By: Davide Disipio
Ottawa, ON – The Ottawa West Golden Knights returned to the ice for the first time since February 23rd for game 1 of the 2020 CCHL2 playoffs which saw the well-rested team score a 2-1 double-overtime win to break the ice in the series.
The Vikings came out flying in the opening period laying the body trying to wear down the Golden Knights defense and took a 1-0 lead nearing the end of the opening frame when Xavier Léveillé took advantage of an odd-man rush to wire home a shot glove side on Brent Pledge-Dickson to have the visitors on the board first.
“There’s something about us (Ottawa West) that gets them fired up and bring their A-game,” said Golden Knights bench boss Steve Sundin. “We know they are targeting our top producers physically to try shutting them down. They know us from last year and the past as a soft team, but were a year older and guys have matured and know they’re coming.”
In the second, the tides began to change and go in favour of the Golden Knights who were able to use the energy from the 324 people on hand at the Barbara Ann Scott Arena to match the physicality. The Golden Knights were able to knock out the Viking’s top centreman in Shawn Patterson who was ejected for a major penalty for grabbing the facemask in a scrum with captain Noah Haymes.
In the third, the Golden Knights wouldn’t go away, as the Vikings attempted to clear the puck, the attempt went off referee Brendan Schreider, right out in the slot to Clay Byers who tied the game at 1 with 7:57 to play.
“We rolled four lines,” added Sundin who was searching for that secondary scoring before the playoffs and got it with the Byers tying goal. “I stuck to it and I knew if we were to lose, it was going to be rotating everyone. (Daniel) Goulet, (Ryan) Carroll, and (Nicholai) Ponomarev had a stellar game for us, they were flying and created a lot of offense when the going was tough early in the game.”
The pace slowed down from there with both teams willing to go to overtime and control the game via possession in the late stages, but Ottawa West saw the momentum change in their favour after the tying goal.
Overtime number one solved nothing, setting up double OT where the top line went to work and Jack Haymes was able to find the back of the net for the game-winner over five minutes into the second overtime to secure the win.
Jack Haymes extended his point streak to 15 games with the goal, meanwhile with an assist on the game-winner, Noah Haymes‘ career-high point streak hits 16 games.
The Golden Knights powerplay was 0-for-5, and PK went 6-for-6 in the win, while Brent Pledge-Dickson was huge in goal stopping 39 of 40 shots.
With the win, the Golden Knights see themselves winning game 1 of the series for the first time since the 2018 Wild Card Series, defeating the Embrun Panthers.
Game 2 goes down tonight at the JR Brisson Complex in Casselman. Catch the action on Hockey TV, the Golden Knights Broadcast Network at mixlr.com/OWGKradio and CKDJ 107.9 FM.