Carlos Verde, Communications Manager
The 2017-18 CCHL season began with a bang on Labour Day weekend at the Kanata Sensplex, where all 12 of the league’s teams played a trio of games in as many days.
The Ottawa Jr. Senators were the force of the weekend, winning all three games and looking dominant in two of three victories, while defending champion Carleton Place also went three-for-three.
Coaches Jesse Winchester and Tony Iob recorded their first wins behind the Brockville and Navan benches respectively, while a number of first-year CCHL players shone.
1. Ottawa Jr. Senators (3-0-0) | Martin Dagenais and co. added a boatload of offensive talent this summer, and the Jr. Sens’ new offensive core didn’t disappoint on opening weekend. Nick Lalonde put up a jaw-dropping nine points in three games, while Owen Guy and Chiwetin Blacksmith also had monster weekends. Early on, loaded-up Ottawa appears to be the team to beat.
2. Carleton Place Canadians (3-0-0) | Though the weekend was far from smooth sailing for Jason Clarke’s four-time defending champions, they managed to claim all six points. Dominant at times, they failed to convert opportunities and allowed Nepean and Cornwall to hang around in games.
3. Rockland Nationals (2-0-1) | Dan Sauve’s Nats announced their presence with authority with a 5-0 shellacking of Kanata on opening day. A comeback win over Pembroke and an OT loss to Brockville made for a strong showing; Sean Storr led multi-start goaltenders with a .955 save-%.
4. Brockville Braves (2-1-0) | The Braves will happily take their four of six points, given their massive roster turnover and new coaching staff. Brockville’s scoring-by-committee approach will continue to work if they remain strong defensively and the duo of Yaniv Perets and Justin Evenson stays solid in net.
5. Pembroke Lumber Kings (2-1-0) | Dale McTavish’s Lumber Kings showed character in bouncing back from a disappointing third-period collapse against Rockland to down Hawkesbury 8-4. Their forward group is one of the strongest in the league, but questions remain on the blue line.
6. Hawkesbury Hawks (1-2-0) | The Hawks showed real promise in their first two games of the weekend, playing tight defensive hockey, prior to Monday’s gongshow loss to Pembroke. Rick Dorval’s team has some interesting rookie pieces in Michael Marleau and Tyler Boivin, but needs to be cleaner in its own zone.
7. Smiths Falls Bears (1-2-0) | Mark Grady’s Bears played three tight contests at the showcase, and gave top-dog Ottawa its toughest challenge of the showcase. Goaltender Bradley Dobson (.943) looks to be the real deal, while veteran forward Alex DiCarlo potted two goals to begin what may be a breakout season.
8. Cornwall Colts (1-2-0) | Like the Bears, Cornwall was part of a number of close games and showed solid defensive structure. Scoring may be a challenge for the Colts, but the goaltending battery of Liam Lascelle and Michael Carr looked solid on opening weekend.
9. Nepean Raiders (1-2-0) | With a plethora of new faces in the lineup, the Raiders acquitted themselves decently on opening weekend. Though its offence struggled to generate a ton against Brockville and Carleton Place, Nepean did enough to pull out a win against Kemptville on Sunday.
10. Navan Grads (1-2-0) | The remodelled Grads seemed to get better as the weekend wore on, but did give up a seven-spot in an opening-day loss to Pembroke. California-born forward Brad Estrada (two goals) seems to have a nose for the net, while Brennan Kitchen — pulled against Pembroke — had a bounce-back start in Monday’s win over Kemptville.
11. Kanata Lasers (1-2-0) | Laden with a number of U-18 graduates, the new-look Lasers started the showcase with a forgettable 5-0 loss to Rockland before a narrow win over Navan and tight loss to Cornwall. Four goals in three games is not enough to win regularly, and Jeff Jordan’s group will need to find ways to generate offence.
12. Kemptville 73’s (0-3-0) | It was a forgettable weekend for the 73’s, who managed just four goals and allowed a league-high 13 en route to a trio of losses. They had bright moments — playing Ottawa close for nearly 40 minutes and good moments against Nepean — but struggled to put together a 60-minute effort.