Bear Trapby Pat Booth | May 2, 2014, 10:02 AM ET
In a preview of what's likely to come in the Canadian conference playoffs the Ottawa Slammers faced off against the Acadia Golden Bears last evening. The Slammers have been guilty of playing down to their opponents lately suffering two OTLs to Havana and Calgary both teams out of the playoff race. They were keyed up for Acadia last night however, after suffering their first regulation loss in over a month. On the strength of 4 first period goals by the Slammers they managed to clamp down defensively and beat the Bears 4-2 in regulation handing them their first regulation loss in 35 days and snapping an incredible 16 game winning streak.
“This was a yardstick game for us. Many people consider Acadia to be the top contender for the cup this year, If we are going to win we are going to have to go through Acadia.” Said GM Booth in a short press conference following the game. He was pleased to see the team tighten up defensively after gaining a big lead and shutting down for the most part Acadias 5th rated Offence. A big piece was new comer Ryan O'Byrne who played 17min after joining the team off the waiver wire from the Norsemen. O'Byrne has been described as “sneaky” good and the Slammers brass was shocked that no one else had looked at him as a valuable free asset to make a run with. Sitting for O'Byrne was Jordie Benn as Erik Karlsson returned from injury.
Karlsson has been oft injured this season and missed a lot of time but still has an incredible 35pts in 43 games putting him in the top 20 scorers despite playing 30 less games than most of the guys around him. Karlsson was everywhere in his second game back getting two assists on big shots from the point that he is known for. GM Booth was asked if he would be trying to rest his star down the stretch “Erik has had a lot of time off this year, his injuries have been freak accidents so we don't see fatigue as a factor. We haven't even locked down a playoff spot yet so talk of resting of guys is very premature. The strength as a whole of the Canadian conference is worrying all 8 teams that are going to make it are strong, deep teams and any team could take another in a 7 games series. We see home ice advantage and that second spot behind Acadia as the best place to be. The 3-6 teams are going to kill each other. So It's unlikely you'll see many guys sitting even right down to the wire.”
The Slammers have 6 games remaining with only the Schooners left to play as a possible first round match-up and they finish out the season with a two game home stand against the Millionaires. When asked about the game with the Schooners being a preview of the first round GM Booth replied
“That's the way we see it, and hopefully the way GM Schneider does as well. We will be coming to play and play hard, and when we play that way I don't think theres a team in the league who can stop us”