By: Daniel Vazzoler
It may not have been the start to 2018 the Carleton Place Canadians wanted, but it was a close game as they lost to the Ottawa Jr. Senators 2-1 on Saturday.
The penalty killing was perfect for both teams in a matchup of high-powered offenses and power plays. Ottawa held Carleton Place scoreless on seven power plays, while it couldn’t cash in on its five man-advantages.
Jeremie Forget and Connor Hicks were both spectacular on Saturday. Forget made 30 saves as he was tagged with just his second regulation loss of his season. Hicks stopped 38 Carleton Place shots while picking up his eighth win in 10 games with the Senators.
It took over half the game for the crowd at the Jim Durrell Complex to see a goal, but it was one that made the home supporters happy. Griffin McGregor opened the scoring with 6:12 left in the second period. Following a face-off in the Canadians zone, McGregor found some open space in the slot and shot the Darcy Walsh pass to beat a screened-Forget on the glove-side.
Ben Tupker tied the game late in the second period to make it an even game heading into the third period. With the Canadians short-handed, they were able to set up in the Ottawa zone following a face-off in the attacking end. Brett Thorne had his shot from the blue-line tipped in front of Hicks and Tupker got the rebound and slipped the puck past Hicks before he recovered from the first shot.
Saturday’s game looked like it was heading to over-time, until Michael Thomas broke the tie with just over a minute to play. Owen Guy rushed the puck up the ice and into the Carleton Place zone. He passed the puck off to Thomas as they entered the attacking zone and Thomas beat Forget for the game-winning goal.
Saturday’s win was Ottawa’s first against Carleton Place this season in four meetings. The Canadians won the season’s first meeting in surprising 7-3 fashion back in September, but the other meetings have been closer. Carleton Place won 3-1 on Oct. 9 before picking up a 3-2 shoot-out win over the Senators on Nov. 1. The two teams will meet one more time this season when the Canadians play host on Feb. 25.
Carleton Place doesn’t have a long time to dwell on the loss as the Brockville Braves head to the Carleton Place Arena Sunday afternoon. Brockville has provided some struggles for Carleton Place thus far as the Braves have won two of the three games so far, both wins coming in a shoot-out at the Brockville Memorial Centre. The lone Canadians win over Brockville came at home on Sept. 24, a 4-2 final.