Eagles Offence Dries up in Game 2 Loss

Article by I. Schoonderbeek/Media by C. Archer

The Clarington Eagles travelled to Belle River Saturday for game two of the Schmalz Cup finals, looking to take a 2-0 series lead. Unfortunately for the Jr. C club, their offence couldn’t seem to find its stride. A timely third-period Lakeshore tally sent the Eagles back home with the series tied at a game apiece.

In a continuation of game one, the first period featured more tight-checking and hard-hitting from both clubs.

The Eagles took advantage of a five-minute powerplay in the first when winger Leyton Aitken was hit with a headshot 6:48 into the game. The speedy forward was helped from the ice but returned for the start of the second period.

One minute into the major penalty, Jordan Shaw banged in a rebound at the edge of the crease from Kyle Smith to give Clarington the opening goal.

The Canadiens came out hitting hard in the second. Their offensive zone pressure paid off at 8:40 of the middle frame when they converted a second rebound attempt over Eagles starter Oliver Webster off a scrum in front of the Clarington goal.

The Eagles mounted some heavy pressure of their own off the cycle in the second half of the period, but only managed to direct five shots on goal against Lakeshore’s stingy defence.

The outcome would come down to the third period for the second time in as many games.

Unfortunately for the devoted Eagles fans who made the trip to Belle River, the game’s pivotal moment came at 7:55 of the third. The Canadiens took advantage of an odd-man rush, finding a trailing Lakeshore forward streaking down the left wing. A shot towards the Clarington net was redirected past Webster from the top of the crease for what proved to be the game-winner.

From there, the Lakeshore defence effectively cut off the Clarington attack the rest of the way to preserve the victory and even the series at one game each.

“I knew they were going to play desperate hockey being down a game,” said Eagles head coach Dean Baumhauer regarding Lakeshore’s strong effort. “We weren’t getting much out of our top guys. We’ve got a bunch of guys out of the lineup, so when the top guys don’t produce, we’re in tough. We looked like we were skating uphill, to be honest with you.”

“Webby played great, and our defense battled all night. We’ve only allowed three goals in two games, but we won’t win a series by winning every game 1-0. Our top offensive guys are a big part of the reason we’re here…at the end of the day, they’ve got to be better.”

The two teams will need to recover quickly, as the puck drops for game three on Sunday at 5:00 pm in Bowmanville. There was a little nastiness on the ice leading up to the final buzzer Saturday. It should be another fierce battle on the ice!