Canadians bounce back to end Showcase Weekend with win

By: Daniel Vazzoler

After a disappointing performance on Sunday that saw them lose their second game of the season, the Carleton Place Canadians responded in a big way with a convincing 5-2 win against the Pembroke Lumber Kings.

Nearly everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong for Carleton Place on Sunday. However, one could argue the opposite was the case on Monday. Carleton Place received some fortunate bounces, but by no means was the win a “lucky” victory. The game was fairly even at the start, but it kept moving more and more into the Canadians favour as time wore on – thanks to the Canadians improving as the game continued.

“It was a choppy first and second (period),” said Canadians head coach Brent Sullivan. “A huge short-handed goal with about six seconds left by Derek Hamilton to finish off the second so we could in on a high to the third (period). Our third was textbook, really happy with that.”

The Lumber Kings had the momentum early on, with Lucas Legault opening the scoring less than nine minutes into the first period. A quick turnover in the defensive zone by the Canadians left them scrambling and no one picked up Legault in behind the defence and he chipped a backhand shot over Joe Chambers’ shoulder.

Caton Ryan received the credit for tying up the game before the first intermission as Matteo Disipio threw the puck at the net and it bounced off Ryan and past Ben Forget with just 0:07 remaining in the opening frame.

“Every coach will say how important those last five – some even break it down to as tight as two minutes – are. It’s incredibly crucial because the momentum that brings into the dressing room is huge,” Sullivan expressed.

A Brandon Walker one-timer midway through the second period erased Legault’s second go-ahead goal of the game before Hamilton scored the Canadians’ second buzzer-beater to take the lead going into the third period.

A great effort from Gino Colangelo stole the puck just outside the Canadians zone and allowed Hamilton to attack the Lumber Kings with speed. He came in on the right-wing side and – perhaps an effect of playing on the international-sized rink on the Mattamy Homes Arena at the Bell Sensplex – Forget lost his angle and gave up the far side of the net, which Hamilton didn’t miss.

Josh Penney gave his team some room for error, doubling up the lead 6:08 into the third period before Hamilton capped off the scoring with his second goal of the afternoon.

“Our line has been really good and we’ve been playing great together so feels good to get a couple of goals,” Hamilton said modestly.

His coach, though, wasn’t afraid to praise Hamilton and went as far as saying he was the best player on Monday.

“The way I want this team to play is Derek Hamilton to a tee,” expressed Sullivan. “It’s competitive, it’s speed, it’s creativity and he was really good. He’s arguably been our best player.”

Carleton Place strayed away from that desired style of play on Sunday during the 7-3 loss to the Nepean Raiders.

“We were incredibly complacent going into the game (Sunday),” Sullivan said, looking back at the loss. “Nepean is a team that works, they don’t give you an inch and they’ve got some good, young talent on their team now, so they’re different than before. Our guys went in way too loose […] and their details were awful.”

The Canadians didn’t have long to dwell on the game and Monday presented a chance to respond in the eyes of the coaching staff.

“It’s a strong character group, there are a lot of former captains and assistant captains (and) this was kind a put-up-or-shut-up moment,” Sullivan stated. “You get embarrassed (Sunday) in just a sloppy game and we held ourselves accountable to it. Pembroke is a good team, so I was happy to leave with, not only a win but, a relatively convincing one.”

The way the Canadians finished out the third period proved to be another positive for Carleton Place. There have been a few occasions where large Canadians leads have been trimmed throughout the third period before having to hold on for a much more nerve-wracking victory.

“It was a matter of being harder on pucks and watching our turnovers,” Hamilton said. “It’s a great sign, especially after (Sunday), it’s great to keep their chances down.”

After a busy weekend, the Canadians get nearly a full week away from game action as they don’t play again until this upcoming Sunday when the Hawkesbury Hawks make a trip to the Carleton Place Arena.