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History repeats itself: Ottawa falls in overtime to Minnesota despite early lead

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Ottawa fans have a history of needing patience for their hockey team.

Rewind the clocks to Oct. 8, 1992, when the Ottawa Senators debuted in the National Hockey League (NHL) after decades of absence. The Sens’ first game was against the Montreal Canadiens, who would go on to win the Stanley Cup that season. 

Despite the Sens’ early 5-3 win, the team struggled throughout the rest of the season.

To this day, they have yet to win a Stanley Cup.

The Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) sees their Ottawa team writing their own story, with some parallels to their male counterpart way back when. 

Head coach for Ottawa, Carla MacLeod, talked about the work it takes to find the team’s identity. 

Nicole Hensley was in net for Minnesota on Wednesday, now rocking a 0.946 save percentage. Devon Tredinnick

“The identity is constantly living and morphing,” she said. “It’s not one word. It’s not one thing, or two things. It’s a living, breathing piece of who we are.”

Three games, one win, and five points for Ottawa so far. It puts them tied with two other teams in the league in terms of points, New York and Boston.

Heading into overtime, Ottawa had proved themselves capable of facing off against the best in the business, despite having played half as many games as their opponents coming into Wednesday’s match.

Susanna Tapani would score the overtime winner for Minnesota off the stick of Ottawa defender, Jincy Roese. MacLeod said moments like that are part of the game.

“Minnesota has gotten off to a great start this year. They’re the team everyone’s chasing,” said MacLeod after the game. Photo: Devon Tredinnick

As for the Ottawa Senators, following their win against Montreal, they lost the following game 9-2 to the Nordiques – a team once based in Quebec City. The loss marked the start of a 21-game losing streak. 

Ottawa doesn’t repeat the past here. The team has yet to leave a game without a point. Still, another 3-2 overtime loss can sting, despite fans once again rising from their seats to cheer Ottawa on. Ottawa forward, Gabbie Hughes, spoke about what the fans’ early dedication means and how sweet it’ll be once the team gets its first win at home.

“I think it’s going to be absolutely electric. They’ve stuck with us through both overtime games – there hasn’t been an empty seat.” 

“They stand with us and they’re always there for us, so when we get that win, I can’t imagine what it’s going to sound like. They cheer for us even when we lose,” Hughes added with a chuckle.

Minnesota also scored their first jailbreak goal on Wednesday. “It’s pretty cool,” said Minnesota coach, Ken Klee. “It’s a bit like dodgeball.” Photo: Devon Tredinnick

The Sens’ win against Montreal was the first win for an NHL team in Ottawa since defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs back in early March of 1934. Here, the women do draw a parallel. 

Although not a win at home. Ottawa’s first ever win in the PWHL was also against Toronto. And much like the men, it also came with a handful of goals for the team.

MacLeod said an Ontario rivalry is inevitable, but it won’t come for free.

“The Ontario rivalry is a fun one. I think anytime anyone’s playing Toronto, there’s always an energy there. Because they’re such a great team, it won’t be lost on us at the opportunity to create that rivalry. But you have to earn that.”

Ottawa will continue to write their own history on Tuesday, January 23rd, when they once again go against Toronto. 

They play back-to-back games at home, facing off against Boston after. Whether they get their first home win remains to be seen.

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