Eagles Take 1-0 Lead in Second Round Series

Article by I. Schoonderbeek/Media by C. Archer

The Clarington Eagles started the second round off with a bang at Rickard Arena Thursday evening! The Junior ‘C’ squad put in a solid three-period effort in a 9-0 victory over the Georgina Ice in the first game of their best-of-seven series.

It didn’t take long for the Eagles to get going. Sniper Brady Darrach won a battle for the puck along the side boards in the Georgina end just over a minute into the game. Darrach drove to the center of the ice and used a teammate as a decoy before ripping a shot over the goaltender’s glove.

Halfway through the period, Mitch Davies banged in his own rebound on the powerplay to extend the Clarington lead to two. Connor Davies and Jordan Shaw drew assists on the play.

Nolan Matheson scored his fourth of the playoffs in the dying seconds of the period from Jake Dupuis and Darrach to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

Kolby Poulin snapped home a rebound six minutes into the second for his second of the playoffs with the Davies brothers each drawing assists on the play.

The Davies brothers struck again five minutes later. With the Eagles on the penalty kill, Mitch chased down a puck in the Georgina end. He outworked a Georgina defender, then drew two more Ice skaters towards him in the corner before centering a pass to a wide-open Connor in the slot. Connor released a perfect shot off the post and in past the helpless Georgina netminder for a short-handed goal.

Jake Dupuis extended the Clarington lead to six goals before the period ended when he stepped into a one-timer on the powerplay after receiving a drop pass from Connor Davies.

The Eagles weren’t done.

Adam Klaas took a breakout pass from Matheson eight minutes into the third period, drove hard through the neutral zone, and took the puck straight to the Georgina net for a highlight-reel goal. Eagles starter Jude Rondina also earned an assist on the play.

Defenseman Ryan Hall found the back of the net from the point on the powerplay from Connor Davies and Cole Williamson halfway through the period.

Dupuis added his second of the game to cap off the Eagles’ scoring when he snapped home a Leyton Aitken pass in the final minute of the game.

Jude Rondina made 25 saves to pick up his third victory and first shutout of the playoffs.

The Eagles powerplay, which has struggled at times during the season, showed good puck movement and net-front presence. The Eagles ended up going three for six on the man-advantage and added a shorthanded goal as well.

The victory was probably the Eagles’ best performance of the post-season thus far. “We played a full 60-minute game,” said head coach Dean Baumhauer. “We didn’t leave any room for them in the third to get a couple of goals that might give them a little life heading into tomorrow.  They’re riding home with some doubt in their minds.”

“We’ve got to forget about tonight now,” Baumhauer continued. “We’ve got four games in five nights. We know they’re going to have a big crowd out tomorrow in Georgina and we’ve got to be ready to go. When everybody’s going, and everybody checks their ego and plays for the crest, we’re a tough team to beat.”

Much like in the first-round series against Lakefield, Connor and Mitchell Davies were major factors in the contest. The brothers from Newcastle combined for nine points on top of supplying their usual tenacious effort away from the puck.

“It was really important to bounce back after the way we finished off the last game against Lakefield,” said Connor. “Darrach set the tone by getting us on the board early tonight. Our team had great energy. Jude was fantastic in net, the back end played really well, and the forwards were scoring. Everyone was working well together.”

The Davies have always played an important role with the club with the energy they bring to the ice every night. But they currently find themselves in rather unfamiliar territory leading the club in playoff scoring. “It’s really good to get some secondary scoring,” said Mitch. “It’s harder for guys like Darrach and Manning to continue to produce the way they were in the playoffs because other teams focus in on them. It’s good to get other people stepping up and contributing offensively.”

The Eagles travel to the Ice Palace in Georgina for game two Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Then return to Rickard Arena for game three Sunday at 5:25 p.m.


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