The Smiths Falls Jr. A Bears got back to their winning ways after a bit of a slump but are still holding tight to the top of the Robinson Division of the CCHL.
Overall, the Bears are in fourth place behind Navan, Cornwall, and Rockland – all the Yzerman Division.
The Renfrew Timberwolves have tied the Robinson Division with Smiths Falls after their weekend showing — a 6-3 win over Cornwall Jan. 18, an 8-6 win against Navan on Jan. 19, and a 4-2 win over Carleton Place on Jan. 20.
The Navan Grads lead the Yzerman Division with 52 points on 24 wins, 8 losses, two OT losses and two SO losses. The Cornwall Colts and Rockland Nationals are sitting at 50 and 48 points, respectively.
Both Smiths Falls and Renfrew sit at 47 points but Smiths Falls has a game in hand.
The Bears have a record of 22 wins, 12 losses, one OT (overtime) loss, and two SO (shootout) losses, while Renfrew sits with 22 wins, 13 losses, and three OT losses.
“It was nice to get back on track a little bit,” said Pat Malloy, the Bears’ head coach and GM. “We haven’t really been playing to our potential, I don’t think.”
Sunday, the Bears were in Carleton Place where they handed the Canadians a 6-1 loss, while Friday night, Smiths Falls played host to the Nepean Raiders where they earned a 5-2 victory.
Ahead of the Jan. 10 trade deadline, the coach said they brought in Owen Watson and Lucas Culhane “who were the big additions. It was an opportunity to bring in two higher-end guys to give us a chance to make another push this year in a really tight league.”
Watson went to the finals last year with the Bears and the Culhane was the captain of the Brockville Braves.
Deadline acquisitions included Blake Menard, a defenceman from the north, Cameron O’Connell, another defenceman from the U.S. and goaltender from Navan, Nicholas Trakakis. Malloy said these three will “help beef up the back end.”
When making additions of high-end players, Malloy said it often costs the youth.
“Unfortunately, Alex McIntosh and Jesse Lumsden were the two roster guys and some younger guys from our system in Owen Traynor and Peter Legostaev who were going the other way. Then in a separate move, Thomas Cormier who played for us was looking for some ice time, so he ended up going to Brockville,” Malloy said.
“We certainly gave up some youth and some very capable players,” the coach noted, as they take a run at the playoffs again this year.
Now they just have to play their game.
“Right now, we’re just trying to worry about ourselves,” Malloy said. “We came out of the gates, hot as a house on fire at the start of the year, then had a couple so-so months where we were just OK. Maybe we’re just starting to build a new chemistry after adding some new bodies into the lineup. We’ve had a pretty good week, winning three in a row, which is nice. Something I thought the group is capable of. It’s nice to go out and do it. Hopefully, it’s a sign of things to come.”
Malloy said he’s confident if they play their brand of hockey and play to their capability, “there’s not a team in the league that we should be too concerned with. It’s just about making sure we take care of our own backyard and do the things we’ve got to do.”
SMITHS FALLS 6, CARLETON PLACE 1
Sunday was a well-balanced scoring frenzy from Smiths Falls in front of 290 fans with two goals in each period – all from different players as they tangled with the Carleton Place Canadians for a 6-1 victory.
Travis Ouellette, Shaymus Stevenson, Hunter O’Brien, Owen Watson, Jackson Heron, and Lucas Culhane all notched singles in the win for the visitors. Assists came from Ouellette and Matthew Dimaline with three each, Watson, Stevenson, Julien Wasmer, Cameron O’Connell, Trevor Foucher, and Tyson Parker with one apiece.
Carleton Place scored their single tally early in the second when Bill Gourgon flipped one past Dawson Labre, who earned the win in the crease with 23 saves. Aidan Feddema had the loss with 33 saves.
The game’s stars were Smiths Falls’ Ouellette (1st), and Watson (2nd), and Carleton Place’s Gourgon (3rd).
It was the fourth meeting of these two teams this season. Results are tied at two wins apiece.
SMITHS FALLS 5, NAVAN 2
The Bears pulled out a 5-2 win in front of 225 fans after trying to play catch up through the first 40 minutes of action. They turned up the heat after tying it in the second, to win with three unanswered goals — two more in the second and their final in the third.
Labre picked up the win in the crease with Brady McEwan (third star of the game) taking the loss.
Faucher had two goals in the win and a helper to take the game’s first star honours. Watson, Matthew Martin-Gaudreault and Blake Menard (second star) added one each in the win. Assists were tallied by Stevenson (2), Ouellette, Dimaline, Alec Hamady, Faucher, Kyle James, and Wasmer.
Smiths Falls has defeated Nepean in all three of their meetings this season.
The Bears are in Brockville on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. (their meeting was postponed on Tuesday, Jan. 23 because of the All Star Game in Rockland), and on Sunday, they host Hawkesbury at 3:30 p.m.
ALL STAR LINEUP
Tuesday night, (Jan. 23) Rockland will host the All Star Game at 7:30 p.m.
Malloy said the entire coaching staff will be on the bench for the Robinson Division, along with four players – Labre, Wasmer, Watson and Demiline.
“We could have had three or more guys, but it was a committee of other GMs that pick these teams,” Malloy said.
Last week, the Bears had four players in the Young Guns game on Jan. 16: Ouellette, Tyson Parker, Martin-Gaudreault, and Davis Hails.
“We’re well represented with eight of our roster players, and of course, the staff will be coaching,” Malloy said. “It’s certainly good for the Bears, and good for the community.”