Three-game homestand proves fruitful for Nats

Par Raymond Berthiaume
Three-game homestand proves fruitful for Nats
Nats hockey

Taking on the league leader, the Ottawa Junior Senators, on Friday, February 24, the Nats were certainly hoping to make a stand against the division’s top team. Having lost to the Junior Senators on both occasions so far this season, the home side came away disappointed with the outcome.

The Junior Senators would dominate the game through all three periods. Despite a low-scoring first period consisting of a late Ottawa goal, the visitors opened the gap considerably in the second, scoring three more compared to just the Nats single goal courtesy of Peter Freel to bring the score to 4-1.

Five goals for Ottawa in the second extended their lead to eight before Jovan Malay, scoring his first goal of the season for the Nats, would give Rockland a late consolation prize, lighting the lantern with 14 seconds left.

Rockland was held to just 21 shots on goal compared to Ottawa’s 38, with Hadyn Gould stopping 20 of 24 shots through the second period, Maël Gendron, a Rockland native, would bear the brunt of the Junior Senators third period blitz, stopping nine of the 14 shots on target.

The Nats’ Sunday night game would prove much more valuable for the Nats, despite a rocky start, who welcomed the Brockville Braves for their second home game in a row.

Another slow start put the Nats on the back foot with Brockville scoring an unanswered goal in the first, tacking on three more (two on powerplays) in the second. The Nats’ Zach Power and Jonathan Swyer would break up the visitors’ goal scoring with one each of their own.

Nats captain Yanic Crête put the home side within one early in the third, followed soon after by Jordan Prepszl to force the Braves into overtime.

A scoreless overtime gave the Nats the chance to add another two points to the season’s tally. Crête, Bradley Leblanc and Tim Cousineau scored to give Rockland the victory.

The final game to round out the three-game homestead brought the second-place Navan Grads to the Rockland arena.

A low-scoring game, compared to the 19 goals in the previous two, meant just one goal in the second put the Grads ahead. But thanks to a 15th minute powerplay goal in the third period, the Nats’ Zach Power capitalized brought the game to another scoreless overtime. Just one shootout goal from Tim Cousineau was enough to give the home team another two points.

The Nats continue a busy week, kicking off March with three games in four days against Brockville, Kemptville and the Ottawa Junior Senators, March 1, 3 and 4, respectively.

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