Article by I. Schoonderbeek/Media by C. Archer & T. Schoonderbeek
The third time is a charm.
The Clarington Eagles were finally able to solve the Little Britain Merchants Thursday night at Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex. The home side defeated their Orr division rivals in a dominant 5-1 effort. The Merchants had secured three out of four available points in the previous two meetings between the two clubs.
Clarington jumped out to an early lead in the first minute of the game when defenseman Bryson Kelloway scored his first goal of the season, assisted by Connor Davies and Brady Darrach. The Eagles would carry the 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
The second frame started in a similar fashion, with Darrach finding the back of the net on the powerplay 25 seconds into the period on a setup from Kolby Poulin and Ryan Hall. Unfortunately, the Clarington sniper’s evening would come to an end shortly after when he was ejected from the game after taking a checking from behind penalty.
Eagles rookie forward Trent Gaylor added his fourth and fifth goals of the season to give Clarington a commanding 4-0 lead heading into the third.
“Trent really stepped up tonight,” said assistant coach Jamie Showers. “He had been struggling a little recently, but a little encouragement from his veteran teammates got him going. He really solidified his position with the team tonight.”
Trent Gaylor finds the back of the net:
Goaltender Marc-Olivier Robert was outstanding once again for the home squad. Unfortunately, his shut-out bid was spoiled with less than a second to play in the game when the Eagles
were unable to clear the puck from the defensive zone. “Marc has been exceptional,” said coach Showers. “He’s giving us the type of performance we’ll require to go deep into a playoff run.”
The Eagles had several players return to the lineup from injury and suspension, including Ryan Hall who had missed the previous five contests. Hall was an impact player on the back end for the first-place squad.
“Tonight was an overall solid team effort against a really good hockey club,” said Showers. “This was the type of performance we can be proud of and build off as a team and coaching staff.”
The Eagles have another tough test ahead of them next Thursday when they host the second-place Uxbridge Bruins at Rickard arena on December 1. Clarington has won all three games against their rivals from the west so far this season. Puck drop is 7:25 p.m.