The Bears welcomed back their fans to their home opener for the new season past Friday at the Den, facing the Ottawa Junior Senators. Black and yellow balloons decorated the foyer of the Memorial Center to welcome the crowd, which was greeted by a much rejuvenated team with many new faces added to the lineup. But while Ottawa not just arrived with a considerable number of supporters in tow and even a radio station for live coverage, the count of local fans could have been better, and the team could really have used a bit greater local support, but more about it later.
The Bears got a head start when Cade Helmer, assisted by Stuart Martin, shot the first goal of the game at 7:42 in the first period. But Ottawa followed suit shortly thereafter with a powerplay goal by Brent Broaders at 11:04.
Ryan Richardson’s goal at 15:15 in the second period helped the Bears to regain the lead. Assists were credited to Cade Helmer and Alex Lewis. But Ottawa caught up once again with a goal by Owen Cole “C” with only ten seconds left to play in the period. Curiously, Ottawa goalie Felix Schnell was credited with an assist on it.
The third season saw no further goals by either of the evenly matched teams. Owen Cole “C” had a chance with a penalty shot at 9:09, but the uninspired shot proved no problem for Bears goalie Jake Smith.
The first overtime period also went scoreless.
The final came decision was forced with a shootout. The teams appeared to follow different tactics. While Ottawa preferred fake shots and goalie Schnell stayed close to the net, the Bears went more for straight shots and goalie Jake Smiths ventured far out onto the ice. Tate Leeson and Cameron McLean scored for the Bears, but Reid Russett, Theo Todd and Ryan Richardson missed. Ottawa’s Brent Broaders and David Berube missed their chances as well, but Conor Smart “A”, Owen Cole “C” and Matthew Toporowski didn’t, bringing the OJS to the 3:2 win of an all around great game. Maybe all the Bears needed was a little greater fan support, but that’s all speculation at this point.
Cade Helmer was awarded First Star of the game, Brent Broaders (OJS) Second Star, and Matthew Toporowski (OJS) Third Star.