They’re back … again.
Make it three straight Fred Page Cup titles for the Carleton Place Canadians, and three straight trips to the RBC Cup, making them just the fourth team
ever to achieve that feat, joining the Prince Albert Raiders (1977-79) and Vernon Lakers/Vipers (1989-92 and 2009-11).
But there’s one more ‘three straight’ the Canadians don’t want; in each of the last two years they’ve been the national runner-up, falling in 4-3 overtime
in the final to Yorkton in 2014, and 5-2 to host Portage in 2015.
No team has ever lost in the championship game three years in a row; in fact, no team had ever done it in back-to-back years before the Canadians earned
the dubious distinction 12 months ago in Manitoba.
So will the third time be the charm? Carleton Place returns eight players from last year’s team, and there’s likely no team in tournament with more
motivation than the Canadians.
Looking strictly at results, this year’s edition of the Canadians is the least-dominant of Carleton Place’s three RBC Cup teams – they had 54 wins, 110
points and 293 goals in 2013-14; 49, 101 and 245 in 2014-15; and 43, 89 and 247 in 2015-16.
Of course, the numbers this season were still good enough for a third-consecutive regular season title in the Central Canada Hockey League, one point up on
the Ottawa Jr. Senators, and the offence ranked No. 2.
Lucas Batt (77 points), Bryce Van Horn (70 points) and Nicolas Carrier (63 points) paced the Canadians up front, finishing second, fourth, and eighth,
respectively, in CCHL scoring, while Colton Point, ranked No. 4 among North American netminders by NHL Central Scouting, continued the tradition of strong
goaltending in Carleton Place, leading the league in goals-against average (2.19), while finishing top-five in wins (23, fourth), save percentage (.915,
fourth), and shutouts (seven, second).
The Canadians did most of their damage early in the schedule, running off a 10-game winning streak from Sept. 18-Oct. 12, tied for the longest of the
season in the CCHL, and winning their first 17 games on home ice.
A 24-5-1-1 record as host was a big reason Carleton Place edged Ottawa for home-ice advantage throughout the postseason, and that advantage would be huge
for the Canadians.
They rolled through the first two rounds of the playoffs, losing just one game – in overtime – while eliminating the Pembroke Lumber Kings in five games,
and the Brockville Braves in four straight.
That set up the much-anticipated showdown with the Jr. Senators, and the teams didn’t disappoint.
Carleton Place drew first blood, getting an overtime winner from Batt to win Game 1, and it survived the longest game anywhere in Canada on the Road to the
RBC Cup to take a two-game lead, with Brett Murray doing the extra-time honours at 9:32 of the third overtime of Game 2.
But Ottawa bounced back, handing the Canadians their first home loss of the playoffs in Game 3, and evening the series one night later, sending it back to
Carleton Place tied 2-2.
Point earned a 23-save shutout in Game 5 to put the Canadians on the verge of the championship, but the Jr. Senators answered by handing Carleton Place its
worst loss of the season, winning 7-0 to force Game 7.
It was Ottawa that held the shots-on-goal advantage in the decisive contest, 30-27, but Point made 28 saves, and captain Jordan Larson netted the eventual
game-winner at 13:39 of the second period in a 3-2 victory, giving the Canadians their three-peat, and sending them east to Woodstock, N.B., for the Fred
After the thrilling series against Ottawa, the regional tournament seemed almost anti-climactic; Carleton Place earned a trio of multiple-goal wins in an
unbeaten preliminary round, beating Woodstock (5-2), Pictou County (3-1) and Longueuil (6-3), although they had to erase a two-goal deficit against the
LHJQ champions in the round-robin finale to clinch a bye into the championship game.
Matched up with the host Slammers in the final, the Canadians took a 3-0 lead into the third period before a pair of Woodstock goals made it a one-goal
game with seven minutes to go, but a late empty-net goal sealed a 4-2 victory, and sent Carleton Place back to the RBC Cup.
Already forever linked with the Raiders, Lakers and Vipers in the ‘three straight’ club, the Canadians will try to join Prince Albert (1977, 1979) and
Vernon (1990, 1991 and 2009, 2010) with at least one national title during their three-year run.
HOW THEY GOT TO LLOYDMINSTER
Central Canada Hockey League
Quarter-final: defeated Pembroke 4-1 (3-0, 1-2 OT, 1-0, 4-2, 4-0)
Semifinal: defeated Brockville 4-0 (3-0, 4-3, 5-1, 6-3)
CCHL championship: defeated Ottawa 4-3 (4-3 OT, 4-3 3OT, 3-4, 2-3, 3-0, 0-7, 3-2)
Fred Page Cup
Round robin: first place – 3-0 (defeated Woodstock 5-2, defeated Pictou County 3-1, defeated Longueuil 6-3)
Championship: defeated Woodstock 4-2
Record: 43-16-3 (1st in CCHL)
Goals for: 247 (2nd in CCHL)
Goals against: 178 (6th in CCHL)
Power play: 62 for 273 (22.7% - 1st in CCHL)
Penalty killing: 251 of 291 (86.3% - 4th in CCHL)
Longest winning streak: 10 (Sept. 18-Oct. 12)
Top 3 scorers:
Lucas Batt (28G 49A 77P – 2nd in CCHL)
Bryce Van Horn (37G 33A 70P – 4th in CCHL)
Nicolas Carrier (10G 53A 63P – 8th in CCHL)
Goals for: 68
Goals against: 41
Power play: 9 for 70 (12.9%)
Penalty killing: 72 of 82 (87.8%)
Top 3 scorers:
Bryce Van Horn (12G 9A 21P)
Jordan Larson (6G 12A 18P)
Brett Murray (6G 11A 17P)
NATIONAL JUNIOR A CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
2014 – Carleton Place Canadians | runner-up | 3-3 | 19 GF 18 GA
2015 – Carleton Place Canadians | runner-up | 3-3 | 17 GF 14 GA
CJHL NATIONAL RANKINGS – WEEK-BY-WEEK
Sept. 1 (preseason) – 2nd
Sept. 29 – 18th
Oct. 5 – 10th
Oct. 12 – 10th
Oct. 19 – 11th
Oct. 26 – 8th
Nov. 9 – 6th
Nov. 16 – 9th
Nov. 23 – 8th
Nov. 30 – 10th
Dec. 7 – 9th
Dec. 14 – 11th
Dec. 21 – 15th
Jan. 4 – 14th
Jan. 11 – 19th
Jan. 18 – 18th
Jan. 25 – 17th
Feb. 1 – honourable mention
Feb. 8 – 18th
Feb. 15 – 17th
Feb. 22 – 17th
Feb. 29 – 19th
March 7 – 19th
Owen Grant – University of Vermont (2017-18)
Marcus Joseph – Sacred Heart University (2017-18)
Jordan Larson – University of Alabama Huntsville (2016-17)
Will LeNeave – Union College (2017-18)
Matt Lombardozzi – Bentley University (2018-19)
Brett Murray – Penn State University (2017-18)
Colton Point – Colgate University (2017-18)
Maxime St. Pierre – Colorado College (2016-17)
Bryce Van Horn – Colorado College (2016-17)