Hey everybody, my name is Josh and Peter has been kind enough to bring me on board to update you guys on the latest from down on the farm in the Senators' system. I work in Central New York, and primarily cover the Elmira Jackals for a local television station in the area.
I do, unfortunately, feel like it's necessary to inform you all that I am a Flyers fan, (***Hides***) but I loved Luke Richardson when he used to patrol the blue-line in Philly... and Jason Smith was the ultimate competitor (and also resides in my avatar picture).
... Okay, it feels better to have gotten that out of the way.
Here's how this column will work: Peter and I discussed me recapping the last week of action for Elmira, as well as highlighting any stand-out prospects that you guys may have your eyes on. So, before I go any further, if you ever have any specific interest about an Ottawa prospect that you would like to get an update on/hear more about, don't hesitate to contact me on SB Nation. I'd be more than happy to get you what you need.
On top of weekly recaps and prospect news, I am hopeful that I'll be able to do some short features for the site as well during the days that I'll be posting. Being that this is a smaller area, media numbers are also smaller. Therefore, we have a ton of access to players and coaches and I should be able to get you guys some different angles from time to time.
Alright, there's my brief intro, now on to the reason why you probably clicked on this post:
ELMIRA JACKALS (33-22-7) 75 Points. Second Place in Atlantic Division, Fourth in Eastern Conference
THE WEEK THAT WAS (1-2-0)
March 7: Trenton 4, Elmira 2
March 9: Elmira 6, Orlando 5 (OT)
March 10: Reading 3, Elmira 1
Andrew Rowe: Rowe, who was originally a Flyers draft pick, came to the Jackals this off-season and has been great for Elmira this season - when he's been in the line-up. He's one of those prototypical "in-between" guys, who will bounce from the AHL (Norfolk) to the ECHL seemingly every couple of weeks. But when he's been in Elmira, he's been one of their best forwards. In 57 games with the Jackals, Rowe has put up 60 points, and is 14th in the ECHL with 24 goals on the year. In the Jackals' three games last week, Rowe had two goals and three assists, including the first four-point game of his career in the overtime win against Orlando.
Max Clermont: Max is the only guy currently on the Jackals roster with an NHL contract, as he is property of the New Jersey Devils, but he's been in Elmira since the seasons changed from autumn to winter, when he was sent to the Jackals by the Albany Devils. Clermont actually was the back-up for a lot of his time in Elmira this season, due to the fact that current B-Sens netminder Marc Cheverie was Elmira's #1 guy for the majority of the year - until the injuries hit Ottawa, and the call-up, trickle-down effect hit Binghamton and Elmira. However, in a starting role, Clermont has been solid. He's 2-1-0 in his last three starts, and has 17 wins to his name; a career high. With three more wins, Clermont can become only the fourth goaltender in franchise history to hit the 20-win club.
March 15: Jackals at Reading - Elmira and Reading (Washington's ECHL affiliate) have become fierce rivals over the last couple of seasons, with last year's playoff series allowing the two teams to stir up quite a bit of hatred for one another. After falling behind two games to none in the best-of-five series, Elmira proceeded to win three straight against Reading, shocking the Royals, and knocking them out of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. They've continued to share a mutual dislike this year. And, to no one's surprise, the Jackals and first-place Royals are battling for the top spot in the Atlantic Division. Currently, Elmira trails Reading by nine points in the Atlantic Division, with a game in hand. This is the 15th matchup between the two teams this year - gotta love the ECHL, right?
March 17: Jackals at Trenton - In contrast to Reading, the Titans (Philadelphia's ECHL affiliate) are a cellar-dweller in the Atlantic. The Titans have 60 points on the year, but they have been dangerous lately, having won 6 of their last ten, including a win over Elmira last week. However, Elmira seems to like playing in Trenton, where they have won four games this season, the most they've won in any road building this year.
The Jackals have been playing their best hockey as the regular season has started to wind down, which is obviously a good thing. Elmira has won five of eight, including divisional wins over Wheeling (twice) and Trenton. Provided that things stay as they are (which is highly unlikely given the up-and-down nature of player movement in the ECHL), Max Clermont should see the majority of the work in net down the stretch. While Andrew Rowe leads Elmira in points, their most consistent line has been the trio of Kevin Harvey (11-17-28), Jordan Pietrus (16-31-47), and Rob Bellamy (16-21-37). Originally, that was a group counted on to be an energy line, but they've been surprisingly high point-producers as well. Bellamy and Pietrus were both Jackals last season, and have gained a strong reputation with fans in town as hard-working, team-oriented guys. The fact that they are scoring just adds another positive dimension. Elmira has nine games left in the regular season, and while the chance of repeating as regular season Eastern Conference Champs is highly unlikely, the Jackals still have an opportunity to make some headway in the division, and look to be in pretty good shape to finish in the East's top eight.