Article by I. Schoonderbeek/Media by C. Archer
The Clarington Eagles continued their winning ways Thursday. The boys limited the Lakefield Chiefs to only 11 shots on goal in another dominant effort at Rickard Arena, defeating their guests 5-1. It marked the seventh straight victory for the Junior C club.
Rookie Dale Junkin got the ball rolling early in the first period from Jordan Shaw and Bryson Kelloway with his seventh of the season. Junkin was a factor in the game all evening using his speed to drive play and getting under the skin of the Lakefield defenders.
It was the speedy forward’s first goal in 9 games after not finding the back of the net for the entire month of January. “I’ve been in a bit of a drought and Shawzy set up an easy one for me,” said Junkin. “I’m hoping that can spark something and keep me going down the stretch.”
Being one of only two rookie skaters on a deep club has meant Junkin has had to spend some time as a healthy scratch throughout the season. However, he has managed to be productive when in the lineup despite his recent goal-scoring struggles. You’ll regularly find him creating havoc on the forecheck and drawing penalties with his speed.
“I try to take it as motivation,” said Junkin. ‘When you’re out of the lineup, you kind of take it personally so you’ve got a little extra fire when you’re back in the next game. You want to be making plays and having an impact to keep yourself in the lineup come playoff time.”
Despite outshooting the Chiefs 18-4 in the first frame, the Eagles could only manage to get one past Lakefield goalie and former Clarington Toro Sean Grey.
Lakefield drew even at one early in the second when another former Toro, Evan Wright, blocked an Eagles point shot creating a breakaway opportunity. He rang a perfect shot off the post and in behind Marc-Olivier Robert.
Midway through the second period, the top line took control of the game for Clarington.
First, captain Dawson Manning outmuscled a Lakefield defender in front of the goal and slid a short backhand pass to Mitch Davies for his 14th of the season to restore the Eagles’ lead.
A couple of minutes later, Brady Darrach took a breakout pass from Ryan Hall and turned on the jets. Darrach split the Lakefield D and beat the goalie high over his blocker for a highlight reel goal to extend the Eagles’ lead to 3-1.
Darrach scored his team-leading 21st of the season late in the second. Manning fed a perfect pass to Darrach in the slot from behind the net. Darrach took the pass neatly off his skate before snapping the puck into the top of the goal.
Bryson Kelloway finished off the scoring in the third period from Owen Canini and Adam Klaas. The big defender jumped into the faceoff circle and dropped one knee low to the ice to score a “Sidney Crosby-esque” goal on a perfect shot that found the top corner over the goalie’s glove.
Robert stopped 10 of 11 shots to pick up his 12th win of the season.
“It was a good effort tonight, said coach Dean Baumhauer. “We controlled the play in the first, but we just weren’t finishing. Mitch got us going in the second and Darrach scored a couple big goals. Sometimes you can overlook an opponent at the bottom of the standings going into a bigger game against a team like Georgina, so I’m happy with the effort.”
The Eagles take on the Georgina Ice Saturday evening at the Ice Palace. The Ice have strung together a nine-game winning streak, including a 4-1 victory over the Eagles coming out of the Christmas break. The game will mark goaltender Jude Rondina’s first game against his former team after being acquired by Clarington at the trade deadline.
“Georgina has won nine games in a row, and they beat us last time, so this will be a big game for us Saturday night,” said Baumhauer. “It’ll be Jude’s first game against his old team, and he’s fired up, so we’ve got to be ready to play well in front of him. We’ve been playing well lately but so have they so this will be a good test.”
The next home contest for the Eagles is Thursday, February 9 when they host the North Kawartha Knights.