Article by I. Schoonderbeek/Media by C. Archer
After a rough couple games against Uxbridge that saw them surrender 12 goals, the Clarington Eagles were looking to get back in the win column Saturday night when they traveled to Little Britain to take on the Merchants. It wasn’t pretty, but the club skated to a 7-4 victory to restore their four-point lead over second place Georgina in the Orr Division standings.
Despite outskating the Merchants through the first 20-minutes of play and dominating in shots on goal by a 15-6 margin, the Eagles found themselves trailing 2-0 heading into the second period.
The second would be a different story. Clarington held the Merchants to three shots on goal in the frame and jumped out to a 4-2 lead on goals by Mitch Davies, Jordan Shaw, Jake Dupuis and Trevor Urquhart.
A back and forth third period saw Little Britain pull back within one before Brayden Hicks and Shaw added insurance markers.
“We’re grinding obviously,” said head coach Dean Baumhauer after the game. “I really liked our first period despite being down 2-0 and giving up a goal in the last second. We had a real good second period as well. But we have to work on shoring up our defensive zone play. We’re a team that takes pride in playing well in the defensive zone, and we’re making too many mistakes that are leading to goals. Sometimes when things aren’t going well, it seems like every mistake is ending up in the back of your net.”
Defenseman Ryan Hall returned to the line-up after serving a one game suspension and was instrumental to the Eagles second period comeback, setting up the goals by Shaw and Urquhart. “Hall was a stud tonight…best player on the ice,” remarked Baumhauer.
Hall came into the contest on a personal mission. ”It was a bounce back game for me after having to sit out the last one,” said Hall with a grin. “I thought I’d better make sure I brought a good effort today. That was my goal coming in here tonight…to be a difference maker. We moved the puck around well on the powerplay today, and we had a few forwards with good nights. It was good we could put some goals up. We’ve been having a tougher time scoring and playing from behind lately.”
For the second consecutive game, the Eagles coach also singled out the strong play of Shaw who scored twice, giving him five points over the past two games. “Shawzy played big,” said Dean. “We need him. He can dominate when he plays big and takes pucks to the net.”
“Dean has been on me about using my size and playing physical,” said Shaw. “Once I start doing that, space opens up for me. I was getting some hits in and grinding, and it allowed me to get those two goals.”
Captain Mitch Davies also put in a strong effort, scoring twice, and playing his typical gritty game, and Kolby Poulin pitched in with three assists on the evening.
Baumhauer wasn’t dwelling too much on the quality of the win after the game. “It wasn’t pretty by any means,” said Dean. “Little Britain worked hard and were advantageous. Sometimes we just need to get a win to feel good about ourselves again and build on that. We’ve got a tough week with Lakefield and Georgina coming up.”
The Eagles fly to Lakefield Tuesday night to take on the Chiefs before returning to the nest Thursday for what should be a spirited tilt with the Georgina Ice.