Story by I. Schoonderbeek/Photo by C. Archer
Clarington Eagles head coach Dean Baumhauer was eager to see how his troops would respond in their rematch against the Port Hope Panthers after being blown out at home in their first exhibition game last week. On Saturday, he got the response he was looking for.
The Eagles finished their pre-season campaign with a convincing 12-3 win over the Panthers at Jack Burger Sports Complex.
“We had a much better start and kept rolling throughout the game,” said Baumhauer. “Most of our guys had good nights. Obviously, scoring goals shouldn’t be a concern this year.”
Clarington opened the scoring halfway through the first period when an attempted pass through the slot bounced off a Panthers defender passed out-stretched Port Hope netminder Marc-Olivier Robert. Connor Davies was credited with the goal.
Jake Dupuis made it 2-0 Eagles a few minutes later, taking a perfect feed from Mitchell Davies from the sideboard, toe dragging the puck past a Panthers defender, stepping into the slot and burying a wrist shot.
Carter Watkins scored on the power play late in the period to stretch the Eagles’ lead to three going into the first intermission.
Port Hope responded early in the second period with a powerplay goal by Nolan Stevenson after Eagles defenseman Nolan Matheson was sent to the penalty box for slashing.
Mitchell Davies quickly restored the three-goal lead, jamming a rebound past Robert from the right of the Panthers’ crease.
Three minutes later, Sidney Wakley used a Clarington defender as a screen to beat Eagles goalie Carter Watson with a shot from the right faceoff dot to pull the Panthers within two.
Ryan Hall, who played another solid game on the blueline for Clarington, scored a powerplay goal late in the period to give the Eagles a 5-2 lead going into the third period.
The Eagles came out flying in the third. Leyton Aitken drew a cross checking penalty 18 seconds into the period, and then factored in the scoring on the subsequent powerplay. Dawson Manning scored from Dupuis and Aitken after some great puck movement in the offensive zone.
The goals kept coming for the Eagles from there. Kolby Poulin scored twice within 22 seconds. First on a tip-in of a Watkins point shot, then taking a stretch pass from Aitken and beating Port Hope goaltender Ethan Babin with a laser from the left faceoff dot.
Tyler McGarvey scored for the Panthers on a deflection that trickled past Brayden Friedrich, who took over the Eagles net from Watson midway through the second period, to make the score 8-3.
However, the Eagles would go on to find the back of the net four more times within a five-minute span on goals by Jordan Shaw, Owen Canini, Mitchell Davies, and Kolby Poulin to complete the hat trick.
Clarington outshot Port Hope 45-19 in the contest.
“I’m happy with how the team progressed through the pre-season” Baumhauer said when asked for his perspective on the team’s development thus far.
While pleased with what he’s seen from the group to date, Baumhauer stressed their work is still just beginning. “We really haven’t practiced much yet, so once we start teaching systems and getting our lines and defensive partners figured out, I think we’ll be even better. We’re young in net and have four new defensemen, so we’ll be concentrating on the defensive side of things early in practice.”
The team will have a couple of practices this week before they kick off the 2022-23 regular season this Thursday, September 15 at 7:25 pm when they host the North Kawartha Knights at Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex.