Canadians begin Showcase Weekend in winning style over Grads

By: Daniel Vazzoler

The strong start to the 2022-23 season for the Carleton Place Canadians continued on Saturday with a 3-2 win against the Navan Grads to start their CCHL Showcase Weekend.

The game was billed as a meeting of two of the CCHL’s nationally-ranked teams, and the Grads and Canadians didn’t disappoint. The sixth-ranked Grads and 17th ranked Canadians played a scoreless opening frame and the game never stretched out in one team’s favour.

In the end, a pair of Carleton Place goals scored just 0:19 apart proved to be the difference. Owen Brady gave the Canadians the lead 8:30 into the third period with a wrist shot wired past Braedyn McIntosh’s blocker shoulder into the top corner.

Off the ensuing face-off, Navan looked to attack and respond quickly. But after the Canadians cleared the puck into Navan’s zone, Gino Colangelo forced the turnover and found Derek Hamilton open in the slot for the one-timer that ended up being the game-winning goal.

This was a kind of game where last year’s group may have struggled to stay composed and get the win. Coaching staff and players have said this season’s group is different, a closer group, a stronger group mentally – and they continue to prove it with their performances in one-goal games.

Calum Chau opened the scoring 0:42 into the second period to give Navan the 1-0 lead. The Canadians tried to help out Joe Chambers by attempting to block the shot from the point. Instead, the puck deflected off the defence and bounced past the Canadians goaltender.

Carleton Place kept its composure and waited for the chance to respond.

It took most of the second period, but Caton Ryan leveled the score before the end of the frame. With the Canadians on the power play, the Canadians moved the puck around the attacking zone. Ryan took the first pass from the blue-line and bumped it down to Thomas Dickey. Dickey returned the pass to Ryan who then snapped his shot short-side past McIntosh for his first career CCHL goal.

Nicholas Bennett cut the lead to 3-2 after the goals from Brady and Hamilton, but that’s as close as the Grads got with Chambers making 11 of his 34 saves in the third period to preserve the victory.

Carleton Place will continue their time at the Showcase Weekend on Sunday with an afternoon meeting against the Nepean Raiders and will wrap up the weekend on Monday against the Pembroke Lumber Kings.