By: Daniel Vazzoler
After a disappointing loss on Monday night, the Carleton Place Canadians responded with an important win on Tuesday over the visiting Rockland Nationals.
The Canadians squandered a one-goal lead in the third period in back-to-back games but, unlike Monday against the Bears, they found the game-winning goal with Matteo Disipio spurning his former team late in the frame to get his team the 3-2 win.
“We’re trying to put everything into a playoff mentality,” Canadians coach Brent Sullivan said. “An emotional loss on the road and we needed to respond at home.”
Carleton Place did just that, jumping out to an early lead thanks to Mathieu Fehr snapping a shot over Haydn Gould’s blocker shoulder 4:25 into the first period.
After Sam Ethier tied the game with his first-career CCHL goal in the second period, Brandon Walker gave the Canadians a 2-1 advantage 3:08 into the third period. Rockland tied the game near the middle of the period before Disipio snapped a shot past Gould for the game-winner with less than three minutes to go.
“That’s a money player,” Sullivan said about Disipio. “For a 19-year-old to have over 30 goals and not be committed – I lay awake wondering why. It’s funny, too, that (game winner) is against his former team too.”
Since being acquired during the season last year, Disipio has been a difference-maker in the Canadians line-up. He has been over a point-per-game player in his time in Carleton Place with 91 points in 74 games played, including his 60 points in 46 games that has him fifth in CCHL scoring this season.
The efforts of both Gould and Joe Chambers kept the score much lower than it could have been. Gould made 40 saves in a losing effort, while Chambers stopped 30 of 32 shots in his 13th win of the season.
“It makes me play better, honestly, I love a little goalie battle,” the Canadians netminder said. “He held them in for sure, he’s a great goalie and that pushes me to be better and stay on my game that much more.”
“Joe’s been really good and he’s only allowed three goals in his last three games,” added Sullivan. “It’s important for us to be able to have that one-two (tandem) in back-to-back games, especially when we’re going Friday-Saturday coming up again. It’s important for both guys to be rolling and obviously happy for Joe. He’s had a lot of ups and downs in his time here but he comes and puts in the work every day, is loved by his team-mates, I’m happy to see him continue to win games.”
Chambers and Jackson Pundyk have been sharing the net for much of the season and, with Pundyk getting the call against the Smiths Falls Bears on Monday, it was Chambers’ turn between the pipes against Rockland.
Chambers said he knows it’s tough to go every single night, especially on back-to-back nights, and the ability to put anyone into the line-up is something that helps the Canadians.
“He’s the best young goalie in the league, arguably the best goalie in the league,” he said of his goalie tandem partner. “You can’t play day-in and day-out and one of the biggest strengths on our team is our depth. From one to two (in goal), from one to six (on defence) and one to 15 (at forward), our depth is a huge part of our team and we use that to our advantage.”
The depth of a team is always tested come playoff time, and that’s how the Canadians are treating this stretch to close out the regular season. They’re in a battle to move up as much as they can in the standings, now sitting two points back of Smiths Falls for the third seed to get some more favourable match-ups in the post-season.
“We took the remaining 27 games after coming back from the break and we trimmed it into series and we wanted to come out on top,” Sullivan stated. “We have a veteran group with a lot of guys who have been in this situation in Cole McGuire, Owen Brady and in adding Owen Rainey here. It’s important for our guys to understand the level they have to get to in order to be successful down the stretch and we’re starting to get a hold of that.”
Carleton Place maximized its day off on Wednesday with a full day away from the rink before getting back at it to prepare for another set of games on back-to-back days with a road trip Friday night to face the Renfrew Wolves before hosting the Kemptville 73’s on Saturday.