By: Daniel Vazzoler
The Carleton Place Canadians and Smiths Falls Bears began their First Round CCHL Playoffs series on Friday and Smiths Falls picked up the 5-1 win on home-ice in Game One.
Both teams traded chances back-and-forth all night as the Canadians generated 33 shots on goal against Will McEvoy, while Joe Chambers got the start for Carleton Place and faced 42 shots in a losing effort.
Smiths Falls possessed a balanced attack, with five different players tallying the five goals it scored – including a two-point game from CCHL MVP Sean James. Matteo Disipio scored the lone Carleton Place goal.
“We got away from our game plan and lacked discipline in the second period,” Canadians head coach Brent Sullivan said. “Give that team mojo and opportunities and they’ll step on you. They did (Friday).”
The action went end-to-end for the first five minutes of the game with neither team sustaining time in the offensive zone until Carleton Place got the game’s first power play. The Canadians generated chances against McEvoy but couldn’t solve him to take the early lead.
Smiths Falls went to the man advantage just moments after killing the penalty, taking advantage of the chance. An aggressive Canadians penalty kill pressured Thomas Haynes to move the puck to James, but also opened the passing lane to Trevor Faucher in the slot who beat Chambers for the game’s first goal.
Despite getting 17 shots in the opening frame, Carleton Place went into the first intermission without a goal on the board and trailed 1-0.
“We need more traffic in front of McEvoy and for our power play to execute better,” said Sullivan of the struggles offensively on Friday.
The power play got on the board in Game One, but wasn’t able to provide enough momentum for the Canadians.
After falling behind by two goals early in the second with Alec Hamady adding to the lead, Disipio brought his team to within a goal. A well-executed face-off play set Disipio up open in the slot, and he one-timed Caton Ryan’s pass past McEvoy 6:09 into the second period.
The rest of the second period proved to be a problem for Carleton Place, allowing 20 shots on goal and having three of them beat Chambers to trail 4-1 going into the third period.
Three straight icing calls against Carleton Place trapped a tired group of Canadians on the ice. The fatigue led to a mistake with a turnover right between the hashmarks and Owen Watson snapped his shot past Chambers.
Less than three minutes later, Riley Thompson added to the lead with the Bears second power play goal. Thompson spun off the Canadians defender in a battle in front of Chambers, freeing up his stick to deflect the pass into the net for the 4-1 advantage.
James capped off the scoring early in the third period, slapping a bouncing puck over a sliding Chambers who tried to make the save, but couldn’t get across in time.
From the Carleton Place perspective, the good thing is there is plenty of time in the series to shake this off – plus the series shifts to the Carleton Place Arena on Sunday afternoon for Game Two.
Sullivan said he feels the team doesn’t need to make too many adjustments, just fixing some small things and “more in-between the ears adjustments.”
“That performance was immature of us and that has been addressed,” he added. “We’re looking forward to Game Two in a packed Carleton Place Arena.”
SF Leads 1-0
Game One: Fri., Mar. 24, 2023 – 7:30 p.m. @ SF 5 – CPC 1
Game Two: Sun., Mar. 26, 2023 – 3:00 p.m @ Carleton Place Arena
Game Three: Tues., Mar. 28, 2023 – 7:30 p.m. @ Smiths Falls Memorial Centre
Game Four: Wed., Mar. 29, 2023 – 7:00 p.m. @ Carleton Place Arena
*Game Five: Fri., Mar. 31, 2023 – 7:30 p.m. @ Smiths Falls Memorial Centre
*Game Six: Sun., Apr. 2, 2023 – 3:00 p.m. @ Carleton Place Arena
*Game Seven: Tues., Apr. 4, 2023 – 7:30 p.m. @ Smiths Falls Memorial Centre