By: Daniel Vazzoler
The Carleton Place Canadians lost 3-2 against the Smiths Falls Bears on Sunday in a way that was very familiar – and frustrating – for the Carleton Place coaching staff.
Since Day One, Canadians head coach Brent Sullivan and his staff have been preaching how they want their team to play. Carleton Place had a strong performance on Friday against the Cornwall Colts, making it look like the team was coming around and buying in to the message from the coaches.
Instead, Sunday looked like a fall into the old problems that faced Carleton Place.
A slow start against the last-placed Bears had the Canadians facing an early deficit. Brody Fournier opened the scoring after Smiths Falls couldn’t finish off a 2-on-0 rush between Sean James and Conor Ronayne. James got to the rebound and found Fournier alone in between the hashmarks, who beat Joe Chambers before he could get back into position.
Carleton Place bounced back early in the second period as Kerfalla Toure leveled the score at the 8:20 mark into the period.
Penalty troubles derailed Carleton Place and allowed Smiths Falls to regain momentum.
The Canadians managed to kill off all five Bears power plays in the game – including a five-minute major penalty – but were unable to generate offensively after killing off the penalties.
Fournier restored the Bears lead following the Canadians inability to exit their own zone following a pair of icing calls against Carleton Place. A turnover in the Canadians zone quickly turned into a chance for Fournier from the slot, and he beat Chambers high on the glove side to make it a 2-1 game early in the third period.
Owen Watson made it 3-1 near the middle of the frame as he got to the middle of the Canadians zone untouched following a Bears face-off win. The Canadians left Watson alone from the puck drop and he found the loose puck in the slot. Watson quickly got a backhand shot away that squeaked through Chambers.
Jake Code made it a 3-2 game late in the third period, and a power play in the final two minutes of regulation gave the Canadians a chance to tie the game. However, with the net empty to put Carleton Place up two skaters, the Canadians couldn’t find a way to create the chance to beat Victor Desjardins and tie the game.
A tough test awaits Carleton Place on Friday as the Canadians will be on the road to face the second-place Kemptville 73’s on Friday before returning to the Carleton Place Arena on Sunday against the Brockville Braves.