By: Daniel Vazzoler
It was a meeting between the top two teams in the CCHL and two top 10 Jr A teams in Canada, but Friday’s game between the Carleton Place Canadians and Ottawa Jr Senators ended up being more lopsided than anticipated – if you simply looked at the 7-3 score in favour of Carleton Place.
“I thought it was a close game,” Canadians coach Jason Clarke said. “I don’t think Ottawa got the goaltending they probably wanted to get, so I don’t think it was really a 7-3 game. I think it (was) probably a 4-3 game or a 5-3 game. I think we were lucky on a couple of goals, Ottawa goaltender let a couple soft goals in.
“But, what I did like was, even on those soft goals, we made really good plays in order to get those shots on net,” Clarke continued.
The Canadians took advantage of one of those soft goals, as Clarke described, as Cade Townend gave his team the lead midway through the first period. The puck came to the Carleton Place defenceman and his slap shot deflected off Gabriel Carriere’s glove and flipped past him into the net.
Cam White tied the game less than a minute later, getting his own rebound in the slot and beating Jeremie Forget through his legs.
Carleton Place responded with three unanswered goals, generated by the nice plays Clarke talked about.
Late in the first period, Travis Broughman displayed exceptional vision by spotting Peyton Francis entering the slot alone and moved the puck to him. Francis outwaited Carriere and shot the puck into the upper part of the net, over the splayed-out Sens goalie.
Tim Theocharidis started the second period off well for Carleton Place with a pair of power play goals. His first, on a five-on-four advantage, beat Carriere with a wrist shot from the blue-line.
He scored his second goal came on the end of a great rush into the attacking zone on a two-man advantage. Geoff Kitt and Sam Knoblauch brought the puck in on a two-on-one rush before Theocharidis joined the attack. He received the pass and beat Carriere through the legs with a shot along the ice.
“We just made smart plays,” Theocharidis said. “Guys were thinking and didn’t hesitate. We shot (when we could) or they were going to make the play that was there.”
Owen Guy cut the Canadians lead to 4-2 late in the second period, but goals from Broughman and Knoblauch early in the second period put the game out of reach. Nick Lalonde scored with a howitzer of a wrist shot off the back cross-bar before Kitt wrapped up the scoring.
Even with the high scoring, both Forget and Carriere showed off their skills in the net – making a number of cross-crease saves and stopping a number of difficult chances in tight. With the scoring, it is to be expected the goalies were kept busy with high shot totals – and they were. Carriere faced 46 shots Friday night and Forget dealt with 32 shots in the game.
Carleton Place played their first game of the season at Carleton Place Arena, and was a rematch of the last two Bogart Cup Finals that were both won by the Canadians.
“This is a game we were looking forward to since the start of the year,” Kitt, Canadians captain, said. “Everyone had it circled on their schedules. We knew it was going to be a tough game and we’re just really happy to get out with the win, especially with a 7-3 win.”
Kitt said games like this can help establish what other teams can expect when they travel to Carleton Place.
“We don’t like when teams think they can come in and beat us in the “Palace”, we want them to be nervous when they come in, so it’s nice to get a big win in the first one (at home),” he said.
While some around the league may view this as a statement game from the Canadians, Clarke says this game sets the standard for how his team can play.
“The kids set their own standard and the standard was set pretty high [Friday]. Now we’ve just got to continue to push that standard and continue to get better for the rest of the year,” he said.
Carleton Place will have a chance to build on Friday’s win when they travel to Kemptville to face the Kemptville 73’s on Sunday.