Carlos Verde, Communications Manager
The CCHL moved into its usual regular-season format this week, with plenty of hard-fought contests, home openers and rivalry games that made it entertaining from start to finish.
Both the Ottawa Jr. Senators and Carleton Place Canadians — the league’s two undefeated teams following the Labour Day showcase — dropped points this weekend, while teams like the Kanata Lasers and Navan Grads picked up key wins to move up the standings.
Navan’s Keenan Reynolds put up a historic four-goal, five-point effort in the Grads’ come-from-behind win, while Ottawa forward Nick Lalonde continued to light the league on fire.
1. Carleton Place Canadians (4-1-0) | Last Week: 2 (plus-1) | Results: 7-3W v OJS, 4-3L @ KEM | Jason Clarke’s Canadians reminded the league why they’re four-time defending champions, as six different C.P. players scored in a 7-3 thumping of then-undefeated Ottawa. Sunday’s loss to Kemptville, however, did raise eyebrows around the league.
2. Rockland Nationals (3-0-2) | Last Week: 3 (plus-1) | Results: 3-1W v NAV, 6-5SOL @ NAV | Despite a late collapse on Sunday in Navan, Dan Sauve’s Nats move up the rankings because of five strong periods of hockey this weekend against the Grads. They’re well-coached, have quality veterans — think Simon Houle up front and Wade Brennan on the back end — and Sunday’s third period aside, have performed consistently.
3. Ottawa Jr. Senators (3-2-0) | Last Week: 1 (minus-2) | Results: 7-3L @ CP, 5-4L v KAN | For all the hype surrounding Ottawa’s offence, Martin Dagenais’s group failed to outgun C.P. or (more notably) Kanata. Worryingly, the rookie goalie battery of Gab Carriere and Francis Boisvert surrendered 12 goals on the weekend. The Jr. Sens will have to shore things up defensively with high-flying Hawkesbury ahead on the schedule.
4. Hawkesbury Hawks (3-2-0) | Last Week: 6 (plus-2) | Results: 4-1W v COR, 6-4W v SF | Rick Dorval’s Hawks took a big step forward this week, figuring things out offensively in a pair of home wins. Captain David Jankowski continues to lead by example, while Colin Stevens has shown marked improvement from last year on the blue line. Goaltender Matt Petizian is off to a stellar start.
5. Brockville Braves (3-2-0) | Last Week: 4 (minus-1) | Results: 2-1L @ COR, 4-2W v KEM | Brockville’s strength (good defensive structure) and weakness (top-end scoring) remain the same as last week following a weekend split with Cornwall and Kemptville. The goaltending duo of Yaniv Perets and Justin Evenson — owner of a ridiculous .939 sv-% — looks solid going forward.
6. Kanata Lasers (3-2-0) | Last Week: 11 (plus-5) | Results: 7-5W v NEP, 5-4W v OJS | The Lasers grabbed the attention of everybody around the league with their two-win, 12-goal efforts this weekend. Luca Nocita led the way with five points, and it appears Kanata’s offensive issues are solved — for now. The task for Jeff Jordan’s team now becomes consistently keeping the puck out of its net.
7. Pembroke Lumber Kings (3-2-0) | Last Week: 5 (minus-2) | Results: 5-4L @ SF, 5-4W @ NEP | Given their memorable three-goal comeback in Nepean on Sunday, it’s unfair to move Dale McTavish’s team down two slots. But, their frustrating inability to play defence and struggle for consistent goaltending — starter Jake Smith has had to finish all five of Pembroke’s games — combined with Kanata’s exploits send them tumbling.
8. Smiths Falls Bears (2-3-0) | Last Week: 7 (minus-1) | Results: 5-4W v PEM, 6-4L @ HAW | Duhhhh Bears. A mixed bag for Mark Grady’s group this weekend saw them split and, again, struggle to keep the puck out of the net against high-octane teams in Hawkesbury and Pembroke. ‘Tender Bradley Dobson has looked alright in four games thus far.
9. Cornwall Colts (2-3-0) | Last Week: 8 (minus-1) | Results: 2-1W v BRO, 4-1L @ HAW | The homegrown Colts put in a tight defensive effort against Brockville to win their home opener, but like many other teams around the league at this point are struggling for regular offence. The silver lining early in Cornwall is that veteran goaltender Liam Lascelle looks ready to shoulder the heavy load headed his way.
10. Navan Grads (2-3-0) | Last Week: 10 (–) | Results: 3-1L @ ROC, 6-5SOW v ROC | While the comeback effort by the Grads — read: Keenan Reynolds — in Sunday’s shootout win was admirable, and could spark a larger change, Navan just doesn’t have the high-end talent or elite scalps claimed to move up the list at this point in time. Oh, and captain Zach Salloum is doing Zach Salloum things with 10 points in five games to begin the year — from the blue line.
11. Kemptville 73’s (1-4-0) | Last Week: 12 (plus-1) | Results 4-2L @ BRO, 4-3W v CP | The 73’s made a whole lot of people around the CCHL spit out their coffees at once on Sunday night, beating five-peat candidates CP 4-3. Vets Tyson Kirkby and Neal Samanski led the way, while Peter Brooks was impeccable in net: Kemptville will need more of both going forward.
12. Nepean Raiders (1-4-0) | Last Week: 9 (minus-3) | Results: 7-5L @ KAN, 5-4L v PEM | Right now, the Raiders appear to be a poor man’s Pembroke: Trying to win wild-west gunfights, but failing once or twice too often in the D-zone or between the pipes. While it’s early days, Nepean needs to tighten up (quickly) to avoid falling behind the pack.