Article by I. Schoonderbeek/Media by C. Archer
The Clarington Eagles continued to roll along in PJHL action this week with a pair of victories to pace the Orr division.
The Port Perry Lumberjacks paid a visit to Rickard Arena Thursday evening. The Lumberjacks brought a hard checking effort in the contest, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Clarington offence. The Eagles sent the home crowd away happy with a 4-1 win.
The Clarington powerplay produced early in the first period. Leyton Aitken displayed some excellent work with the puck during the man advantage, eventually making his way behind the Port Perry net. As the play rotated towards the corner, Aitken centred to defenseman Jake Dupuis who had stepped in from the point. “Duper” one-timed a blast past the goalkeeper for a 1-0 Eagles lead.
Eagles captain Mitch Davies appeared to have a little extra jump in his step. The gritty winger brought his usual physical game and generated numerous scoring opportunities throughout the evening. His efforts were rewarded on the scoresheet in the first period when Ryan Hall hit him with a long breakaway pass from the Eagles zone. Davies buried a beauty high-blocker to extend the Eagles lead to 2-0.
In the second period, defenseman Kayden Hambly received an offensive zone setup from Kolby Poulin before stepping into the face-off circle and ripping home his second goal of the season to add to Clarington lead.
Rookie Brayden Hicks’ third period centring pass from behind the Port Perry goal found winger Jordan Shaw at the edge of the crease to round out the Clarington scoring.
A late Port Perry goal spoiled the shutout bid for Aiden Leger, who picked up the win in goal for the Eagles. The win, Leger’s seventh in seven games this season, matched his victory total in 21 games played with Lakefield last season.
For the first time this season, the top line of Trevor Urquhart, Kyle Smith and Adam Klaas were kept off the scoresheet. “They still created some good looks offensively,” said head coach Dean Baumhauer. “At the same time, it was good to see some secondary scoring from the lineup tonight.”
The “scoring drought” for the big three would not last long…
The Eagles had a day to rest before traveling to Apsley Saturday evening to take on the North Kawartha Knights.
Urquhart, Smith and Klaas were factors in all five Clarington goals in a 5-2 road win over the Knights. The trio combined for four goals and eight points on the scoresheet in what turned out to be a penalty filled contest.
Baumhauer knew his top producing forward unit would respond with a strong effort after being stymied two days earlier by Port Perry. “They bounced back with another big game,” said Dean.
The Eagles dominated in shots, outpacing the Knights 40-24 in the game. “It wasn’t an easy game to watch,” said Baumhauer. With penalties stacking up in the third period, Urquhart and Davies demonstrated their versatility filling in on the depleted Clarington blueline.
“We got short on the back end due to a couple guys being in the box and a couple out of the game, but we had a few forwards that stepped up to fill in some shifts in the third period which helped,” said an appreciative Ryan Hall.
“The guys came together with a strong effort and got the road win,” Hall continued.
“Everyone played a sound game from the goaltending out. The forwards did a good job on the forecheck and getting the cycle going which allowed us to tire them out and get our offence going.”
Oliver Webster stopped 22 of 24 shots to pick up his sixth win of the season.
Clarington now sits six points ahead of Georgina for first place in the Orr division standings.
The team is back in action this Thursday November 16, when they host the Lakefield Chiefs at Rickard Arena.