Article By Sam Laskaris/Photo by Chris Archer
Almost a full extra period of work was required.
But the Clarington Eagles managed to get the job done on Friday, downing the host Napanee Raiders 3-2 in a Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) match.
With the win the Eagles now lead the Raiders 2-0 in the PJHL’s best-of-seven East Conference championship series.
Clarington had blanked the visiting Raiders 4-0 in the series opener on Thursday.
“The game winner was huge for the team putting us up 2-0 in the series,” Manarin said.
As was the case on Thursday when the Eagles netted three first-period goals, Clarington also got off to a decent start on Friday, scoring twice in the opening 20 minutes while keeping the Raiders off the scoreboard.
The Raiders, however, scored an early second-period goal and then tied the contest at 2-2 with another marker with just more than six minutes remaining in regulation time.
“Obviously our plan for tonight wasn’t to go the distance (and into OT) but the boys held strong and everyone did their part to help keep us in it,” Manarin said.
The Eagles will now host Game 3 in the series. That match is scheduled for Sunday at the Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 5:50 p.m.
“Now that we are (ahead) 2-0 in the series, we will be expecting another strong effort from Napanee back at home this Sunday,” Manarin said. “And the plan is to get to 3-0 in the series.”
Doyle was also obviously pleased to see a teammate provide the OT goal on Friday.
“Always a great feeling winning it overtime,” he said. “And it makes it even better when you have a rookie pot the game winner.”
Clarington outshot Napanee 52-43 in the match held at the Raiders’ home rink, the Strathcona Paper Centre.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the way the team battled all night,” Doyle said.
Doyle was assessed a two-minute minor and a 10-minute misconduct for head contact late in the third period which kept him out until just past the midway mark of OT.
“My team bailed me out big time, couldn’t be happier,” he said.
“Still a long way to go and we have our eyes set on Sunday evening hoping to take a stranglehold on this series,” he said.
Though obviously pleased his side was able to emerge with another victory, Eagles’ rookie defenceman Ethan Schoonderbeek believes it was not an ideal effort from his squad.
“We came out strong with another productive first period but struggled playing a full 60 minutes hard,” he said.
Schoonderbeek added he was thrilled the club’s D stepped up when it was needed the most, when Doyle was in the penalty box serving a dozen minutes.
“Our defence group did a tremendous job at being able to shut down the Raiders’ forwards, missing a key player for a chunk of the third period and overtime,” he said.
Schoonderbeek also said he’d like to see the Eagles maintain their intensity throughout their upcoming matches.
“Being consistent will be a key factor in games going forward,” he said.