By: Daniel Vazzoler
Sunday’s game between the Carleton Place Canadians and Smiths Falls Bears was close after the first period, and the Bears had a 2-1 heading to the intermission.
Then the second period happened.
Geoff Kitt and Joey Warywoda scored 0:38 apart to put Carleton Place in front as part of what ended up being an eight-goal period for the Canadians. Kitt struck for another two goals in the period, Warywoda added another goal, while Sam Knoblauch, Ryland Mosley and Peyton Francis each scored once in the middle period – for Francis, it was his second goal of the game after getting the lone Carleton Place goal in the first.
“Smiths Falls was getting pucks out of their own zone pretty quickly in the first,” said Canadians coach Jason Clarke. “We just made one adjustment and we were able to score two quick goals because of it. We just seemed to get confidence right away after that.”
Once Carleton Place felt the momentum heading its way, the Canadians didn’t give the Bears a chance to breathe in their own zone. Carleton Place had 20 shots in the second period and on two occasions had three goals three minutes apart.
According to Clarke, Sunday’s win was an important one for two reasons. The first, bouncing back from a disappointing loss on Friday against the Brockville Braves where Carleton Place blew a 3-1 lead. The second reason being Sunday was the first of a stretch of games where the Canadians could be without six of their players who are away at Team Canada East selection camp for the World Jr. A Challenge.
“To have our Tier 2 guys come in and play the way they played is really good. I thought our leadership did a really good job of getting the younger guys ready,” Clarke said. “It also proves that our club system from Midget to Tier 2 to Jr. A is really working, so it was a very, very good night for our organization.”
Clarke added the integration of the six Tier 2 Canadians players – Mosley, Reece Bolton, Oliver Carriere, Brayden Campeau, Eastan Eckert and Martin Templeton – was “seamless.”
“It just goes to show you how good of a job John Ollson, Ryan Jardine and Trevor Peters, our Tier 2 coaching staff, are doing with those young guys. They’re playing with pace every day, they’re on the ice every day, playing the same systems and they’re doing a very good job. Just goes to show you that if you put a little bit of effort in and put a little bit of work in at that level, you can come in and play here.”
For Francis, he ended up with four points on the night – two goals and two assists – and was part of the game’s first and last goals.
“Honestly, my line-mates were just moving me pucks, we kept our feet moving, made some great plays and I got some great passes I tried to give back and obviously they put some pucks in,” he said.
Kitt’s impact on the game was felt offensively as he picked up his first career CCHL hat-trick, saying he “had good wheels out there and was picking my spots, I thought I was patient with where I was shooting.”
His coach praised that impact but added the way Kitt had the team prepared in the locker room before the game was where Clarke saw Kitt showed his worth.
“Kitt didn’t have a great game on Friday night against Brockville, and he knew that, and he wasn’t very happy with his game. He comes out here and he was our best player by far,” Clarke continued. “That’s what your captain’s got to do, just showed a lot of leadership and showed a lot of determination to fight through a little bit of adversity. It was good to see our captain get our younger guys prepared, but also get himself prepared and play a really good game.”
Carleton Place will look to turn this one win into a streak when it is back on the ice on Friday hosting the Pembroke Lumber Kings and then the Rockland Nationals come to the Carleton Place Arena on Sunday afternoon.