OTTAWA, ON -The Nipissing Lakers (14-11-2) started their final road trip of the season on a losing note, falling to the Carleton Ravens (19-6-2) 4-3 on Friday night.
Connor O’Donnell, Matt Paton and Andrew Marcoux scored for the Lakers, who can now finish either fifth or sixth in the OUA East.
Matthew Stanisz registered a hat trick in the win for the second place Ravens, who kept pace with UQTR and are only one point behind the Patriotes as every OUA East team has one game remaining each.
Overall, Lakers head coach Mike McParland believed his team competed hard and played well.
“Game was high level, high-caliber,” he said, “We’re just showing we can compete with anyone.”
Dan Spence made 36 saves, while Ryan Dube turned away 23 shots for the Ravens.
“Spence was fine,” said McParland, “He’s had a good run since Christmas.”
O’Donnell opened the scoring at 13:02 on the power play, but a little over two minutes later, Stanisz replied with his first of the night to tie it up.
“We missed enough chances in the first period and built a comfortable lead,” said McParland, “Matt Paton missed a couple breakaways, Dorian Peca missed a couple chances on the power play. We came out of the first period 1-1, we should have been maybe rewarded a little bit more."
“Second period, they had a slight edge in play through the first half of the period.”
The edge ended up working out great for Carleton, but it wasn’t till 15:51 that Nick Duhn put the Ravens up 2-1.
Matt Paton tied it up with just over a minute remaining in the second and it as deadlocked again, going into the third.
The third period did stir up a bit of controversy, though, as McParland walked through the play.
“Start of the third, Sean Ryan gets the high stick in the face, goes down,” he explained, “Referee doesn’t blow the play down while Sean Ryan’s laying on the ice, Carleton scores the go ahead goal (at 1:22, Stanisz’s second of the night).”
Stanisz finished off the three goal night on the power play at 9:10, what McParland called “a seeing eye shot” and the Ravens got the two goal lead.
Marcoux brought it to within one with seven seconds left, but the Ravens held on for the win.
The Lakers finish the season with a game against the Ottawa Gee Gee’s.
Last season, the Lakers faced the Gee Gee’s in the post season and amidst a number of playoff matchup scenarios, Ottawa is a possibility again this year.
“We’ll have to see what the outcome of some of the afternoon games but we definitely have that in the back of our mind and we’ll adjust how we play according to the situation for sure,” said McParland, “If we play Ottawa (in the playoffs), we want some payback and to talk about a sweep, it is only a matter of two games but we’ll definitely be looking for some revenge.”
The playoffs will begin next week for the Lakers. The playoff game dates and times will be announced after the season plays out.