By: Daniel Vazzoler
The Carleton Place Canadians failed to perform to their best in Tuesday’s CCHL Showcase event, picking up a 5-3 loss to the host Kemptville 73’s.
The Canadians scored a pair of power play goals early in the second period to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead, but failed to hold on to the advantage. Carleton Place surrendered a pair of goals later in the middle frame that proved to be the difference.
“Disappointed in our physicality and battle level,” Canadians coach Brent Sullivan said after the loss. “We were outcompeted in all areas of the ice. We’re approaching games with the wrong mentality here. We need to get back to our standard of outworking teams first before our skill takes over.”
Carleton Place outshot Kemptville 40-34 in the game but it was Alex Musielak who outperformed Joe Chambers to come away with the loss and be named the game’s first star.
Despite the shot totals, the stats are misleading given the low levels of danger many of those shots had. Carleton Place tested Musielak, but a lot of the shot attempts were from distance and not enough second chances in the eyes of its coach.
“We aren’t hard enough on pucks in scoring areas,” he explained. “The will to bury rebounds or get to dirty areas was not there. (Kemptville) scored goals from the paint and we need to get back to that.”
The loss was not all doom-and-gloom for the Canadians. After going scoreless in the first two games back from the holidays, the power play struck for a pair of important goals in the second period.
Brandon Walker scored 0:33 into the middle frame to tie the game at 2-2 before Matteo Disipio put Carleton Place ahead at 3:43 of the second period with his team-leading 21st goal of the season.
“I’m happy our power play generated momentum for us in the second period with, not just the two goals, but also the sustained time in the ‘O’-zone on their reps,” Sullivan said. “After two games of not cashing in, this was important for them to get on the board.”
The Canadians couldn’t carry the momentum for long though.
Just 3:09 after Disipio gave Carleton Place the lead, Matthew O’Doherty tied the game again before a goal late in the period by Tyler Melvin gave the 73’s the 4-3 lead going into the third period.
Despite the loss, the Canadians are still very much in the playoff picture. Currently sitting sixth in the league standings, they are just two points out of having home-ice advantage and have three games in hand over the Hawkesbury Hawks who occupy the fourth-seed. Carleton Place also has two games in hand over the third-ranked Smiths Falls Bears and are six points back.
“It’s a long season and we’re still in a good position,” expressed Sullivan,” but some of these bad habits we are showing need to stop right now. You won’t win games down the stretch this way and this is not the identity of this group. That will be crystal clear to them before Friday against (the) Renfrew (Wolves).”
Friday marks the first game at home in the new year for the Canadians before a pair of games on the road in the upcoming week. Carleton Place travels to face the Pembroke Lumber Kings on Sunday night and on Wednesday to visit the Ottawa Jr Senators.