Ottawa, ON – As he stood post-game outside the Carleton dressing room, minutes after witnessing his club finish off a second straight blowout by beating the Nipissing Lakers 8-3, Ravens head coach Shaun Van Allen already knew his thoughts on the game weren’t going to seem normal.
“You’re gonna think I’m crazy; I’m not loving how we’re playing,” Van Allen said. “We’re scoring goals, but I personally think we’re giving up too much; we’re relying on our goaltenders to make some incredible saves.”
Even if Saturday night showed the Ravens have apparent kinks to work out defensively, the offence took a masterful opening night and turned it into an even better encore.
On Saturday, it was a battle of attrition for a pair of teams in the second half of back-to-backs.
The Ravens hosted the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks at the Ice House on Friday night and came away with a 6-1 win, while the Nipissing Lakers were at Minto Sports Complex at uOttawa, where they fell 6-2 to the Gee-Gees.
Early on, the Lakers looked to have the jump as Harrison Caines beat Cole Cole McLaren, who made his first start of the season just two minutes in to give the Lakers the 1-0 lead.
The backup to Mark Grametbauer in 2021-2022, McLaren gave up a pair of goals in the first period before ultimately being pulled at the intermission, having stopped 12 of 14.
“He looked a little sluggish coming out,” Van Allen said. “He just didn’t look like the guy we know, so that’s why we thought we’d go to Grammer [Grametbauer].”
The tough start in the net for the Ravens frankly didn’t matter, thanks to Parker AuCoin. After a pair of goals a night ago, halfway through the period, Aucoin found himself alone at the Nipissing left circle, where he wired it glove side to tie the game at 1-1.
Barely fifty seconds later, Aucoin found Aaron Boyd, who buried it to make it 2-1 for Carleton. After Madoka Suzuki and Charles Farmer traded goals, late in the period, AuCoin found himself on a two-on-one where he again wired it glove side for his second of the period to make it 4-2 for Carleton after the first.
“He gets time; he’s [AuCoin] gonna score goals,” Van Allen said. “He reads the play really well offensively, he knows where to go in holes, and he just has that massive shot.”
In the second period, Carleton completely took over, despite being outshot 12 to 11; an early period marker from Majid Kouddara was followed up by two more from Parker Aucoin to punch the Carleton lead up to 7-2.
A veteran in his fourth season in the OUA, AuCoin is well aware that four goals in a night and six in a weekend are more a rarity than a norm, but he’ll still appreciate them nonetheless.
“Sometimes they go in; sometimes they don’t; last two nights they’ve been going in, it can turn around just as quickly as it starts, so just gotta keep working,” Aucoin said.
An early third-period goal from Nick McCarry made it an 8-2 game and gave him five points of his own on the night (1 goal, 4 assists) before a garbage time goal for Nipissing from Pascal Valcourt finalized it at 8-3.
The Ravens move on to their first road trip next weekend, and it’s a familiar locale to them in the Minto Sports Complex as they take on the Ottawa Gee-Gees. The latter had a roller coaster opening weekend of being embarrassed 5-1 by Ontario Tech before throttling Nipissing 6-2 the next night.
Maybe it wasn’t the cleanest game for Carleton; once again, the Ravens got into penalty trouble as seemingly every player on the roster has taken a roughing minor through two games.
Maybe, at least for now, just good enough (with clear things to work on) is good enough.
“I don’t think we had our greatest effort, but we pulled through, AuCoin said. “Our offence was kind of clicking from the beginning, though, so anytime we can get four points to start the season is a great start.”