Kicking off the Ottawa Senators’ 2017 rookie tournament, their first opponent was the Montreal Canadiens, who were just coming off a 5-2 win the night before against Toronto. The evening boasted high-octane offence, especially for Ottawa, as they pulled away and then lapped the Habs a few times for an 8-2 victory.
The first period began on a high note from Ottawa, as a quick rush from the opening faceoff led to a pile-up in front of Habs goalie Antoine Samuel, with the follow-up play resulting in a goal for Sens captain Jack Rodewald. The goal came 18 seconds in, with assists going to Logan Brown and Francis Perron; a perfect way to get hockey season underway!
It didn’t take very long for Montreal to pounce back, however, as a scramble in front ended with the puck in the Sens’ net. Defenceman Victor Mete was credited with the goal, playing against his London Knights teammate Alex Formenton. Marcus Hogberg didn’t have a chance on the play, as he the puck was tipped in front and he was being heavily screened.
The third goal of the game came less than a minute later, with Ottawa regaining the lead. A nifty defensive play by Colin White broke the puck up, which went to Max Lajoie who led the rush. Lajoie fed a swift pass up to tournament invite Matteo Gennaro, who made no mistake in sniping it short side.
Ottawa extended their lead even further to make the game 3-1 before the end of the first. Gabriel Gagné found the back of the net after an odd set of deflections. Nevertheless, the Sens had control of the game heading into the second period, leading in shots 16-13.
The second period saw the play settle down, with both teams causing more turnovers and less sustained pressure. Gagné had a good chance on a breakaway early, but couldn’t put it past Samuel. An odd man rush shortly thereafter created a scramble in front, with 18-year-old invite Parker Kelly potting the rebound to increase the lead to 4-1.
The offence kept rolling from there. The player we were all hoping to have a great game, Thomas Chabot, was quarterbacking the power play alongside Christian Jaros. Chabot dished the puck to Jaros, who fired an accurate shot just past the pad of Samuel. That would be the last of the Habs invite goalie as well, as they brought in Michael McNiven, who was their started the night before.
Video from Jaskarlsson (@jaskyyy)
Kurt Kleinendorst, the coach for the Belleville Senators, gave an interview earlier where he talked about the systems used in the tournament. He uses a lot of the same tactics of Guy Boucher, who he says he’s learned a lot from. It showed especially on the power play, as they were using nearly the exact same set up.
The Sens headed into the third period confident, doubling Montreal in shots 18-9 in that period alone. The offence was flaring, on pace for 51 shots on goal by the end of the game.
With Ottawa leading by a commanding four goals, the score effects started to kick in. Both teams became more passive in the neutral zone, with the Sens continuing to get the better end of sustained offensive pressure.
The goals didn’t stop coming, though, as Thomas Chabot fed Filip Chlapik on a 2-on-1 to improve the lead to 6-1. Jordan Topping banked in a shot off of Martin Reway to go up 7-1, Thomas Ebbing (MTL) was left open to get one back for Montreal, and Logan Brown received a sweet feed from Rodewald to get it right back. It was a high-scoring affair in Montreal, as the clock wound down for the Sens to finish with a commanding 8-2 victory.
Fun stat from the Sens’ communications department:
#SensRooks saw eight different players record at least one point over the three-game (2-0-1) rookie tournament in 2016. 14 did so tonight.
It was that kind of game.
This is only one game, so take these observations very lightly until we can gather a clearer picture.
- Thomas Chabot, as expected, was fantastic. He ended the night with three assists, and although he had a sketchy defensive play on Montreal’s first goal, he completely made up for it with his skating and passing.
- As for the forwards, Jack Rodewald was noticeable, making good zone transitions and smart plays offensively. Added a couple points as well, although considering he’s one of the oldest players in the tournament at 23, this should be expected.
- Gabriel Gagné was also very noticeable in terms of the amount of effort he put in, a good sign of improvement on one of his most common critiques. He used his size effectively, muscling opponents off the puck.
- Swiss invite Pius Suter saw some time on the penalty kill, although was mostly held back to the 4th line. Very odd for a player that could’ve been playing professional hockey in Switzerland on the same day./
The Sens take to the ice again tomorrow, at 4:00 p.m. And yes, this one will be live-streamed.