Ottawa, ON – With just over 11 minutes to go in the second period on Friday night, the Carleton Ravens forced the puck into the Ontario Tech zone. Carleton forward Paul Larabie took a feed in the slot before getting a late elbow in the head from Ontario Tech forward Braiden Koran.
Larabie stayed on the ice for a few minutes before being helped off, and Koran received a game misconduct. Ultimately Larabie appeared to be alright, joining his teammates in the Ice House stands for the third period. Still, that moment underscored the energy across sixty minutes at the Ice House on Friday.
Friday night saw an arduous, physical affair that ultimately ended in a 6-1 Carleton win but saw Ontario Tech take a pound of flesh with them on their way out of Ottawa.
Coming into the game following their almost surprise 5-1 victory over the uOttawa Gee-Gees the night before, the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks had momentum on their side but also fatigue.
“We had an advantage by them playing last night, so we were fresher, I think, than they were, and I think that helped at the start jumping in on them,” Ravens head coach Shaun Van Allen said.
The Ridgebacks outshot Carleton 9 to 5 in the first period, but it was in the net where the Ridgebacks faltered. With Leif Hertz resting, the Ridgebacks turned to rookie William Desmarais for his first OUA start.
Desmarais came to Ontario Tech after a strong season with the Ottawa Jr. Senators of the CCHL (27-5-2, 2.05 GAA, .927 SV%), but his first OUA period was not one he’d want to remember. Just 6:15 into the first period, Parker Aucoin found the puck on his stick in the slot, and he ripped it over Desmarais’ shoulder to give the Ravens the 1-0 lead.
Just three minutes later, Blake Allan picked up his rebound off the rush and forced it by Desmarais for his first OUA goal to push the lead to 2-0 before Aucoin added his second of the night with less than a minute to make it 3-0 Carleton after the first.
Coming to the Ravens from the Calgary Hitmen, Allan was one of two Ravens to score his first OUA goal on the night. The other was former Ottawa 67 and Ottawa, Ont. native Alex Johnston, who grabbed his first goal in the OUA late in the second to push the Raven’s lead up to 4-1.
For Johnston, coming off four years in the OHL, including his senior season with the 67’s in 2021-2022, the heavier style of play in the OUA stands out.
“You’re playing against men,” Johnston said. “You’re not the oldest; you’re right back to the youngest, so the biggest difference is the physicality.”
That physicality was on full display in a second period that saw six penalties, including three for roughing handed out, but that was punctuated by Paul Larabie taking an elbow directly to the head. For a veteran coach in Van Allen, entering his sixth season behind the Raven bench, moments like that are never easy to see.
“When you see one of your teammates in a spot like that, it’s obviously… you want the guys to stay as focused as humanely possible because we’re going on a powerplay there,” Van Allen said.
“So you’d like to make them pay for your teammate by scoring a few powerplay goals for him.”
Carleton couldn’t capitalize on the five-minute major and went into the second intermission up 4-1 before a pair of late third-period goals from Keiran Craig and James Mayotte put the game to bed.
Despite the win, Van Allen was not wholly pleased with his team’s performance.
“We’ve gotta learn to play with the lead a lot better than I thought we played, but it’s a win, so we’re happy with that,” Van Allen said.
The Ravens move on to a matchup on Saturday, Oct. 15, against the Nipissing Lakers, who fell 6-2 to the Ottawa Gee-Gees at Minto Sports Complex on Friday night.
He may be one of the youngest members of his team but for Alex Johnston, what the Ravens need to do to carry over their win is pretty simple,
“It’s all momentum; we gotta go home tonight, recover, wake up tomorrow, spend all day recovering and then come to the rink ready to go.”
Cover Photo: Richard Coffey/49 Sports