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Newcomers shine in Canadians home opener against Bears

By: Daniel Vazzoler

Sunday marked the Carleton Place Canadians home opener for the 2019-20 season and it was a successful debut for a trio of new Canadians in a 5-2 win against the Smiths Falls Bears.

Jake Code, Steven Townley and Kerfalla Toure tallied nearly every point for the Canadians offence. Code was in on each of the five Carleton Place goals, scoring two of his own and setting up three others. Even after a strong offensive performance, Code was humble in passing on the credit for his success.

“I played with some really good players (Sunday) and throughout the pre-season and luckily enough we’ve generated some chemistry that’s carried over into the season so far,” he said. “We’re really good at communicating on the ice and off the ice as well. We’re always chatting on the bench and trying to think of ways to get better.”

Whatever those conversations were, the three players clearly were discussing the right things as their impact was felt in the first period.

Townley scored his second goal of the season with 6:06 remaining in the opening period, with Code and Toure earning the assists.

Toure doubled the Canadians lead with a highlight-reel goal for his first career junior goal. Code and Mark Cooper helped send Toure on the attack and, with the puck on his stick, Toure did the rest. He made a smooth toe-drag to get from the left-wing hash-marks to the middle of the ice, dragging the puck around the sprawled-out Bears defender before snapping his shot through Jake Smith for the goal.

After Andrew McKenney beat Devon Levi to trim the deficit to one goal, Townley replied with his second goal of the game – a goal that was a little prettier than his first two goals of the season where he bashed around the front of the net until he found the loose puck to bury into the net.

This time, Townley showed his hockey sense by trailing on the attack and waiting for the pass from Code. The pass came and Townley was quick to beat Smith with the snap shot to restore the two-goal advantage.

Playing in his first junior season, Townley admitted the quick start offensively helps make him comfortable with his new team.

“I’m just looking to keep playing well, keep crashing the net and hope to keep putting pucks in the net,” Townley added.

The Canadians power play put the game away in the third with Code tallying both of his goals on the man advantage just over four minutes apart in the final regulation period.

The third period was one where discipline seemed to be an after thought for the Bears and Canadians. After trading a pair of minor penalties each in the first two periods, the two teams combined for 11 penalties – totalling 66 minutes of penalties – in the final frame.

“There were a couple of things that happened on the ice that wasn’t right and it was good to see our guys stick up for each other,” Canadians coach Jason Clarke said. “It was also good for us to bury our opportunities on the power play and make the other team pay for some poor choices.”

“It shows that we’re a family,” said Townley of the Canadians responding to the physical play of the Bears by not backing down. “We’re looking to keep on it, keep having each other’s back. We’re looking for a championship, so we need that kind of bond.”

Despite Sunday being the home opener for the Canadians, it was not the first junior game at the Carleton Place Arena for a total of five new Carleton Place players. Code, Oliver Carriere, James Lister and Stef Hawkins were all part of the Carleton Place Jr Canadians of the CCHL2 and Ryan Bonfield was a member of the Perth Blue Wings of CCHL2 before entering the Canadians organization this off-season.

“It was awesome playing for the Jr B team and getting stints with the Jr A team last year. They do a great job in Carleton Place of developing its players and having them ready and comfortable to play for the Jr A team,” Code said. “That’s what everyone wants to do and they do a fantastic job of doing it.”