For members of the Ottawa Jr. Senators, it was a rather painful experience to watch.
Flashback to late April of 2016. The Jr. Senators had come as close as they could get to winning a league title.
But the Ottawa squad was downed by the host Carleton Place Canadians in Game 7 of their best-of-seven Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) championship final.
After the obligatory post-series handshakes, the Ottawa club could have quietly gone to its dressing room to commence its lengthy process of wondering what could have been.
Instead, the Jr. Senators coaching staff decided to keep their charges on the ice. And with many of the Ottawa players in tears, they watched the Canadians celebrate and hoist the league trophy they desperately wanted to win themselves.
Ottawa’s head coach Martin Dagenais believes that to better appreciate the significance of winning something of this calibre, one must also have felt the tremendous pain of a loss.
“It was tough, especially for some of the older guys that are gone now,” Dagenais said of the decision to keep his team on the ice while their Carleton Place counterparts celebrated. “We thought it was a sign of respect as well. That’s the way we play and coach.”
Dagenais still insists it was the right thing to do. And he’s hoping those with his squad now will benefit from that painful episode in this year’s CCHL championship series.
That’s right. The Jr. Senators, despite having five rookie defencemen on their roster, have once again qualified for the league finals.
And it’s not really much of a surprise who they will face in the championship series – the powerhouse Canadians, who not only won last year’s title but are the three-time defending league champs.
As of Tuesday morning, dates for matches in the CCHL final had yet to be announced. But the series is expected to begin either Friday or Saturday in Carleton Place.
Despite being the Number 3 seed in the playoffs, the Jr. Senators had a quicker route to the final than the top-ranked Canadians.
Ottawa downed the sixth-seeded Brockville Braves 4-1 in their best-of-seven quarterfinal series. And the Jr. Senators then swept the second-ranked Cornwall Colts in the minimum four matches in their semifinal affair.
Like Ottawa, Carleton Place also needed five games to eliminate the eighth-seeded Nepean Raiders in their quarterfinal series. And the Canadians had to play six contests before ousting the Kemptville 73’s in their semi.
Ottawa and Carleton squared off five times in regular season action and the Canadians emerged victorious three times in those battles.
Dagenais realizes his squad faces a huge challenge in trying to dethrone the Canadians. But he is obviously hoping for a different ending in this year’s CCHL final.
“It should be a close series,” he said. “But the last time I said that we swept Cornwall in four games. I’m hoping we don’t get swept in the finals.”Back to Top
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