By: Daniel Vazzoler
Coming off a disappointing weekend where the Carleton Place Canadians were shut out twice, Friday’s 7-4 win against the Nepean Raiders was a much-needed spark for the Canadians’ offence.
The Canadians were missing Jake Code and shook up the lines heading into Friday’s action, and the new combinations paid off for head coach Brent Sullivan. The depth created by the new lines was the difference as Liam Goreski tallied a hat-trick, Marc-Antoine Ducharme had four assists and Jr B call-up JJ Swyer got credited for one assist while playing a role in two other goals.
“I wanted to be a depth-based team and be a team that can come in waves and so we moved ‘G’ down to the fourth line so we could put him in the middle,” Sullivan said. “It was nice because him potting three (goals) right away was incredible.
“Duch is a guy who just does everything right, he competes and is a great character guy and I’ve always believed JJ Swyer is a Jr A player right now. We’re just in a situation right now where our Jr B guys are rolling and we want to leave him in a situation where he can produce, but he showed (Friday) he’s ready to take that step,” continued Sullivan.
It didn’t take long for the trio to connect for Carleton Place as Goreski scored his first goal of the game at the 2:58 mark into the first period. Swyer started the rush in the Canadians zone and a quick, north-south attack led to the goal-scoring opportunity. Ducharme made a nice move to get between the defenders at the Raiders blue-line and his shot deflected to Goreski, leaving him with an open net as Connor Shibley was caught out of position.
Goreski doubled the lead, capitalizing on the rebound from Swyer’s shot. Swyer had Ducharme attacking the far post on the rush, so Swyer opted for the indirect pass by putting his shot into Shibley’s far pad. Ducharme couldn’t get his stick on the rebound but Goreski following the play made no mistake in snapping the loose puck past the Raiders goalie.
“This group was just chipping pucks, going on the fore-check and establishing pressure,” Sullivan praised. “Next thing you know, they get a ton of offensive points. I think if guys start to recognize it doesn’t always have to be the pretty play, just the effective one, hopefully it bleeds in.”
The offence exploded in the second period, getting four unanswered goals after Jack Hillier made it a 2-1 game early in the period and giving Brady McEwan lots of support en route to his first win of the season.
“I felt for Brady, he had a ton of pressure on himself and you add the extra factor of being a local kid, he even brought up to me he was a flag bearer at one point as a kid,” said Sullivan. “When we started him in Hawkesbury for his first game, he played very well. His next game was at Showcase against Nepean and our team did not perform well, and his last one was at Rockland where we played well for about 40 minutes and didn’t show up for a full 60.”
The five-goal lead had an effect on the Canadians in the third period as Nepean made it a 6-4 game as Hillier scored his second goal and Zachary Lefebvre struck for a pair of goals himself.
McEwan and the Canadians shut the door in the final three minutes of the game to ensure the Raiders couldn’t get closer, and Bill Gourgon sealed the victory with an empty net goal.
“That game should have never gotten to what it got to but there are a lot of positives and we’ll grab those and run into Sunday,” Sullivan explained.
The Canadians hit the road on Sunday to face the Navan Grads with a chance to end the month at the .500 mark, having gone 3-4 so far throughout November.