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Late game heroics lead Canadians to victory

By: Daniel Vazzoler

The Carleton Place Canadians picked up an important 4-3 win in over-time Sunday afternoon against the Hawkesbury Hawks.

The Canadians fell behind early in the third period but Matteo Disipio tied the game late with his second goal of the day before Cole McGuire tallied the winner in the extra frame, picking up the crucial extra point for his team in the standings.

“There’s no quit in that room, nobody thinks they’re out of a game at any time,” Canadians coach Brent Sullivan said. “We believe we have a group that can go deep into May, so our expectation is to win every single night, no matter what the situation is.”

Disipio, and the power play, played a large role in helping the Canadians get the win. Both of Disipio’s goals on Sunday came on the man advantage and both goals tied the game up – his first tying the game in the opening period and his second ultimately sending the game into over-time.

His two-goal performance on Sunday gave him six goals over his last three games, including a hat-trick in Friday’s shoot-out loss to the Kemptville 73’s.

“I’m playing with two great guys in (Gino) Colangelo and (Derek) Hamilton and we’re just finding each other all over the ice and just putting the puck in the back of the net,” said Disipio. “Coach puts us in good situations in our systems, we’re all good passers and we just seem to find each other.”

Sunday’s game didn’t start the way Sullivan and the Canadians would have hoped for, trailing less than five minutes into the opening frame. But, a pair of goals before the first intermission turned it around for Carleton Place as it took a 2-1 lead to the break.

After Disipio tied the game near the middle of the opening period, Aidan Cooper finished off a beautiful behind-the-back pass from Colangelo late in the frame to give the Canadians some much-needed momentum heading into the second period.

A goal from Antoine Dorion in the second period tied the game at 2-2 before Nicholas Brennan added a Hawks power play goal 1:27 into the third period to put his team in front.

But the Canadians top line of Colangelo-Hamilton-Disipio didn’t let its team lose as the trio played a role in all four of the Canadians goals.

“The chemistry is awesome, I love playing with those guys and it seems we keep getting better and better together,” Hamilton said of his line-mates.

That line plays an integral role on the Canadians power play, a special teams unit that has turned it on as of late. After a slow start to the season on the man advantage, Carleton Place has gone 8-for-20 (40 per cent) over its last four games and sits fourth in the CCHL on the power play after Sunday’s games across the league.

“Power plays are a big part of the game and a part where you can get a lead, so it’s really nice that we’re clicking out there,” said Hamilton.

“We did change some structural things, changed a couple of guys but a lot of it overall is execution,” Sullivan explained of the change in power play success. “Power play is something that takes time, it’s not something where you’re going to wake up, roll out of bed and execute. Our guys have been able to string together a few good games and are feeling confident, that’s a huge part of it.”

With less than a minute left in the game, Hawkesbury handed that power play a gift by taking a penalty and sending them back on the ice. The group couldn’t finish it in regulation but McGuire ensured the opportunity was not wasted, overpowering Dimitri Pelekos with a wrist shot from the blue-line.

Despite it being early December, the win gave Carleton Place what could end up being a crucial extra point over Hawkesbury as the two teams were tied for fifth in the standings coming into the game. Now, the Canadians created the slimmest of gaps between them while also having three games in hand over the Hawks.

“The whole league is super close this year so it’s great (to get the extra point),” Hamilton said. “It shows lots of heart throughout our whole team that we’re able to come back.”

“Missing the playoffs last year wasn’t ideal but we learned and we knew that we needed two points and beat these guys,” added Disipio. “It was huge, four point game as they like to say but it was an important game for us to win.”

Sullivan also said it’s important for the Canadians to build up as many points as possible before the final month, given the opponents they will have in March and where those teams currently rank in the league standings. Of the six games the Canadians have that month, five are against playoff teams and four are against teams currently ahead of them in the standings.

“This stretch in December, we’ve looked at as a mini playoffs. It’s basically a game day or non-game day, you get the odd two days in between (games) but it’s a fun stretch for our guys,” Sullivan continued. “These games are absolutely crucial. We basically want to go pedal to the metal and go full gas leading into Christmas.”

Before the Canadians can enjoy the almost three weeks off during the Christmas break, there are six games that remain on the schedule during the month of December – four of which are at home. The four-game homestand continues on Tuesday with the Nepean Raiders coming to the Carleton Place Arena.

Visits from the Ottawa Jr Senators and Brockville Braves on Friday and Sunday respectively round out the weekend before Carleton Place heads on the road to face Ottawa on Dec. 14 and the Rockland Nationals on Dec. 16. The first half of the season wraps up for the Canadians on Dec. 18 when they host the Cornwall Colts.