Article by I. Schoonderbeek/Media by C. Archer
A snowy road trip to Little Britain Saturday night did nothing to slow down the Clarington Eagles. Clarington scored on the powerplay less than two minutes into the contest and never looked back, coasting to a 9-0 victory over the Merchants.
The Eagles held the Merchants to five shots or less each period, outshooting their hosts 54-11 by the end of the evening.
Oliver Webster picked up his fourth victory against his former club en route to his PJHL-leading fifth shutout of the season. “Webby made the saves when he had to,” said coach Dean Baumhauer. “Not a lot of shots, but when you don’t get a lot of work and then you face a couple of breakaways and a five-on-three penalty kill, that’s not easy. When we needed him, he was there.”
Overager Kolby Poulin scored two of the prettiest goals of the game, snapping hard shots low blocker after gaining the Little Britain zone at top speed. “A couple of nice shots!” said Baumhauer. “Those go in on almost any goalie in this league.”
“Those felt good,” said Poulin, who admitted goals have not been coming as frequently as he’d like this season. “I’ve had a bit of a tough year finding the back of the net, so I’ve been focusing on being on the defensive side of the puck and looking to set up the boys. Those two tonight felt good for sure! As we approach the end of the year, we need everyone going. We can’t be relying on the top line to produce every night. The last two games we’ve had scoring from up and down the lineup.”
Eagles captain Mitch Davies also delivered a strong performance, playing his usual feisty game and putting up a goal and three assists in the process. “Mitch makes it easier for his linemates to play,” said Poulin. “When he’s on the ice, it opens up space for us because everyone has to be aware of him.”
Baumhauer noted that it could have been easy to overlook the Merchants, given the Eagles have the second-place Georgina Ice waiting in the wings at home this week. “Give credit to Little Britain tonight,” said Dean. “They had a light roster and had to use some APs to fill out their game sheet. They stuck around as long as they could.”
Unfortunately, Clarington will be without leading goal scorer Adam Klaas when the Ice comes to town. Klaas took exception to a spear from a Merchants player in the third period and was ejected for removing his opponent’s helmet in the ensuing scrum. The ejection will come with a game suspension.
“We’re looking forward to Thursday against Georgina,” said Baumhauer. “We’ll be down Klaaser. We didn’t need that, but we’ll get through it without him. We carry 13 forwards for a reason.”