The Clarington Eagles earned two more victories this week to close out the month of September with a perfect 5-0 record.
Thursday, the Eagles played host to the Lakefield Chiefs for the first time this season. The boys picked up right where they left off their previous outing against Port Perry. Solid puck movement and relentless forechecking led to three goals within the first 12 minutes of the contest.
Owen Manarin, Adam Klaas and Trent Gaylor found the twine early to chase the Lakefield starter from the crease. Nolan Matheson finished off a give-and-go play late in the first to spot Clarington a 4-0 lead going into the second period.
The Eagles struck again quickly in the second on goals by Manarin and Kyle Shepherd within the first 5- minutes. Lakefield got one back later in the period, taking advantage of a missed defensive zone assignment to beat Clarington starter Oliver Webster.
Neither club would find the back of the net again for the remainder of the game.
While the final 6-1 score flattered the Eagles, coach Dean Baumhauer shared some disappointment with his club’s performance after gaining the early lead. “You see what we’ve got in the first 15 minutes,“ said Dean. “The guys are flying, the shifts are good, we’re getting pucks behind their D, the forecheck is great and forcing their D into turnovers. It can be difficult when you get up four or five nothing to keep playing properly, and tonight was a good example. When our guys want to go back to playing bush league hockey, it’s not fun to watch and I don’t think it’s fun for them to play. We got lazy and quit moving our feet. We took five penalties in a row. A 2-1 score for us from the end of the first period on just isn’t good enough. Some coaches would be excited by a 6-1 win, but to me we only played 15 minutes of good hockey tonight.”
Goaltender Webster didn’t have much time to get used to his new surroundings after being acquired by the Eagles earlier in the week. Webster was pressed into action immediately with the suspension of Aiden Leger for his involvement in an altercation during Sunday’s victory over Port Perry.
Webster was solid in his home debut and expressed his excitement in joining the Clarington line-up after occupying the crease for the rival Little Britain Merchants the past two seasons. “The boys made it pretty easy on me tonight by getting a few goals on the board early, taking the pressure off me and letting me just settle in,” said Oliver with a big grin on his face. “Coach was on the D’s case a little tonight, but compared to what I’ve been used to, I thought they played pretty good in front of me.”
Baumhauer expressed the need for his defense to simplify their approach moving forward. “On the back end, we turned the puck over a lot tonight,” said Dean. “I thought Shepherd played well, but everybody else was trying to do too much. If there’s nothing there, just get the puck off the glass and out!”
Second year forward Trent Gaylor again drew praise from the coaching staff for his strong play in a checking role. “He’s played a couple solid games in a row for us,” said Baumhauer. “He’s bringing the right work ethic. He’s keeping his shift length short. He’s doing the little things that we’ve been asking the forwards to do and it’s not going unnoticed.”
“I know my role,” said Gaylor. “When the time comes, I’ll step up and make the plays I need to make. I’m focused on making the most of the opportunities Dean gives me, whether that’s on the fourth line, third line, second line. It doesn’t matter where I’m playing. I’m going to give it all I’ve got.
For the second time this season, Clarington played back-to-back nights, travelling to Keswick Friday to take on the Georgina Ice in one of the more hostile buildings for visiting teams in the league. The home crowd had no impact on the Eagles who outskated the Ice enroute to an 8-3 victory.
Hayes Bell, Brock Mathieson, Kyle Smith, Cole Williamson Trevor Urquhart, Brayden Hicks and Kolby Poulin (2) found the back of the net for the Eagles.
Baumhauer was pleased with his club’s effort in the second game of the back-to-back. “We came out and had a good first period. All lines were contributing and sticking with the game plan, and our backend rebounded nicely from the night before,” said Dean. “When we are playing fast disciplined hockey, we’re a tough team to beat.”
The Eagles are back on the road Tuesday October 3, when they make the trip to Lakefield to take on the Chiefs at 7:25 p.m. The next home game is Thursday October 5 when the Port Perry Lumberjacks come to town.
New Eagles merchandise is now available. Bring some cash, buy some swag and support your team in style!