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The Ottawa Senators rookie tournament has ended with a 2-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. The Senators entered today’s match with their weakest roster of the three games played in Buffalo. Top-end prospects like Ridly Greig, Tyler Kleven, Zack Ostapchuk, and Roby Jarventie were sidelined as they prepared for this week’s Ottawa Senators training camp. But the Senators did give the start to high-end goaltending prospect Leevi Merilainen, who delivered an excellent performance.
Overall Game Summary
Leevi Merilainen Shines
The Senators were heavily outplayed against a loaded Montreal rookie roster in this game. Shots are unfortunately not tracked in these games, although you don’t need stats to know that Merilainen faced a ton of rubber. Merilainen was outstanding in today’s game and is the sole reason the team had a chance at winning. Not just the shot quantity but also the quality he faced made his performance very impressive.
Merilainen showed his exceptional athleticism and hockey IQ against the Canadiens. It felt like every 5 minutes, he made a massive save against high-end prospects on the Canadiens roster. If people questioned Leevi’s abilities going into this tournament, he has proved them wrong thus far. With Belleville’s season under a month away, Leevi Merilainen seems ready to carry the goaltending department with fellow prospect Mads Sogaard.
Tarun Fizer Does It Again
What else is there to say about camp invitee Tarun Fizer. Fizer finished his tournament on the right note today, scoring his team-leading 4th goal and 5th point. In this game, he showed his wicked shot again, scoring a solo short-handed rush goal in the opening period. Fizer picked up the puck in the neutral zone and carried it into the Montreal end, where the Canadiens defender cut him off. Fizer sent a blistering wrist shot from the centre of the circle blocker side, giving the Sens a 1-0 lead.
But Fizer did more this game than just scoring his goal. He showed excellent puck skills on multiple shifts, creating scoring chances for the Ottawa Senators. In the dying seconds of the game, with the Senators pressing for offense, Fizer was inches away from his second of the match after ringing a puck off of the post. He showed confidence to be the difference maker on the ice, and his consistency throughout the tournament cannot be ignored.
Solid Performances From Jorian Donovan And Philip Daoust
On top of the excellent games from Fizer and Leevi Merilainen, prospects Jorian Donovan and Philip Daoust also stood out. Without the top-end prospects in the lineup, these two players were given much more responsibilities and opportunities to show their stuff. Both players were solid and did not crumble against the tougher matchups.
Jorian Donovan showed his 2-way abilities again in this game. His smooth skating stride and good vision were on display once again. Donovan made several crisp passes to break out of the Senators’ zone, and effectively joined the rush in the right situations. He was rarely caught out of position and didn’t need to sacrifice his offensive creativity for defensive reliability.
Philip Daoust was able to use his high-level skating and playmaking skills today against the Canadiens. Daoust was winning races to loose pucks all night and had the puck on a string in the Canadien’s zone. Although he didn’t find his way onto the score sheet, he created a handful of chances for the team, seemingly from nothing. I would have liked to see Daoust showcase his shot more, but his playmaking will be his A-game this season.
Will Ottawa Senators Rookie Tournament MVP Tarun Fizer Get A Contract
After the game against the Canadiens, some Ottawa Senators prospects had media availability. This included Tarun Fizer, who mentioned that he has an upcoming meeting with the Senator’s management. It is easy to read between the lines and assume that Fizer will be offered a contract with the team in the next few days. He was already awarded an “A” on his jersey this game, so the team has recognized his hard work.
I can’t see any arguments against taking a shot on Tarun Fizer for at least one season. If he comes into this year with the Belleville Senators and has a productive season, then kudos to the Senator’s scouting staff on finding a diamond in the rough. It’s hard to say whether or not he has NHL potential after just 3 games in a rookie tournament, but I certainly wouldn’t bet against him after what he showed. At only 22 years old, Fizer’s pro-hockey career looks like it has a bright future.
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