By: Daniel Vazzoler
The Carleton Place Canadians had a two-goal lead on the road against the Kemptville 73’s on Sunday, but ended up coughing the lead away in the second period as part of a 4-3 loss to Kemptville.
Ask Canadians coach Jason Clarke what transpired in a stretch of 1:08 during the second period and the answer was simple to point out.
“Guys just not bearing down. After the two-goal lead, we were kind dominating the play for a while, guys let off the gas and just did whatever they wanted. Odd-man rushes, pinches, the third goal was scored just after a power play. Our first power play unit took a minute-and-45-second shift – I mean, just selfish. A lot of selfish guys on the ice [Sunday], that’s what happens,” he responded.
Carleton Place scored the first goal of the game, but it took until the last three minutes of the first period for Geoff Kitt to deposit a rebound into an open net behind Kemptville’s Peter Brooks.
“I thought we started a little flat-footed, weren’t ready for this game and weren’t moving our feet a lot,” Canadians assistant captain Tim Theocharidis said. “We weren’t trying to make the simple plays … we had to just get back to playing our game, our systems, keep moving our feet, make the simple plays and use the glass if we had to.”
Sometimes inexperience can be the cause for performances like this early in a season, but Clarke says that isn’t an excuse for a Carleton Place team that brought back 13 players from last season.
“I would cause that on lack of leadership, obviously our team wasn’t ready to play.”
Travis Broughman scored 0:09 into the second period and, after that goal, troubles started to set in for the Canadians.
Liam Hunter cut the lead in half as he was left alone in the slot and a bouncing puck came to him for a wrist shot that beat Michael Leach. Just more than a minute later, Eric Conley took advantage of a Carleton Place turnover at the Kemptville blue-line and, after getting stopped by Leach on a breakaway in the first period, the 73’s forward made no mistake on his second try.
“We sort of just broke down and weren’t making the easy plays we had to,” Theocharidis said of the stretch where the Carleton Place lead disappeared. “We were trying to do too much with the puck and not using our team.”
Carleton Place had a power play late in the second period, but a long shift from the forward trio cost the Canadians. As they tiredly tried to get off the ice after staying out for the whole two-minute advantage, Clarke kept them on the ice and it led to a puck deflecting off Neal Samanski and into the net.
Peyton Francis tipped in the waist-high point shot from Jake Meikle to tie the game heading into the third period, but Carleton Place couldn’t generate any momentum from the goal.
Jacob Thousand scored the game-winner nine minutes into the final frame, beating Leach over the shoulder from a sharp angle for a power-play goal.
Theocharidis said Leach was the reason the game was close, and Clarke gave praise to his goaltender for his performance in the first two periods but voiced displeasure in the final goal.
“That last goal killed us. It was a bad angle shot, he’s got to have that,” he said. “Can’t have a bad goal like that in a tight game like that, in a 3-3 game, he’s got to be better than he was.”
For the overall game, Clarke said it was disappointing to see how the team played, especially after the performance on Friday in the team’s 7-3 win against the Ottawa Jr Senators. He said that he’ll look to address that with hard work in practice before the team returns to game action on Thursday against the Kanata Lasers on the road.
“To me, you play the way you practice. So, if we’re going to get back to our standard, we’re going to practice the way we need to practice in order for us to bounce back on Thursday.”
“It’s all internal competition,” added Theocharidis. “The more we practice hard, the harder we’ll play in games.”