Article by I. Schoonderbeek/Media by C. Archer
The Clarington Eagles clinched first place on the Orr Division standings this past week when the second place Uxbridge Bruins fell to the North Kawartha Knights Monday night.
That didn’t mean the Eagles were going to take their foot off the gas pedal heading into PJHL action this weekend.
Jordan Shaw and Connor Davies led the offence Friday night in Georgina with two goals apiece on route to a dominant 6-1 Eagles win over the Ice. Kolby Poulin and Mitch Davies also scored for Clarington. The Eagles outshot Georgina 40-24 in the contest.
Goaltender Jude Rondina stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced to pick up the win.
Unfortunately for the Junior C squad, they would not bring the same effort level when they hosted North Kawartha two days later in a rare Sunday evening home game.
Clarington should have had some motivation ahead of the contest. The Knights ended an 11-game Eagles win streak back on February 9 in a game coach Dean Baumhauer described as “an embarrassing effort”.
Based on previous return meetings with teams that had handed the Eagles defeats over the course of the season, Baumhauer was likely expecting a much-improved effort from his club against the Knights. Instead, the Eagles responded with a disorganized effort that resulted in a 4-2 loss.
Two late first period goals gave the Knights a 2-0 lead after the first period.
However, North Kawartha took advantage of a powerplay opportunity midway through the third period to take the lead for good. They would add another on a Clarington defensive zone giveaway to cement the victory late in the game.
Coach Baumhauer had plenty to say to his team after the contest…none of it fit to print.
“That was hard to watch,” said trainer and assistant General Manager Craig Wilcox. “The effort wasn’t there, and we need to be better than that.”
“Kudos to North Kawartha. They’ve beaten us twice now,” Wilcox continued. “Ever since Chris Kerr took over, they’ve been playing good hockey. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them pull off an upset in the first round of the playoffs. They could end up being a second-round opponent for us, so we’re going to have to be better prepared if we want a deep playoff run.”
The Eagles will have one more chance to redeem themselves against the Knights when they travel to Apsley next Saturday for the final meeting of the regular season between the two clubs.
In the meantime, they are back in action this Thursday March 2 at Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex when the host the Little Britain Merchants at 7:25 p.m.