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Strong start to season continues for Canadians

By: Daniel Vazzoler

The Carleton Place Canadians have had an impressive start to the 2022-23 CCHL season, and that continued on Sunday with a 4-3 win over the Kemptville 73’s.

Coming into action on Sunday, the Canadians had won three of four games to begin the season and used that momentum to jump out to an early lead. Carleton Place got the lead just 3:20 into the game and didn’t surrender the lead at any point in the victory.

“I think our first period was the best period of the year. You could really see our aggression and our forecheck,” Canadians head coach Brent Sullivan said. “Game clawed back to 4-3, I don’t think it was a 4-3 game. They had some good opportunities at the end but we had a lot of good opportunities to spread it out.”

Cole McGuire was brought in by the Canadians to be an impactful presence on the blue-line for Carleton Place and he has been just that so far. He brought the offensive prowess on Sunday with the game’s first goal. A long-range wrist shot got through the traffic in front of the 73’s net and eluded Jacob Biron to get the score.

“There were great screens in front of the net, I can’t do stuff like that if I don’t have support from my forwards,” McGuire said. “Great screen, I found the right corner and it was good.”

Matteo Disipio scored a pair of goals around a Kemptville goal to make it a 3-1 lead before Noah Kinlock-Varga tallied the game-winning goal with less than six minutes to play.

Kemptville made things nervous with a pair of goals a little more than three minutes apart, but Carleton Place reset and held on in the end.

“Human nature to let off the gas when you get up two (goals) on home ice, you kind of think it’s mailed in,” Sullivan said. “At the end of the day, our guys need to recognize there’s a lot of game left.”

For the first time of the season, it was a full night off for Joe Chambers as Jackson Pundyk got his first start. He stopped 21 of 24 shots he faced to get the win, something that makes it easier to rest Chambers in an effort to keep him fresher down the stretch.

“He’s a real competitor and he’s going to be a very, very good goalie in this league,” Sullivan said of his backup goalie. “Kemptville is a good team and, for us to get the win with our starter on the bench, is pretty big.”

Up next for Carleton Place is the CCHL Showcase weekend and they are heading into the weekend in a much different mood compared to last season. Carleton Place lost the three games heading into the Showcase last season but, this season, the Canadians are tied for first-place in the CCHL and were ranked 17th in the CJHL in this week’s rankings.

“The biggest difference this year is we’re a lot tighter knit group,” Canadians captain Evan Jamieson expressed. “We would all go through a wall for each other. Every time we step on the ice, we take that with us and everyone works for each other and that’s been working out for us so far.”

The Canadians will play as the road team in their games Saturday against the Navan Grads (4 p.m.) and Sunday against the Nepean Raiders (1 p.m.) before wrapping up the Showcase weekend as the home team against the Pembroke Lumber Kings (12:45 p.m.).