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Canadians wrap up first-place season with shut-out of Braves

By: Daniel Vazzoler

The Carleton Place Canadians finished off the 2018-19 regular season on Tuesday with a 3-0 win over the Brockville Braves, capping off a season where the Canadians finished first for a sixth consecutive year.

Three different players tallied the goals for Carleton Place with Brett Thorne, Keenan Reynolds and Zach Tupker scoring on Sunday. Along with the balanced offence that has been a staple of the Canadians attack throughout the season, the team received strong goaltending from Vincent Bujold-Roux.

Bujold-Roux had been up-and-down during the season, but he finished his season with a 27-save shut-out, his fourth of the year.

“I’m just really glad it ended on a good note. I’ve played pretty good, I thought, for the past three or four games,” he said. “I’m just glad to have it figured out at least, going into the playoffs it’s going to be a really good thing.”

“I think that’s the best game he’s played all year,” Canadians coach Jason Clarke said of his goalie. “He made saves look easy, he made three or four big saves that he needed to make and that’s what a goalie has to do.”

While Bujold-Roux may be the team’s back-up goalie heading to the post-season, with Connor Murphy the likely starter, Canadians fans don’t need to look too far to the past to realize injuries happen and the second name on the depth chart could be thrusted to the starting role at any time in the playoffs.

According to captain Cade Townend, a performance like this just helps build confidence in the team that it can trust either of the two goalies in net.

“We know we’ve got two good goaltenders and we’ve got confidence no matter who’s playing. When you’ve got two good goaltenders and four good lines, it’s a good recipe for success.”

For the Canadians, Tuesday’s game meant nothing for them in the standings as first place was clinched on Sunday with their win over the Kemptville 73’s. That can sometimes create a recipe for a poor game but, despite a slow start to the game, the Canadians caught their coach by surprise with their effort.

“I thought we would play okay, I just didn’t think we’d play as well as we did. It’s a game that really meant nothing to us and meant something to Brockville. I really liked the way we played. We played hard, we played in all three zones and it was good to end the season the way we did.”

Carleton Place carries a seven-game winning streak into the playoffs, something the players and staff hope will carry momentum with them.

“We’ve been doing a lot of little things really well and the things we’ve discussed with the players since the Christmas break, we’ve been getting a lot more consistent with those. That’s just our habits within our structure, you’ve got to have good habits to continue to win in this league and I’ve really liked that our habits are trending in the right way at the right time.”

The playoffs will begin next week, but the match-up is yet to be determined – something Clarke said is making things difficult in terms of setting up the schedule. In terms of on-ice preparation though, Clarke said things are business as usual for him and his team with the focus being on how they can get better in practice rather than trying to prepare for a specific team.

For the players, after a season of somewhat struggling against the other top teams in the CCHL, this win gives them a boost heading to the playoffs.

“It definitely gives us confidence that we can play against the top teams in the league, no matter if it’s Brockville, Ottawa or whoever,” Townend said. “It just gives us confidence going forward.”