Ottawa, Ontario – The Ottawa West Golden Knights (23-4-2) defeated the Casselman Vikings (17-11-2) in a tight contest 3-2 on Saturday January 4th at the Jr Brisson Complex. It’s the Golden Knights third win in Casselman since CCHL2 existed back in the 2015-16 season.
The biggest story in this game was special teams in this one. Michael Gallivan got the Golden Knights going with 42 seconds left in the first to make it 1-0. The teams would trade goals on the power play during the second and the game was tied at two.
“I didn’t think our penalty killing was all that great but our power play was 2-for-4. The last one wasn’t really a power play with four seconds to go”, said Head Coach of the Ottawa West Golden Knights Steve Sundin on the special teams.
Frederick Gagnier had the tying goal, Bobby Dempster netted the leading goal and then Francois Drouin got a power play goal in that frame. During the second, Michael Gallivan and Sam Brown went down with injuries and did not return for the third period.
Head Coach Steve Sundin says that he hopes that his team is healthy for next game. Gallivan and Brown availability for Thursday’s game is questionable.
After both of the players left, Sundin had no choice but to shorten up the bench by putting Stef Mellios on defense and were playing with only 10 forwards in the last 20 minutes of the game. It was the best idea because Mellios made a long stretch pass to Sean Kearns, who broke in on a breakaway and puts the puck five-hole on Casselman goaltender Nicholas Campbell which turned out to be the game winner.
“It was a nice pass to Kearns for the winning goal. Stef Mellios is a player. He comes to play every game, has a great attitude and I can move him up and down in the lineup. He does the job so well for us either he’s on forward of defense,” said Sundin on Stef Mellios game.
The Golden Knights outshot Casselman 24-23 in the game but Sundin talks about on how great defense was to win this game.
“What I was really impressed about was when we only allowed four shots in the first period and allowing 23 overall. Your not going to win many hockey games with 23 shots and I thought we played very well defensively. Their a good team, they play us so tough. I don’t care what their record is, they always play us tough. We had two guys injured but they come at us real hard. Casselman loves to beat us and they have over the years. Their fourth place in the division but they are better than a fourth place team,” said Sundin.
Sean Kearns collected 1 G / 1 A to extend his point streak to five games and Stef Mellios added two assists. Mellios has two goals and three assists when playing against Casselman this season. Sundin says Kearns message me in the summer and talked about what he needed to work on.
“I got a text from Kearns in the summer. He said to me: what do I have to do to get more ice? I said, Sean just play with a lot of intensity and come to play every night. All be honest, I thought he would be really good but I didn’t think that he was going to be this good. He’s been scoring big goals and is leading our team in scoring,” said Sundin on Sean Kearns game and giving him the Golden Knights hard hat after the game.
William McEvoy started his 4th consecutive game and had the start for the second this week because Brent Pledge-Dickson was still on vacation. Connor Shibley (U18 Nepean Raiders) was the backup goalie on Saturday. McEvoy made 21 saves for his 10 consecutive victory as a starter. During his 10 game winning streak, he is posting a 1.97 GAA / .922 SV%. He is now 13-1 in 14 games this year.
“It’s just phenomenal that he has won 10 in a row. His goals against average is going to be really good. He’s playing good hockey, he’s an excellent goaltender and we were really lucky that we landed him. With Brent being away, he would have got this game. He proved to me that when we don’t have Brent, we got Willy (William McEvoy) and he can play. When Casselman had their two power play goals, he made the first two saves. He had an exceptional game,” said Sundin.
The Golden Knights have now won five consecutive games since losing to the Ottawa Jr. Canadians back on December 10th. That will be the next game for the Golden Knights. It happens this Thursday night inside the Barbara Ann Scott Arena with puck drop scheduled for 7:20. The Ottawa Jr. Canadians are coming off a tough loss to Alexandria on Tuesday night. You can catch the broadcast on mixlr.com/owgkradio and Hockey TV.