Fifth Place Ottawa Jr. Canadians Play Second Place Casselman Vikings in Second-Round

Saturday, March 2, 2024. 1:00 am

The Ottawa Jr. Canadians took the first round of the Barkley Cup handily over the Char-Lan Rebels in a convincing sweep. Not that should come as a surprise but the offensive output witnessed by Ottawa in those three games was superb and for them hopefully a sign of things to come.

Game 1: Sunday, March 3rd, 2024 @ JR Brisson Complex
Game 2: Tuesday, March 5th, 2024 @ Earl Armstrong Arena
Game 3: Thursday, March 7th, 2024 @ JR Brisson Complex
Game 4: Saturday, March 9th, 2024 @ Earl Armstrong Arena
Game 5: Sunday, March 10th, 2024 @ JR Brisson Complex*
Game 6: Tuesday, March 12th, 2024 @ Earl Armstrong Arena*
Game 7: Thursday, March 14th, 2024 @ JR Brisson Complex
*if necessary

They will have their work cut out for them as they have to play the Casselman Vikings who have been top of the league from day one. They finished with an astounding 35 wins and only 9 losses. They have started to decline a bit finishing second in a tight race with the Ottawa West Golden Knights.



Five Vikings hit the point-per-game mark in this campaign with their leading scorer being Yan Bessete with 22 goals and 66 points in 37 games. He led a Casselman offense that seemed to be firing on all cylinders for the majority of the season averaging a league-leading 5.57 goals per game. The offensive juggernaut that is the Casselman The Vikings will be a tough unit to take down.

The Jr. Canadians although they didn’t have the same offensive output the first round is a good sign. In the three games against the Rebels, they picked up 7 goals-per-game en route to the sweep. Throughout the season, Ottawa averaged 3.20 goals-per-game which doesn’t touch the pace of Casselman. With the offensive resurgence in round one and the return of captain Liam Kelleher who totaled six points in the first round.



The Jr. Canadians are a very solid defensive team. They have a 2.50 goals against per game which should help put a good dent in the Casselman offense. In round one Ottawa only allowed 5 total goals which is less than two per game. Players like Joshua Weekes are key in these situations because they limit the transition chances by stopping the puck on the dump-outs and forcing offensive chances to the side.

Then you have big guys like Coen Quinn who love being physical which is a key thing against Casselman, especially when it comes to being able to step up and control the pace of play. The Vikings aren’t a slouch by any stretch of the imagination on defence allowing fewer goals than the Jr. Canadians by two for a total of 108 in 44 games for 2.45 goals against per game. They love to play a physical game which will have to be matched by Ottawa for them to have success in this series.



It is hard to give any team the advantage over Ottawa in the crease battle. Noah Paddock and Joshua Hawken have been lights out this year, and Paddock in the sweep only allowed 5 total goals across 180:00 on the ice. Hawken is a far more than serviceable backup for the playoffs as the two of them ranked in the top 10 of almost every goalie stat in the regular season. The Vikings will need to find a way to crack Paddock early in the series to be able to open their offensive gauntlet.

The Vikings goalies are capable of stealing a win or two here and there but the stats they put up over the season aren’t eye-popping. They were serviceable behind a juggernaut of a team with Gendron posting a .913 save percentage and a 2.42 GAA. Remi Hay his backup is a big shakier, having a sub .900sv% and a GAA above 3.00. Gendron will need to be able to rise to the occasion and make some key saves for Casselman in this series.

This best-of-seven series is a complete toss-up and could go either way. Casselman is coming off of a lot of rest which could be a good or bad thing depending on how they approach the series. The Jr. Canadians will need to ride their hot hand and start the goal-scoring early and often to give themselves a good chance.


OJC Media | Kaghlen Roberts

Photo & Graphic | Tyler Cyr