Article by I. Schoonderbeek/Media by C. Archer & N. Schoonderbeek
That’s more like it!
The Clarington Eagles sent the crowd home happy in their last home game of the season Saturday evening at Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex. The Eagles defeated the Stayner Siskins 4-1 in their second round-robin matchup of the Schmalz Cup tournament and will head to Woodstock next weekend sporting a 1-1 record.
Unlike the disappointing effort the night before in a 7-5 loss to Wellesley, Clarington was ready to go from the drop of the puck on Saturday.
Jordan Shaw got the Eagles on the scoreboard early in the first period. With Kolby Poulin in the penalty box for slashing, Shaw started the play with some excellent work on the penalty kill. The big winger held the puck along the boards in the corner below the Stayner goal line until Brady Darrach snuck in to steal the puck. Darrach carried the puck behind the Siskens net to the opposite face-off circle before feeding a pass back to Shaw who had made his way to the front of the goal. Shaw buried his own rebound for his fourth goal of the post-season.
The one-goal Eagles lead held for the remainder of the first period.
Less than a minute into the second, Clarington struck again. The Eagles started the frame on the powerplay after a Siskins penalty late in the first period. On the man-advantage, defenseman Cole Williamson directed a low point shot at the net. Shaw’s first shot off the rebound was stopped, but captain Dawson Manning was there to snap home the second rebound to put the Eagles up 2-0.
The Siskins got one back two minutes later when a missed Clarington defensive assignment left a Stayner forward alone in front of goaltender Marc-Olivier Robert. The crafty forward pulled the puck back between his legs as he cruised across the front of the crease and flipped the puck back over the pad of Robert who was moving with the play.
The Eagles would restore the two-goal advantage mid-way through the period, taking advantage of another powerplay opportunity. Manning snapped home his second of the game, and ninth of the play-offs after a blocked Darrach shot attempt.
Manning’s second goal of the game:
The 3-1 lead stood until the 13-minute mark of the third when Jake Dupuis forced a Siskins turnover and sprung Mitch Davies, who beat the goaltender for his 10th of the playoffs to put the game out of reach.
Robert was terrific in net for the Eagles, stopping 47 of 48 shots faced to pick up his eighth playoff win. “We got an excellent performance from Marc,” said coach Dean Baumhauer. “You have to have that this time of year.”
Baumhauer was pleased to see his team bounce back after their performance less than 24 hours earlier. “It was nice to win our last game on home ice for the fans and ownership. I thought it was an entertaining game for everyone to watch,” said Dean. “When we got our schedule, this is the game I was concerned with. We didn’t get home until after 1:00 am last night and had to play a rested Stayner team.
“I thought it was an outstanding effort by the guys,” Dean continued. “We were a lot better defensively. We had a short bench and were down to 10 forwards by the end of the game, but we’ve got the better part of a week now to get healthy. Manning’s line was good today, as they usually are. The other lines really stepped it up from yesterday and played a lot better. We were more mindful of clock management and little things like that. When you’re up 3-1 in a game, you can’t be turning the puck over like we did last night [against the AppleJacks].”
Manning/Darrach/Shaw line winning a face-off:
The Eagles travel to Woodstock next weekend to wrap up their season. They’ll complete the round-robin schedule Friday, May 12 at 8:00 p.m. It will be a rematch of last season’s Schmalz Cup final game against the Lakeshore Canadiens. The semi-final and final games will take place Saturday and Sunday. Fans can check the team website and social media for schedule updates.
“We’re feeling really good about ourselves heading to Woodstock,” said Baumhauer. “We’re in a good spot where if we win Friday, we could end up top seed. We’ve had two great seasons in a row. You hope everything can line up and you can get it done. Either way, I’m proud of these kids. They make it fun to come to the rink.”
Based on the support we’ve seen this season, it’s safe to say that Eagles fans, friends, and family will be proud of their boys either way too.