By Sam Laskaris
The Clarington Eagles are on a bit of a roll.
After a season-opening loss against the Little Britiain Merchants back on Oct. 2, the Eagles have now racked up three consecutive wins.
Clarington’s latest triumph was a lopsided 8-0 victory over the visiting Lakefield Chiefs in a Provincial Junior Hockey League contest held Thursday at the Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex.
“Getting a couple of wins under our belts is a good thing,” said Eagles’ rookie forward Owen Maranin, who scored once, added an assist and was selected as the team’s player of the game. “We’ve just got to keep it rolling. Everyone is feeling good and we’re going to keep winning if we’re feeling good.”
Eagles’ head coach Dean Baumhauer said that prior to Thursday’s outing he had challenged Maranin and his linemates, brothers Mitchell and Connor Davies to step up their offensive production.
The trio did just that. Besides Manarin’s two-point night, Mitchell Davies scored twice and added an assist. Connor Davies also had one assist to result in a six-point night for the line.
“I thought they were a really good group for us tonight,” Baumhauer said.
The Eagles’ bench boss is also pleased to see his entire squad getting on a bit of a roll. Thursday’s shutout was its second in as many games as Clarington blanked the host North Kawartha Knights 6-0 this past Saturday.
Alex Lepizzera, who has started all four of the Eagles’ games thus far this season, earned his second straight shutout.
“I’m getting more familiar with the players and the players are getting more familiar with what we’re trying to do here,” Baumhauer said.
Mararin said he was pleased to see the Eagles continue to dominate the game after taking a 3-0 lead into the first intermission. Clarington outshot Lakefield by a 56-17 count on the night.
“I’m sure anyone will tell you as soon as you get up a few goals you get a little lazy but you’ve got to keep the foot down and not give them any space,” Manarin said. “And I feel like we did that. We didn’t give them any space and we kept it going.”
Heading into the match Baumhauer knew the Chiefs, who had registered victories in their first three starts this season, would be missing a couple of their offensive guns because of other commitments.
“I told them before the game,” Baumhauer said. “If you get an opportunity and you’re up at the end of the first, good players and good teams put their foot on the jugular and run it up. Pad the stats in a respectful way.”
Seven different players scored for the Eagles. Besides Manarin and Mitchell Davies, Carter Watkins, Ethan Schoonderbeek, Nathaniel Stirling, Jacob Lemere and Jordan Shaw all scored as well.
“We’re getting production out of all four lines which is nice to see,” Baumhauer said. “Some guys are getting frustrated in a game like that and maybe they’re not producing but they’re generating opportunities which usually means good things are going to come.”
Baumhauer also praised all of his defencemen.
“I thought our D played really well,” he said. “Any time you get a shutout that’s obvious. It’s easy to get bad habits when you’re up four or 5-0. But I thought our guys respect Lepizzera so much that they want to get him that shutout.”
Baumhauer added since it is still early in the 2021-22 campaign, he’s simply been rolling all four of his lines.
“I played them in all situations and I think that’s the biggest thing,” he said. “Am I going to have to find the powerplay guys? Yeah, eventually. But right now I’m kind of letting them sort it out and show me who wants that extra ice.”
The Eagles return to action on Sunday with a road contest versus the Port Perry MoJacks. Game time is 7:25 p.m. at Scugog Arena.
Clarington’s next home game is next Thursday (Oct. 21) against the Georgina Ice. The opening faceoff for that match is set for 7:20pm.