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Third-period outburst lifts Senators rookies

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Adam Wallace of the Senators jostles with the Blackhawks' Rob Flick in front of the Chicago net during their rookie tournament game Sunday afternoon in London. Ont. Ottawa won 7-3 (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images).

Now that's what you call finishing with a flourish.

A six-goal third-period outburst allowed the Ottawa Senators to storm past their Chicago Blackhawks 7-3 on Sunday afternoon in the second game for each side at the rookie tournament being played at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ont.

Jim O'Brien's first-period goal was all the Senators had to show for their efforts through the first 40 minutes, which saw the Hawks grab a 3-1 lead. But the floodgates opened Ottawa's way in the third. Adam Wallace and Eric Gryba, with his second goal in as many games, pulled the Senators even before Mike Hoffman and David Dziurzynski scored goals within a minute to put Ottawa ahead to stay.

Defenceman Patrick Wiercioch celebrated his 20th birthday by hitting the scoresheet as well, with Kaspars Daugavins adding the final Senators goal.

Brandon Foote made 26 saves in the Sens net.

All in all, it was just the kind of rebound the Senators were looking for after dropping their tournament opener to the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 on Saturday.

"We played a better game today than yesterday," said Hoffman, who also assisted on Gryba's game-tying goal before notching the winner. "We wanted to focus on 60 minutes and play the full three periods and we showed that."

Binghamton Senators coach Kurt Kleinendorst also had plenty of reason to smile after watching the performance turned in by his charges against the Hawks.

"It was nice because going into the third down ... it's only a rookie tournament but you don't want to be 0-2," he said. "So it'll be a nice evening for the guys and I think they all feel good about themselves. And they should. I can't think of one guy who was a passenger. I think everybody contributed."

Indeed, there was no questioning the effort across the board.

"People need to understand that this is a young group," said Kleinendorst. "It's early in the year and there's only so much of an effect (the coaches) can have on what we're doing. But we've put a few things in place and they've been like sponges to everything. Some of the goals were directly (a result) of just really good effort and guys responding to what we've challenged them to do. From that end, I'm really pleased."

The Senators close out rookie tournament action on Tuesday night, when they face the host Toronto Maple Leafs at the JLC (7 p.m., Rogers Television, Team 1200).

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