Article by I. Schoonderbeek/Media by R. Mansfield
The Clarington Eagles knew they had a tough test ahead of them Thursday at Rickard Arena when the second place Georgina Ice came to town. Special teams ended up being the difference, as the Ice came away with a 4-1 victory to gain two valuable points in the Orr division standings.
After a scoreless first period, Georgina got on the board with a powerplay goal halfway through the second.
Less than a minute after the powerplay marker, the Ice struck again. This time an Ice forward picked a goalie clearing attempt out of the air before snapping the puck past Eagles starter Jude Rondina for a 2-0 lead.
Halfway through the third, Georgina struck on the powerplay again to give themselves a commanding 3-0 cushion.
The Eagles were finally able to find the back of the net 12-minutes into the third when Cole Williamson found Brayden Hicks in the slot for his 7th goal of the season. Despite a flurry of chances late in the game, the Eagles were unable to get another one past the Georgina netminder. The Ice would add an empty net goal late in the period to put the exclamation mark on the win.
The Eagles were unable to score on five powerplays over the course of the game, including a 5-minute major in the first period. On the flip side, Georgina was two for four with the man advantage.
“Special teams were the difference,” said head coach Dean Baumhauer after the game. “Our powerplay let us down. They got two with the man advantage, and we gifted them a goal. But when you only score once, you’re not beating anyone in this league. We’ve got to get the powerplay figured out, because if we don’t get it going, we’re not going very far in the playoffs. That’s the bottom line.”
“I thought we started pretty good,” Baumhauer continued. “But our top guys were quiet tonight. With the lineup we have, when an ‘05 born player is our best skater, that’s a problem. Their top player was the best skater on the ice for either team by a mile. He got two goals and was mixing it up every shift. We didn’t even make life difficult for him tonight. You’ve got to make it uncomfortable for guys like that to play or they’re going to burn you.”
The loss makes the final two games against Georgina important ones for the Eagles, as they will likely determine which team ends up top seed in the Orr division when post-season play begins.
The Eagles are on the road Saturday evening when they take on the North Kawartha Knights in Apsley.