Ottawa, Ontario – The Carleton Place Jr. Canadians will host the Perth Blue Wings in game one of their best of seven Richardson Division Semi-Final on Sunday March 8th inside the Carleton Place Arena.
Schedule: Carleton Place (30-13-1) vs. Perth (29-12-3)
Game 1: Sunday March 8th @ 6:15PM – Carleton Place Arena
Game 2: Wednesday March 11th @ 7:30PM – Perth Arena
Game 3: Saturday March 14th @ 7:15PM – Carleton Place Arena
Game 4: Sunday March 15th @ 3:00PM – Perth Arena
Game 5: TBA – Carleton Place Arena
Game 6: Friday March 20th @ 7:30PM – Perth Arena
Game 7: Saturday March 21st @ 7:15PM – Carleton Place Arena
These two teams have will face off in the playoffs for the second straight year, but these two teams will be playing in the Richardson Division Semi-Finals. Last season, Perth defeated Carleton Place in four games and then won the Barkley Cup over the Ottawa Jr. Canadians. This season, Carleton Place sits as the second seed and Perth sits in the third seed.
Carleton Place swept the season series over Perth 4-0 and outscored their opponents 14-to-6 for a goal differential at +8. The last time these teams met was back on January 10th when Carleton Place shutout Perth 3-0.
Carleton Place’s Keys to Victory:
Carleton Place is a different team this year prior to last year. Carleton Place is the youngest team for the third straight year at 17.57 for average age. Carleton Place Jr. Canadians General Manager Norm Racine is confident in this upcoming series.
“Last year we got swept by our opponent in the division final, but this year we are a different team with different coaches and different players. Just like we swept Perth in the regular season this year, it doesn’t mean anything in the playoffs. We are confident in our abilities and if we play our game and don’t get caught up trying to focus on our opponents “systems”, we will have success.”
Michael Patchell and Bill Gourgon were the top two scorers on Carleton Place this season. Patchell collected 20 goals and 36 assists for 56 points in his rookie season while Gourgon was named Top Prospect of the year last week. He had 17 goals and 32 assists for 49 points in his age 16 year. Special teams, discipline and goaltending has always been big in all hockey games this season, but in the playoffs, it’s a whole different level.
“Discipline and goaltending always make a difference in any hockey game but it is even more important in the playoffs. Our Power Play was second best in our division our Penalty Kill was third best, so discipline will be a different maker,” said Racine. “We need to stay disciplined and we need to take advantage of our opponents miscues. We have one of the best goaltenders in our league and a proven playoff performer in Brody Bernard and we are confident that he will meet the playoff challenge and raise his game even higher,” said Racine on disicipline, goaltending and special teams.
Bernard is expected to be in between the pipes throughout their playoff run. This season, Bernard has played in 31 games and was 18-11, along with 1 shutout, posting a 3.15 GAA / .884 SV%. Racine comments on some keys to a series win against Perth.
“The Keys to winning our series will be putting into practice during the game, what we have been preparing for the last week. We will need our top players to be at their best, remember this is a seven game series and both teams need to win 4 games to advance and finally, we worked hard all season to finish the regular season in a position for us to have home ice advantage and we need to take advantage of our boisterous crowd.”
Perth’s Keys to Victory:
The Perth Blue Wings are target this year in the post-season because they won it all last year and will look to defend the Barkley Cup. This season, Perth was off to a good start until at the mid-way point of the first half that they started to struggle. Perth would end the season off on a good note by going 12-3 in the second half.
Perth Blue Wings Head Coach Michael McLean says they need to rely on all the players in the playoffs.
” We need our BEST player to be our BEST players. Age does NOT matter. To compete against a POWERHOUSE team that is heavily favoured to win like Carleton Place – we need every player ‘Doing Their Job’ every signle shift – 75 shifts per game. We need to focus on US – not them. Goaltending will be a HUGE factor in this series. Carleton Place has two of the ELITE goaltenders in our league. We must shoot the puck from everywhere and attack the net for rebounds. If they see it; they will stop it. We MUST pay the price in front of the Canadians net. UGLY, Blue Collar Hockey is a MUST.”
Expect Alex Zoutis to be the starting goaltender throughout this series and the playoffs. He has playoffs experience throughout his career, but has not won a single playoff series when he was with Westport. This year it’s a must because he is in his final year of junior hockey. He was tremendous this season by going 23-7-2 in 33 starts, to go along with a 2.46 GAA / .920 SV%.
McLean touches on some keys to a series win against Carleton Place.
“We MUST be physical and finish every check to have any chance to win. Carleton Place is extremely fast and talented. We need to finish our checks – without taking penalties. We need to be a ‘HARD Gapping Game when we have the puck. We need to defend hard and slow the pace of the game. Put pucks on the Canadians net whenever we can and attack the crease. Their goaltending is outstanding. We need to get ‘Pucks and People’ to the net to have any chance of winning. Finally, winning puck battles will be the most important factor in this series. Carleton Place is a puck possession team; we need to battle for pucks and win those battles.”
Mack Miller is also in his final year of junior hockey and his fourth year in a Perth Blue Wings uniform. He is their Captain and had 11 goals and 9 assists during Perth’s run to the Barkley Cup last season. Expect him to take his game to another level. Brendan Lynch had 38 points while Kazda, Currie, Salter and MacKechnie each had 31 points during the regular season and could become playoff performers.
Carleton Place is favoured to win this series over Perth because of how the season series went, but in the playoffs it’s a whole different level. Discipline, Goaltending and Special Teams will have to be the difference if either of these teams will have a chance to win this series.