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Canadians ride roller coaster of emotions in loss to Wolves

By: Daniel Vazzoler

In the Carleton Place Canadians’ return to home ice in 2022, the Canadians gave their fans quite the experience in the first game back at the Carleton Place Arena.

Carleton Place fell behind the Renfrew Wolves 8-4 a little more than four minutes into the third period with a penalty shot goal from Jakob Kalin. After that, the Canadians responded with four goals of their own to bring the game back level with just 6:57 remaining in regulation.

But the emotional high and hard work was all for naught as Charlie Johnson tallied the game-winning goal for the Wolves with just 1:19 remaining on the clock.

“It sucks but, at the same time, January 4th, we lost in a shoot-out (to them) and that sucked too,” Canadians coach Brent Sullivan said. “I would lose a lot of sleep if I thought about the amount of games I’d love back over the year. What I’m trying to do, especially in playing 28 games in two months, is take the positives out of it and try to keep the emotions in check.”

Tuesday night’s game was one full of excitement and back-and-forth action.

It looked like it was going to be a rough night for Carleton Place early on, as the Wolves jumped out to a 3-0 lead just over 13 minutes into the game. A time-out and goalie change following the Tyson Tomasini marker swung the momentum in favour of the Canadians.

The Canadians responded by scoring two goals in 3:15 following the time-out and cut the deficit to a single goal heading into the first intermission.

Matteo Disipio continued his hot streak by tying the game and scoring in his third straight game as a Canadian early in the second period. Then the wheels looked like they were going to come off for Carleton Place.

Former Canadian Brendan Hill restored the Renfrew lead 0:30 after Carleton Place tied it before his team-mates would add another pair of goals to take a 6-3 lead into the break. It then took Mathieu Parent 2:13 into the third period to extend the lead to four goals.

But, despite Derek Hamilton’s goal 3:39 into the third period being erased by the Kalin penalty shot goal, the Canadians continued to claw their way back into the game throughout the third period.

“I said the same thing to the group at the time-out, at the first intermission when we clawed it back to 3-2 and the second intermission – no matter what you have pride in the jersey,” Sullivan said. “The second thing was ‘you make sure you empty it.’ I’m very proud of the fact the group bought into that. When it got to 8-4 with 16 minutes left, it could have been real easy (to give up). You could tell when (Renfrew) called their time-out (at 8-6) that we had them on their heels and our guys started to feel it.”

Disipio completed his hat-trick as part of the four-goal comeback, as he made the score 8-6 and then 8-7, before Hamilton tied things up with his second goal of the game – with the Canadians sixth power play goal on the night.

“I knew when I was getting him, he had the potential to be elite and an elite goal-scorer. He had done it at the U18 level and on other teams he wasn’t put in a spot to play to his strengths,” Sullivan said of the newly acquired Disipio. “Right away I knew I was going to put him in a spot to succeed playing with Bill Gourgon and Derek Hamilton. There’s a lot of pace on that line but, a lot of times, Disipio does a lot on his own. He’s very crafty, has great hands, a knack for getting to the net and he’s a big-game guy.”

Unfortunately for the Canadians, the comeback came to a screeching halt when Johnson batted home the rebound of Tomasini’s initial shot in the dying moments of the third period and an empty-net goal from Joey Kennelly sealed the victory in the final minute of the game.

“If there’s something these last three games have told us, it’s that we have the potential to be an elite offensive team pretty darn quick,” Sullivan praised. “We have a ton of stuff to clean up defensively. Any time you can score eight goals on 28 shots, that’s great. When you allow 10 (goals) on 33 (shots), it’s pretty terrible.”