By: Daniel Vazzoler
The regular season series between the Carleton Place Canadians and the Ottawa Jr Senators wrapped up on Sunday at the Carleton Place Arena, where the Canadians picked up their fourth win in five games against Ottawa thanks to the 3-2 win.
Two goals in the third period propelled Carleton Place to victory, mainly the highlight-worthy goal from Caleb Kean that stood for the game-winning goal. Kean got the puck down along the goal-line and, from what seemed to be an impossible angle, beat Felix Schnell on the short-side to tally the game-winner.
“I’ve had some opportunities in the past against this team on a down-low play where I tried to hit (Brett) Thorne a lot back door with that,” Kean said about the play leading to his goal. “I caught the goalie cheating this time and I ended up putting it over his shoulder.”
It was a play that few players, if any, could have made and the skill level of Kean doesn’t go unnoticed by his coach – to the point where Jason Clarke said he wasn’t surprised of the play to create the goal.
“Nothing surprises me with Kean, he’s a special player and his offensive abilities are as elite as we’ve ever had in our program,” Clarke expressed. “He’s only an 18-year-old kid, so you can only imagine how good he’s going to be down the line as he continues to get faster and stronger and get more experience playing. That game-winning goal was as elite as any goal that has ever been scored in our program.”
The goal helped gloss over a sub-par start to the game, as described by members of the Canadians, that saw them head to the first intermission trailing Ottawa 1-0.
Once the puck dropped to start the second period, Carleton Place upped the pressure on Ottawa and, in turn, had the first five shots of the frame. The pressure translated into a David Gagnon goal created by Kerfalla Toure taking the puck to the net as he tried to beat Schnell with a wrap-around. Schnell made the save, but Gagnon whacked at the loose puck to slide it past the Jr Senators goalie and tied the game near the middle of the period.
“I thought we had a good 40 minutes, we had a tough start but we came out in the second and third periods and really took it to them,” Canadians assistant captain Ryland Mosley said. “We weren’t moving our feet and we weren’t being hard on pucks in the first and in the second and third we changed that.”
The rivalry between Carleton Place and Ottawa has developed over the past four seasons with the two teams facing off in the Bogart Cup Finals each year. Despite roster changes over the years, the intensity carries on thanks to returning players passing on the message to the new guys.
“There’s always a hatred for the team that beats you and, for them to beat us in the finals the last two years, it’s always going to be like that now,” Kean said.
“They always play us hard and always finish their checks against us,” Mosley added about the message the veterans give the new players about playing Ottawa. They pass on “just how big the rivalry is and how bad we want to beat them.”
The CCHL playoffs may be nearly two months away, but Sunday’s game had a playoff atmosphere with the physicality and intensity Carleton Place and Ottawa played with.
“It was a hard-fought game with lots of battles and lots of extra-curricular activity after the whistle,” Clarke said. “It was good, had a playoff atmosphere with two teams that were playing hard and it was a good game.”
Fans will have to wait until the playoffs for a potential rematch between these two teams, but the Canadians have another playoff-like game coming up on Friday with a road trip to Brockville to face the second-place Brockville Braves in what has been a tight battle all season long between the two.