By: Daniel Vazzoler
It took some extra time, but Will Soloway’s three-goal performance helped the Carleton Place Canadians pick up the over-time win on the road against the Pembroke Lumber Kings on Sunday.
Soloway scored goals late in the second period and early in the third period, to tie the game and take the lead respectively, before Vital Dinis sent the game to the extra frame. That’s where Soloway capped his hat-trick, netting the game-winner with a one-timer off a Cole McGuire pass from behind the Pembroke net.
“All of his goals were in the paint, nothing was pretty and the kid understands where to go and get rewarded,” Canadians head coach Brent Sullivan said of Soloway’s performance. “You rarely see Will cheat the game and right now has 14 goals and nearly a point per game.”
Sunday’s game is one example of what Sullivan and the Canadians were hoping to get out of the 19-year-old from Bannockburn, Ill. Soloway was named an assistant captain before the season began and is someone who lets his play try and lead his team in the right direction.
“What you hope it does is show guys that you don’t always need to be high-risk to get rewarded,” Sullivan explained. “It’s one thing for your coaches to consistently preach it but, if a teammate is showing you, it resonates more.”
Carleton Place and Pembroke traded the lead back and forth most of the night on Sunday. The Lumber Kings took the lead early in the first period before Gino Colangelo tied the game less than two minutes later, finishing off a slick play from Derek Hamilton that set up Colangelo with a back-door tap-in.
Bill Gourgon gave the Canadians their first lead of the game 6:16 into the second period with his first goal since his return to the team. Whether by design, it seemed the Canadians were attacking an aggressive Ben Forget with lateral plays as Brandon Walker spotted Gourgon at the side of the net, behind Forget, for the one-timer on the back side of the play.
A pair of Lumber Kings goals erased the Canadians lead and gave themselves one before Soloway tallied his first of the game. His power play goal late in the second period continued a hot run for the Canadians man advantage. Carleton Place has operated at a 25 per cent rate since coming back from the break and has gone 6-for-16 over its last three games.
The penalty killers have done their part as well over that stretch, allowing just one goal on 13 opposition power plays in the last three games and killing over 93 per cent of opposing power plays since the return from the holidays.
“The penalty kill was very solid,” Sullivan said. “Our power play, although going 1-for-6, generated a lot of positive momentum. Our last two reps, especially spending the entirety of them in their zone. Our 5-on-5 game has to improve right now as we are cheating offensively … (we) have to pick up assignments better defensively and give up less odd man rushes.”
Special teams are integral to any team’s success and the Canadians move up the standings has been in lock step with their improved special teams. Despite slow starts to both the power play and penalty kill – once ranking second-last on the PK – Carleton Place now sits third on the man advantage and ninth on the penalty kill.
In goal, Canadians netminder Joe Chambers stopped 23 shots in order to get his ninth win of the season and his second in three starts since the break as the Canadians have rotated through him and Jackson Pundyk in the five games to start the month.
The test gets much more difficult for Carleton Place as it goes from worst-to-first in their opponents. Pembroke sits last in the CCHL standings while the first-place Ottawa Jr Senators await a visit from the Canadians on Wednesday night. Carleton Place returns home on Sunday when the Hawkesbury Hawks visit, a team it is battling for play-off positioning.