By: Daniel Vazzoler
The Carleton Place Canadians picked up the 4-2 win on Sunday to level up their quarter-final series against the Smiths Falls Bears at 1-1.
Four different players tallied goals for Carleton Place as Matteo Disipio, Caton Ryan, Thomas Dickey and Brandon Walker each got on the board. Joe Chambers got the start after a strong performance in Game One and followed it up with 28 saves to get the win.
Smiths Falls jumped out to a 2-0 lead by the end of the first period before the Canadians struck for a pair of goals in the second and again in the third period.
“We needed to recognize we were good (in the first period). The only time they got off was when we gave them chances,” said Canadians head coach Brent Sullivan. “I was really happy with Cato’s power play execution there on that high-walk and the switch […] Matteo Disipio continues to come up big, Thomas Dickey gets a massive one and Brandon Walker with great execution. A lot of good moments, that’s for sure.”
Disipio scored first for Carleton Place, snapping his shot off the post and in to beat Will McEvoy to get the Canadians momentum going.
Sullivan mentioned after Game One how the power play needed to be better to help lead the Canadians to the victory. On Sunday, the man-advantage went 2-for-4 and played a big role in getting the win. Ryan blasted a one-timer past McEvoy at 13:31 of the second period to tie the game for their first power play goal. Walker notched their second power play goal late in the third period to seal the victory.
“We’ve talked a lot about execution and we’ve got a lot of guys with good (hockey) brains,” stated Sullivan on the improved power play. “What I try to do is create a bit of a road map so that it’s more of problem-solving for them where ‘if they’re going to do this, what are you going to do.’ We were able to execute really well, especially off face-off assignments.”
Sullivan added praise to the penalty-killing group, a unit that played an equally important role in the victory – shutting out Smiths Falls on their three power plays.
Thomas Haynes and Conor Ronayne scored 3:58 apart in the first period which could have turned things sideways against the Canadians.
Instead, Carleton Place spurred on by the near-capacity crowd, came back in the second period with a renewed energy to get back in the game.
“You could start to see the numbers climb this year as our team got better and better and started to win a lot of games at home,” Sullivan said. “Today was just electric and our guys really feed off that. We appreciate the town and we want them to keep coming.”
The Canadians Jr B and U18 teams were part of that support in the crowd. Members of both teams were supporting their Jr A compatriots and, as the game wore on, getting under the skin of the Smiths Falls players. Most of their jeering aimed towards Sean James, with the frustration being more and more evident as time ticked away.
The home team has won both games of the series so far, a trend that doesn’t favour the Canadians who will have to win a game on the road in order to move on to the next round.
“We knew that coming in,” stated Sullivan. “We knew that, us being the six-seed, we’re going to have to steal one from them. Ideally, that would have been Game One – it wasn’t, so now it’s a best-of-five. It’s important for us to reset, still make some adjustments heading into Tuesday. (Smiths Falls) is a bigger sheet, it’s a faster sheet. That should play to our advantage with our speed. We need to channel the energy we have in our rink and just steal one.”
The series shifts back to Smiths Falls on Tuesday with the first half of games on back-to-back nights, as Game Four takes place Wednesday night in Carleton Place.
Series tied 1-1
Game One: Fri., Mar. 24, 2023 – 7:30 p.m. @ SF 5 – CPC 1
Game Two: Sun., Mar. 26, 2023 – 3:00 p.m @ CPC 4 – SF 2
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