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Lackluster start costs Canadians in Game Three

By: Daniel Vazzoler

Wednesday’s Game Three in the Bogart Cup Finals started at 7:30 p.m. but, while they were on the ice, the Carleton Place Canadians seemed like they didn’t start playing until the start of the third period.

The Ottawa Jr Senators took advantage of that, holding Carleton Place to just eight shots in the opening two periods and opened up a 2-0 lead on route to a 2-1 win.

“No idea (why we started slow),” said Canadians coach Jason Clarke. “I thought we were going to be ready to go. We had a 15-, 20-minute skate on Tuesday to loosen our legs from playing the night before. We had a good team meeting, had some video and I thought we would be ready and we just weren’t.”

After doing everything right in the eyes of the coaching staff during Game Two, a game the Canadians won 4-1, it was the exact opposite to open up Game Three. Turnovers at the blue-lines troubled the Canadians and, according to Clarke, they weren’t skating hard enough to make up for those plays.

“We only had one guy fore-checking, we didn’t take any options away from Ottawa, they had clean exits and could take care of the puck wherever they wanted to,” he elaborated. “They had break-out pass after break-out pass. I mean, when you’re playing a team like that you have to take their options away. The only way you can take their options away is by skating and we just didn’t skate.”

Clarke pointed out two forwards who were playing hard all game, Alex Bourhas and Cole Beckstead – both 20-year-old players who haven’t been part of a championship team in their junior careers and are looking to change that in their final year of junior hockey.

It took until the third period for the rest of the team to join the efforts of Bourhas and Beckstead, and it resulted in a David Poirier goal.

Carleton Place controlled most of the third period, but couldn’t find a way to beat Francis Boisvert a second time to tie the game. For Clarke, he said the third period proved his team doesn’t need to make any adjustments, other than be ready for the opening puck-drop.

“We just have to make sure we come to play. We’ve got to work hard, we’ve got to will our way back into the series and tie it up. We have to want it more.”

Despite the loss, Connor Murphy had a strong outing once more for Carleton Place, stopping 29 shots – including 21 of 23 shots he faced in the first two periods – in order to keep the Canadians close.

The series is off on Thursday before getting back to action on Friday in Ottawa for Game Four. The game being in Ottawa could be good news for Carleton Place as the road team has won each of the first three games to start the series.