By: Daniel Vazzoler
The Carleton Place Canadians suffered a home defeat on Tuesday at the hands of the Navan Grads, losing 4-3 at the Carleton Place Arena.
The players and coaching staff from last season got a first-hand look at how hard Navan works under head coach Marty Abrams. Whether the message made its way throughout the line-up is unknown, but a competitive effort from the Grads led them to the victory.
“They won a lot more one-on-one battles, especially in the defensive zone,” Canadians coach Jason Clarke said. “They had a lot more takeaways, we had a tough time of getting to the net. We just didn’t want to compete and battle, and if you don’t want to compete and battle then that’s the result you’re going to get.”
Carleton Place had the lead in three separate occasions in the game, but couldn’t find a way to hold on to the win.
Turnovers and some struggles around their own net were the evidence of the suspect effort, in the eyes of the coaching staff.
The Canadians had a 2-1 lead to start the second period before a long shot Luke Paquette sparked a scoring chance for the Grads. Addison Lawrence, making his first start in goal for the Canadians, couldn’t handle the shot but he didn’t receive much in the way of help from the defence as Alec Lovisek worked his way through the Canadians to poke the loose puck into the net.
After Jake Code continued his strong start to the season with his fourth goal in the three games, Lovisek took the bouncing puck away from Xavier Jean-Louis at the Canadians blue-line to create a breakaway chance. Lovisek made no mistake as he slid the puck through Lawrence’s legs to tie the game early in the third period.
Jean-Sylvain Boyer tallied the game-winning goal as, similar to Lovisek’s goal, Boyer was left alone at the side of the net and got to the rebound and beat Lawrence for the winning goal.
“They came out to play harder than we did,” Cameron Patton, Canadians alternate captain, said. “I think our older guys, like myself, need to be a lot better than we were [Tuesday night]. I thought we had our moments where we played hard, but we weren’t consistent for 60 minutes.”
Despite the struggle for the Canadians on Tuesday, they still had a chance to get the win late. With an offensive zone face-off and just 25 seconds remaining in the game, Clarke called a time-out to get his players set for the play.
In what may be seen by others as a questionable decision, Clarke opted to keep his captain Elliott McDermott on the bench. For Clarke, though, he said the decision wasn’t for debate in his mind.
“He was terrible,” he said bluntly. “When your captain is minus-3 in a game, I mean, that just can’t happen. He wasn’t very good and the coaching staff and players don’t care who you are, if you’re not playing well then you’re not going to play.”
The Canadians will have to respond to this effort during the showcase week-end with three games in three days. They face the Hawkesbury Hawks on Friday, before a Bogart Cup rematch against the Ottawa Jr Senators on Saturday. To round out the week-end, Carleton Place plays against the Nepean Raiders on the Sunday.
“We’ve got to eat right, get lots of sleep and make sure we have lots of energy,” Patton said. “Three games in three days is a grind and it’s not going to be easy with the three teams we play against.”