Article By Sam Laskaris / Photo by Chris Archer
The Clarington Eagles find themselves in a bit of a funk.
The Eagles lost their third consecutive contest on Sunday as they were downed 4-1 by the host Port Perry MoJacks in a Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) match held at Scugog Arena.
Clarington’s latest setback was tough to swallow considering it came against the MoJacks, who entered the match occupying the cellar in the PJHL’s seven-team Orr Division.
“That was a punch in the mouth,” said Eagles’ head coach Dean Baumhauer. “It was embarrassing.”
The Eagles did open the scoring in Sunday’s matinee when rookie forward Mitch Davies netted his seventh goal of the season late in the first period.
But the MoJacks scored the equalizer in the second frame. And the Port Perry squad scored three more in the final period, including an empty-net goal.
Clarington also had a new face between the pipes. Carter Watson, a puckstopper with the Whitby Wildcats Under-18 AAA squad, was called up for the match and started his first junior contest.
“Tyler Ryan needed a day off,” Baumhauer said of the Eagles’ backup netminder who has been given an additional workload since star goalie Alex Lepizzera continues to serve a five-game suspension. “It was a little bit of a reset for (Tyler).”
While Baumhauer was content with Watson’s efforts, the same cannot be said for the majority of the other Clarington players. The bench boss added he was anticipating more from several of the club’s veteran players but their work ethic was lacking.
“We’re just getting outworked now,” Baumhauer said. “We wouldn’t beat a Midget AA team.”
The Eagles were hoping to get off to a better start on Sunday. Ideally, they would have taken the play to the MoJacks early on since the Port Perry squad was also in action on Saturday night in Apsley against the North Kawartha Knights.
But Baumhauer said the Eagles, who were outshot 14-9 in the opening frame, only directed three shots at the Port Perry net in the opening 10 minutes of the contest.
Though the Clarington team had gone on an eight-game winning streak earlier this season, Baumhauer said even then he was somewhat critical of the club, since it did not always seem determined until the final buzzer.
“Now their effort level is being matched or passed by the other team,” he said.
Baumhauer though is hoping his youthful charges are learning from some of their recent mistakes, which have contributed to the Eagles’ current losing streak.
“We’ll be fine when everybody is back,” he added.
With the loss, the Eagles, who now find themselves in third place in the divisional standings, are sporting a 10-5-0-2 record.
Port Perry improved its mark to 4-12-3-0. With their 11 points, the MoJacks moved into a tie for sixth place in the division with the 5-11-0-1 Georgina Ice.
The Eagles return to action this Thursday, Dec. 2, with a home match against Georgina. Game time is 7:20 p.m. at Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex.
Additional game photos by Chris Archer: