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Canadians level series thanks to Francis hat-trick

By: Daniel Vazzoler

The Carleton Place Canadians levelled the Bogart Cup Finals series against the Ottawa Jr Senators on Monday with a 4-1 win in Game Two.

After losing the first game of the series in Carleton Place, the Canadians went into Ottawa armed with information on what needed to be improved and they were able to do just that. Along with the adjustments made, Carleton Place was powered to victory by a three-goal game from Peyton Francis.

“I just had my line-mates setting me up all game,” he said modestly. “I got some good passes and the bounces were just going my way. It was nice to have one of those (performances) in such a big game.”

The cliché is one has to be good to be lucky and lucky to be good, and that was the case on Monday for Francis.

His first goal filled the ‘good’ criteria of the saying as he elected to shoot on the 3-on-1 rush and he beat Francis Boisvert high on the glove-side to open the scoring.

Francis continued his strong play, generating chances around the Ottawa net and his efforts were rewarded with two more goals where the bounces fell the way of the Canadians forward. Jackson Sterrett chased down a loose puck and took a quick shot that Boisvert stopped. The ensuing rebound looped into the air to a wide-open Francis, who neatly slipped around the Jr Senators goalie and deposited the goal into the open net.

Francis capped off his hat-trick with an empty net goal shortly after the shut-out bid from Connor Murphy was broken by a Bailey Brant shot from the blue-line that bounced off three or four bodies before sliding past the Canadians goalie.

Just like in Game One, the Canadians had a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play but, unlike the series opener, the pace and style of game for Carleton Place didn’t differ in the game and that allowed them to hold on for the lead.

“Our guys were really dialed in on the things that we needed to get done that we just didn’t do in Game One,” Canadians coach Jason Clarke said. “Those adjustments allowed us to win [Monday] and, in Game One, we didn’t do those things and it cost us.

“We didn’t turn the puck over in certain areas like we did (in Game One),” explained Clarke. “We didn’t turn pucks over at our blue-line and we didn’t turn pucks over at the offensive blue-line. I thought we managed the puck really well coming through the neutral zone. If we had plays to make, then we made them and if they didn’t have a play, we just got pucks in deep.”

Clarke was critical of his goaltender’s performance in the series-opener, but praised his goalie after a 29-save game that helped get the Canadians the win.

“Connor Murphy is a professional, young man and he knew he wasn’t very good in Game One, he came back and did exactly what I knew he would do. He’s just a professional, that kid. He was on his A-game and it’s unfortunate he didn’t get the shut-out. He made every stop he should have and he made two or three real big ones, and that’s all you can ask for from your goaltender and he did just that.”

Murphy faced just 21 shots on Sunday, including a mere three shots in the first period of that game which was something he admitted played a role in his struggles in Game One.

“You don’t like playing the slow games, I didn’t get many shots and it’s tough playing like that but I was happy I bounced back [Monday] and did well,” Murphy expressed. “I knew it was a quick turn-around so I knew I had to focus up and be ready to go.”

The series shifts back to Carleton Place on Wednesday as there are no more games on back-to-back days until the potential Games Six and Seven. Game Four is on Friday in Ottawa with Game Five on Sunday at the Carleton Place Arena.