The Carleton Place Canadians bounced back from a pair of losses over the weekend with a 4-3 win in over-time against the Nepean Raiders on Tuesday.
The Canadians were handed a pair of shut-out losses by the Brockville Braves on the road, but the return to home ice proved friendly for Carleton Place.
The hockey gods dealt Carleton Place some adversity for this game that it managed to over come to pick up the two points. Carleton Place began the game with just 11 forwards and 5 defencemen dressed, and ended up losing a pair up front during the game, to make the rolling of lines that much more difficult for assistant coaches Adam Lloyd and Devin Campbell.
“If you ask the players, and ask the coaches that are former players, we all would have loved this situation. There’s not a single person out there that doesn’t want to play a lot,” Canadians head coach Brent Sullivan said. “(Our call-ups) spotted shifts to let our guys roll. I think we have some young kids that will be very good in this league in a year or two, and all of them probably hit the 18 to 20-minute mark tonight.”
With the Jr B Canadians in action as well on Tuesday, Sullivan was limited in his options for call-ups against the Raiders. Owen Coulter and Will Bouwer were used in the Jr A game instead of the Jr B tilt, while Caton Ryan was called up from the U18 squad for his fifth game with the Jr A squad, despite being just 15 years old.
And while the added support provided the help they were asked for, it was the regulars who made the difference offensively for the Canadians. Brandon Walker, Marco Iozzo and Evan Jamieson all tallied goals in regulation to pack the scoring punch.
It was an up-and-down game for the Canadians, with the lead changing hands three times before a Bill Gourgon one-timer in the extra fame gave Carleton Place the much-needed victory to end the losing streak the Canadians have endured.
“I look at since February 4, we haven’t been good. We had one or two complete games, we’ve been decimated by injuries, COVID obviously plays a unique scenario too where we are playing night after night after night,” Sullivan said. “I just wanted us to feel good and play good. There have been some games in that streak where I thought we deserved a better fate – like the OJS and Navan games on the road – and this is one where you’ll take the win any way you can and try and start a different streak.”
The roller coaster of emotions in a game – and between games – has been an issue that has led to some of the struggles for Carleton Place since the resumption of games in the CCHL. But, on Tuesday, the Canadians rode the waves of momentum the game brought their way.
“That’s been a sign of the immaturity of our group over the last month or so, just the emotions. Especially when it’s game after game after game where you’re struggling, there’s no denying that we have been, you have the inability to get over things,” Sullivan expressed.
Learning how to deal with those emotions of a game and over-coming the struggles from game-to-game will come with time for this team. The Canadians now have nine games remaining in the regular season to help build for next year.
One thing that doesn’t need to be tinkered with is the power play. The power play went 2-for-7 and tallied the game-winning goal on Tuesday. Many parts of the man-advantage group are able to return for the 2022-23 season, which bodes well for a group that has been at, or near, the top of the league’s power play rankings throughout the 2021-22 season.
“The power play has always been something we feel we can lean on,” Sullivan added. “Power play is a lot about swagger and a lot about feeling the confidence to make plays, fatigue can take away from that. Fatigue can take away from the ability to read something quick, so for those guys to be gasping and still be able to execute was nice to see.”
Carleton Place is next in action on the road to face the Kemptville 73’s before returning to the Carleton Place Arena on Sunday afternoon to try and avenge the losses to the Brockville Braves this past weekend.