Brandon McNally (Craig Glover/The London Free Press)

LONDON, ON. — The Canadiens entered the final day of the 2015 Rookie Tournament with a 1-0-1 record. Their opponents on day three were rookies from the Ottawa Senators. If you missed the overtime thriller against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday you can find my recap here. And you will find the recap of Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs here.

Game-day Skate

On the final day of the 2015 Rookie Tournament in London, Ontario,  both the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators canceled their game-day skates.

The Montreal Canadiens director of player development Martin Lapointe spoke to the media.

Pre-game

Canadiens Zach Fucale and Senators Matt O’Connor will be in their respective goals for this game. The scratches for the Senators were Mikael Wikstrand, Nick Paul (injury), Buddy Robinson (injured – blocked a shot off the shin/knee area in the game against Toronto) and Gabriel Gagne. For the Canadiens, standouts Joel Hanley and Ryan Johnston were the scratches on defense and forwards Connor Crisp (one goal vs Maple Leafs) and Sam Studnicka. Drawing in up front were Dryden Hunt and Brandon McNally.

Forward lines:

Daniel Carr – Charles Hudon – Jeremy Gregoire
Tim Bozon – Michael McCarron – Nikita Scherbak
Jeremy Addison – Daniel Audette – Dryden Hunt
Brandon McNally – Angelo Miceli – Jamal Watson

Defense pairings:

Mac Bennett – Brett Lernout
Josiah Didier – Travis Brown
Simon Bourque – Dalton Thrower

Goaltenders:

Zach Fucale
Michael McNiven (back-up)

First Period

The first period was a little bit of a sleeper with both teams feeling out the opponent. Before the puck even dropped, Senators Travis Ewanyk gave Canadiens Michael McCarron a little shot. Several penalties on each side followed. The Canadiens and Senators had two power-plays each in the period but none were successful. Jeremiah Addison and Simon Bourque had the penalties for Montreal while Thomas Chabot and Ben Harpur had the Senators two minors.

The Senators took a 1-0 lead from a beautiful stretch pass which led to a Francis Perron tap in. The rough stuff started shortly after as the Canadiens Jeremy Gregoire dropped the gloves with the Senators Vincent Dunn.  In the solid fight, Dunn got the take-down.

As the horn sounded to end the period, a late hit saw both teams enter a scrum. Brandon McNally took on Travis Ewanyk with solid shots thrown by both players. McNally got the takedown. When the dust cleared, the Senators had a 1-0 lead despite trailing in shots 15-11.

Second Period

The second period started with the announcement that Canadiens forward Brandon McNally was assessed an instigator penalty from the fight at the end of the first. On the power-play,  the Senators struck as Francis Perron was allowed to walk into the slot and fire his second goal of the afternoon. It was a 2-0 lead for the Senators. Moments earlier, Zach Fucale kept the game close as he made two fantastic pad saves. But Perron’s wrister past Fucale glove side was stoppable.

The Canadiens had two power-plays after the Senators goal but could not beat Ottawa goalie Matt O’Connor. With six minutes left in the period, Angelo Miceli received a pass from Jeremy Gregoire, then fed Dryden Hunt for a very nifty goal. The two Montreal invitees and Gregoire combined for one of the prettier goals of the tournament.

The rest of the period was somewhat lackluster for both teams. But with 19 seconds left in the period, Canadiens netminder Fucale gave the puck away beside his net and was forced to slide back to make the save but not before giving Canadiens fans a bit of a scare.

The period came to a close with some more pushing and shoving. After 40 minutes the shots on goal were 35-32 for Montreal but Ottawa held a 2-1 lead.

Third Period

The third period began with with coach Lefebvre putting together a line of Dryden Hunt, Angelo Miceli and Jeremy Gregoire. They proved to be the Canadiens most potent line with plenty of chances, however they could not score more than one goal.

At the five minute mark of the third period, Dalton Thrower was sent to the penalty box for slashing. The Habs killed off the penalty. Three minutes later, in a span of 20 seconds, Angelo Miceli and Charles Hudon were stoned cold by Senators backstop Matt O’Connor. Miceli made a nice fake move as he was coming across the crease however O’Connor got his pad on it. And then the Habs had a 2-on-1 with Daniel Carr and Charles Hudon. Carr fed Hudon however O’Connor made a pad save sliding across and froze it with his glove.  O’Connor prevented two sure goals, using his size to his advantage.

Just past the 10-minute mark of the period, the Senators beat Zach Fucale, however the puck rang off the post. Moments later, Senators forward Filip Chlapik had a fantastic chance in all alone after a steal but he could not beat Fucale.

Jeremiah Addison headed back to the box but the penalty-killers once again generated a scoring chance when Angelo Miceli stole the puck at the Senators blue line and went in on a breakaway but Matt O’Connor made the save yet again. Senators Francis Perron nearly had a hat trick but the post yet again got in his way.

With 1:46 left in the game, Lefebvre pulled his goaltender but the Canadiens could not convert losing the game 2-1. As the horn went, the teams had another big scrum, this time with Tim Bozon and Travis Ewanyk going at it. Ewanyk landed a few solid punches however Bozon got the takedown. Ewanyk threw two big punches at Bozon’s head, which was smack dab against the ice. As the officials separated Ewanyk and Bozon, Ewanyk was skating off the ice pointing and yelling at Canadiens Michael McCarron,. McCarron just shook his with a smile on his face.

Habs rookies (Photo by Canadiens.com)
Habs rookies (Photo by Canadiens.com)

Summary

Overall the game was a much slower-paced than the previous two for both teams. The intensity was down to begin the game however it picked up late in the first and the teams didn’t really look back throughout the game. There were fights, some big hits but not as many as the other games.

Both teams looked a little tired: three games and two practices in three days is quite tough to say the least. But both teams battled hard until the end. Sens forward Perron had two goals and rang a shot off the post during a third period power-play after beating Fucale. Hunt had his first goal. Angelo Miceli registered his fourth assist of the weekend, who along with Ryan Johnston, were two of the best players in the tournament.

The Canadiens and Senators both finished the tournament with a record of 1-1-1. The Senators scored eight goals over the three days with the Canadiens scoring 10. Players like Ryan Johnston, Angelo Miceli, Charles Hudon and Michael McNiven left fantastic impressions during the tournament. Next up is the Canadiens training camp which brings us closer to the start of the 2015-16 NHL season.

Post-game

Angelo Miceli

Michael McCarron

Zachary Fucale