October 03, 2013

Former 67's Desautels and Petaccio Face Off in CCHL Action

Only a month and a few days removed from being cut by the Ottawa 67’s, now ex-OHLers Mathieu Desautels and Mark Petaccio faced off against one another in CCHL action on Wednesday night.

Desautels, who spent the entire 2012-13 season as a rookie with the Barberpoles, was a late cut at 67’s training camp, and went back to his old team, the Ottawa Junior Senators.

Petaccio, an OHL veteran who spent time in Oshawa, Sault Ste. Marie and Ottawa before being cut, wound up with the Pembroke Lumber Kings.

Petaccio had a goal and two assists as his Lumber Kings defeated Desautels’ Jr. Sens 6-3 at Jim Durrell Arena on Wednesday.

Desautels didn’t see a lot of five-on-five time, but quarterbacked Ottawa’s powerplay and spent his fair share of time on the penalty kill, two situations he seldom played in with the Barberpoles.

“I came back from the OHL so they expected a lot from me,” he said.  “They want me to play big minutes on the powerplay and help carry them on defence.”

The team’s brass echoed Desautels’ comments.

“It seems to have worked out early,” said Jr. Sens head coach and general manager Rick Dorval. “He brings offensive skill to the hockey club.  You can see that he wants to compete and wants to try and prove that he belongs back (up in the CHL).”

Petaccio is just as important to his team’s success if not more so, having put up 11 points in seven games since joining his new squad.

“I'm just moving my feet well, split the defence a lot, and they couldn't really stop it I guess,” Petaccio said after Wednesday’s game.

For the two ex-67’s, the learning curve after playing in Ontario’s top junior ranks wasn’t the easiest adjustment.

“The speed is faster, bigger rinks, better ice and better systems, execution is better,” said Desautels.  “Overall, it's just faster and more intense."

Petaccio added, “The IQ level's a bit lower than it is in the OHL.”

The majority of chances in this game came via quick passing plays and a tendency to try one extra move around a defender, rather than throw a safe shot on net.

Furthermore, the powerplays in the CCHL typically run in an umbrella formation with a forward in the high slot to maximize their quick passing game.

The system on special teams is very similar to that of the QMJHL, where, appropriately enough, Desautels tried to play after his days as a 67 came to an end. 

The blueliner signed on with the Quebec League’s Drummondville Voltigeurs, and attended one practice with them before learning that the 67’s still owned his rights, and he would have to go through two sets of waivers before signing with a team of his choice.

Desautels decided instead to play it safe and return to the CCHL.

Petaccio, acquired at the 2013 trade deadline from the Greyhounds for a 9th-round pick, was cut likely as a result of age.  The 19-year old no longer fit into the rebuilding team’s plans.

He, too, went with the opportunity to play Junior ‘A’.

While the opportunity to play over 20 minutes a night is a great one, neither young man is ready to fully close the door on a possible future returning to the Major Junior ranks.

“I'd love to, obviously,” said Petaccio when asked if he would play for a CHL team should they come asking.  “It's kind of the goal to be there and have NHL teams looking too.”

“But I'm not going to lie, it is fun here, and I like getting to play a lot.”

“I'd definitely go back,” said Desautels.  “I was pretty rattled about the situation in Drummondville and all.  If I'm down here for too long, it'll be harder to get back up to that level, so if there's an option, just jump into it.”

The two face off again in Pembroke on Friday night.

Desautels and Petaccio weren’t the only experienced OHLers to be cut loose by Ottawa at this year’s main camp.

Earlier this week, Daniel Walsh was acquired by the Amherst Ramblers of the Maritime Junior League.  He started the season with the CCHL’s Cumberland Grads, who he also played for prior to his days as a 67.

In other news related to players released by the squad, goaltender Clint Windsor passed through OHL waivers on the weekend and is still looking for any opportunity in Major Junior.

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