Article by I. Schoonderbeek/Media by C. Archer
The Clarington Eagles soundly defeated the Lakefield Chiefs 8-0 at Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex Thursday, outshooting the visitors by a 53-20 margin in the process.
The line of Owen Canini, Connor Davies, and Adam Klaas would set the tone for the Eagles in the first period.
A few minutes later, Canini extended the lead to two when he roofed a Connor Davies centering pass into the top of the goal.
Klaas scored his second of the period on a breakaway after receiving a perfect stretch pass from defenseman Nolan Matheson to give Clarington a 3-0 lead heading into the second period.
Halfway through the second period, the top line started to get going for Clarington. Consecutive drop passes from Kolby Poulin and Dawson Manning on zone entry backed off the Lakefield defenders and opened up ice for Brady Darrach. Darrach made no mistake ripping a wrister past the Chiefs netminder to extend the lead to 4-0.
The Chiefs attempted to turn the tide with physical play as the second period progressed. However, the Eagles matched their intensity shift after shift.
Manning scored just 17 seconds into the third period, tapping in a Poulin rebound for his 17th of the season.
Less than a minute later, defenseman Ryan Hall showed he is just as efficient with his fists as he is at patrolling the Clarington blueline. It took the big defender only three swings to drop his opponent in a scrap that had the Rickard Arena fans riled up.
“22 was running around and taking liberties with some of our guys, and we had a little discussion in the room about whether someone was going to answer the bell,” said head coach Dean Baumhauer. “Hallzy isn’t known to fight, but for him to go out there and say if you want to go with someone it’s me, and then KO him like that…that was nice. That’s the kind of leadership we want. I’m not worried about the suspension…we’ll get through it.”
Whatever enthusiasm Lakefield had seemed to dissipate after the bout as Clarington added to their lead.
Birthday boy Marc-Olivier Robert was great when he needed to be, stopping all 20 shots he faced for his 11th victory and 3rd shutout of the season.
The Eagles have not surrendered a goal for 130 minutes of play and are riding back-to-back shutouts. They’ve allowed only 37 shots against the past two contests combined.
“Connor, Klaas, and Canini’s line really got us going,” said Baumhauer. “When you’re up 3-0 after one and Manning’s line hasn’t got a goal, that’s what good teams are all about.”
“Dave (Connor) brings it every night,” said Canini. “Once he gets us going it’s pretty easy to follow his lead. Playing with Klaas is fun too. I feel like a quarterback out there with him. Once I fire the puck up to him he’s gone!”
Clarington’s focus for the remainder of the season is to force their opponents to rise to their level of play. “We looked at the schedule and this little stretch of games is all about keeping our level of play at a high standard,” said Baumhauer. “It wasn’t a perfect game by any means but when you’re playing teams near the bottom of the standings, I don’t want to see us squeaking out 4-3 wins like we were earlier in the season. We’re taking care of these teams the way we should be. We’re playing the game the right way and our discipline has been a lot better.”
Baumhauer finally had the full Eagles roster at his disposal after a stretch of injuries and suspensions that saw the team regularly employ the services of callups over the past two months. “We had everybody back in the line-up tonight, so we had a couple healthy guys sitting out,” said Dean. “We’re going to keep rotating guys in and out of the lineup down the stretch to try to keep everyone fresh.”
Prior to the contest, the Eagles and Chiefs acknowledged referee Dave Sankey who was officiating his final game. Sankey, who began his career in 1993, has refed over 1300 games including 5 Schmalz Cup finals. In a show of respect, the Eagles players and staff lined up to shake the official’s hand after their victory.
Clarington travels to North Kawartha to take on the Knights this Saturday at 7:25 p.m.