By: Daniel Vazzoler
Sunday’s game against the Cornwall Colts will be a memorable one for Jackson Pundyk as he picked up his first career CCHL shut-out in the Carleton Place Canadians’ 2-0 win.
It took Pundyk 15 games into his CCHL career, but the 21-save performance gave him the milestone moment – coming on home-ice.
“Feels fantastic to get,” said Pundyk following the game. “Honestly, that game, I was dead sick but it was a great feeling.”
Canadians defenceman Cole McGuire admitted getting Pundyk the shut-out was on the minds of the players in front of the goaltender.
“We wanted to minimize chances as much as we could. We know he’s capable of doing it every single night and we put forth a good enough effort for him to achieve that,” he added.
Carleton Place did an excellent job of limiting the opportunities against its goalie, but that doesn’t mean Pundyk’s afternoon was always easy. A number of turnovers led to some excellent chances around the Canadians net, but Pundyk stood tall to the chances around the net.
The Canadians took the lead late in the first period, and that proved to be the game-winning goal.
“It was a great amount of blocks by our team that really helped me and a big two goals in the first and second period from the boys,” said Pundyk of his team-mates’ efforts. “[The early lead] helped a lot, it puts the boys in a spot where they’re always trying to not let a goal in and it feels fantastic when they do what they did today.”
“Every body bought in, we had a lot of blocked shots, winning a lot of battles and ‘Puds’ playing out of his mind,” Canadians assistant captain Will Soloway said. “Coming into the third period, during the intermission, we knew with the 2-0 lead we had to keep it that way and not give them any life in the game.”
McGuire scored the game’s first goal with a power play marker with under three minutes to go in the first period. Taking the pass from Caton Ryan, McGuire made a Colts forward miss at the blue-line and snapped a hard shot past Dax Easter for his second goal of the season.
The Canadians coaches say McGuire has one of the hardest shots on the team, if not the hardest shot. The key to getting away such a heavy, fast shot is simple for the Canadians defenceman.
“Shooting as hard as you can almost every time. I practice it, I go out early before practice and work on stationary shots, walking the line and the gym as well.”
Gino Colangelo gave the Canadians some insurance as he powered a slap shot through Easter late in the second period. A rolling puck came towards Colangelo and he squeaked it through the Colts goalie, with the puck trickling in over the goal-line.
The win gives the Canadians some much needed momentum heading into a stretch of 10 games between Sunday and Dec. 18 – the final game before the break for the holidays. It’s a tough run in the schedule for Carleton Place and the CCHL pause will be well-earned when it comes.
“I think every guy will just need to stay positive and bring good energy to the rink every day,” Soloway said about the key to getting through the 10 games in 22 days. “There are going to be down days, there’s going to be tiring days but, if we do it as a team we’ll be better. That’s what our team is built for. We love being here, every guy loves being at the rink as early as possible. That’s the culture we’ve built here and it will bring us a long way.”
The busy week continues for Carleton Place on Tuesday when the Pembroke Lumber Kings come to the Carleton Place Arena. Then it’s on the road Friday against the Kemptville 73’s before home games on Sunday and Dec. 6 against the Hawkesbury Hawks and Nepean Raiders respectively.