Article by I. Schoonderbeek & N. Schoonderbeek/Media by C. Archer
The Clarington Eagles didn’t get off to the start they wanted in the round-robin stage of the Schmalz Cup finals tournament Friday evening. The Junior C squad was defeated by the South Conference champion Wellesley Applejacks 7-5 in front of 520 fans at the Woolwich Memorial Centre in Elmira.
For coach Dean Baumhauer, the game presented the first opportunity to see what the Eagles will be up against leading up to the semi-finals in Woodstock on May 13. His assessment? “We got intimidated by a hard-hitting team that played heavy and honest.”
The Eagles looked very much like a club that hadn’t played for nine days. Poor execution and sloppy play more or less summarized the Clarington first-period performance. Baumhauer questioned whether his team thought they were going to walk through and therefore underestimated the team.
Despite the lackluster start, the Eagles came out of the first no worse for wear. Owen Manarin and Ryan Hall each found the back of the net for Clarington as the teams headed to the dressing rooms deadlocked at two.
The second period saw more of the same inconsistent play. After the Eagles seemingly had taken control with two early goals from Dawson Manning and Brady Darrach, Wellesley pulled back within one halfway through the frame with a harmless looking shot that somehow found its way through Jude Rondina.
But two late goals from the Applejacks evened up the score again at 5-5 heading into the second intermission.
The opportunity was there for the Eagles to salvage the game in the third with a strong pushback. Instead, it was Wellesley who scored twice to take the first win of the round-robin.
It’s still early though, and this loss is eerily similar to the situation the Eagles found themselves in after the first Schmalz tournament round-robin game last year. “We were just as awful losing 3-0 last year to Stayner. So it is what it is,” said Baumhauer. “But I’ll tell you, if that’s the weakest, we’d better pick it up.”
Eagles fans, our last home game of the year is Saturday! We *MUST* see you at Rickard Arena at 5:00 pm, when we play the Stayner Siskens. Bring your kids, neighbours, posters, and all of your noise makers. While we also hope to see as many of you as possible in Woodstock, if you can’t travel then this will be your last time to see our overagers play, including Bryson Kelloway, Connor Davies, Carter Watkins, and our team captain Dawson Manning.