By: Daniel Vazzoler
For a third straight game, the Carleton Place Canadians heavily outshot their opponents on Tuesday but the score stayed close as the Canadians beat the Navan Grads 2-1.
Carleton Place outshot Navan by a count of 49-16 but was unable to translate that advantage into a big lead in goals. In fact, the Canadians had to come from behind after Michael Locatelli scored 4:56 into the game to give the Grads the lead.
“We were just okay,” Canadians coach Jason Clarke said. “Little bit of a letdown game, but two points are two points. … We definitely have to be better and have to execute in certain areas.”
The tremendous advantage in shots have been present in each of the Canadians last three games – now outshooting teams 152-49 over those games – but so has scores that have been closer than the shots would indicate. Over the three games, Carleton Place has outscored its opponents 12-6.
“It’s always a bit frustrating when you’re getting 50 shots and only scoring a couple goals, but I think it’s good that we’re shooting the puck a lot,” Canadians assistant captain Sam Knoblauch said. “That’s something that coach preaches. We’ve run into a couple of hot goalies, that’s going to happen, especially if they get into a rhythm early, but I don’t think guys are too worried about it.”
Clarke also acknowledged the frustration his players are facing, saying the coaches can see it on the bench. He also identified things the team can improve on to turn all its shots into goals.
“You’ve got to stop on pucks, stop at the net and there were a lot of opportunities over the last few games where we turned away, did a loop, we didn’t stop and there could have been a lot of good opportunities for us to score,” Clarke said. “We also hit seven or eight posts in the last few games as well. We’ve just got to sharpen up and be a little more polish on our scoring touch.”
Clarke added the coaches can’t be upset about spending the time in the offensive zone that creates the shots Carleton Place has had over those games.
Joshua Gagne scored his first career CCHL goal on Tuesday. His power play goal in the first period tied the game and somewhat rewarded the Canadians for their 23-5 shot advantage.
“Puck popped out to (Geoff) Kitt and I saw him walking around. I slipped in back door, their guys weren’t looking, and it was a little tap in, lucky me,” Gagne said explaining his goal. “I went through six or seven games without getting a point, last game I got one and now I got my first goal. Feels good, get the monkey off my back so I can’t ask for anything else.”
For a third consecutive game, no goals were scored in the second period and it took until the third period for Knoblauch to score the game-winning goal.
Navan had a man advantage, but Kitt poked the puck away from the defenceman at the Carleton Place blue-line to send he and Knoblauch on an odd-man rush. Joe Giacobbo stopped to Kitt shot for one of his 47 saves in the game, but he wasn’t able to stymie Knoblauch on the rebound chance.
The win extends the Canadians recent win streak to seven games and they will try to make it eight wins in a row when they face the Pembroke Lumber Kings in Pembroke Friday. That game is Pembroke’s school-day game, so puck drop is scheduled for 11 a.m. Carleton Place then returns to the Carleton Place Arena on Sunday to face the Smiths Fall Bears in an afternoon game.