6-5 edge overall.
After three early man advantages failed to produce a goal for Ottawa, the Dukes took over in the first period and opened the scoring on a power play of their own; Frank Pucci picked up a Mason Snell rebound at the side of the net and buried the 1-0 goal.
The Jr. Sens got even early in the second when Evans sprung Elie Boulerice, who raced down the right wing and picked his spot past the blocker of Capriotti to make it 1-1.
Capriotti and Ottawa counterpart Connor Hicks took over from there, going save for save – including point-blank beauties at both ends of the ice – to get the game to an extra period. Capriotti finished with 24 stops, while Hicks answered with 21 of his own.
“I thought we came out hard. Our power play wasn’t great, which is usually not the case for us. We have to adjust to the ice surface as it’s a little soft right now because of the heat outside. We’re going to have to keep it simple. It will be a completely different game but it’s the same for both teams, so we just have to adjust.
“Finn [forward Finn Evans] is Finn. He found a way to get on the board and we’ll take it. Whether it’s Finn or some of the other top guys we have up front, I think we still have more to bring and hopefully we’ll see that tomorrow.”
Martin Dagenais, head coach of the Ottawa Jr. Senators, shares his thoughts on his team’s win and a two-point performance by Finn Evans
“With four-on-four hockey, there’s a lot more space to make plays and use your speed. I was just trying to get the puck to the net on the first shift and it worked out for me.”
Lucas Sowder, forward for the Wenatchee Wild, on his game-winning goal 18 seconds into overtime
“It was good. We had a mini-training camp during the six weeks we had off, so we were really pushing the pace and working hard. Getting back into a game was a little different. They [Wenatchee] are such a fast team, and that helped us get going right away.”
Daniel Chenard, goaltender for the Chilliwack Chiefs, shares his thoughts on getting back into a game
The Jr. Senators will look to make it back-to-back wins when they take on the host Chilliwack Chiefs on Sunday night (7 p.m. PT), while the Dukes are off until a meeting with the Steinbach Pistons on Monday (7 p.m. PT).