Article by I. Schoonderbeek/Media by C. Archer & I. Schoonderbeek
The Clarington Eagles are off to 3-0 start to the regular season. The club skated to a dominant 10-2 road victory against the Port Perry Lumberjacks Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles got off to a quick start in this one, scoring less than two minutes into the contest. Cole Williamson, Brayden Roberts, and Trevor Urquhart found the back of the net in the first period to spot Clarington a 3-0 lead after one.
The second period brought more of the same. After Port Perry scored to reduce the gap to 3-1, the Eagles added three more tallies from Brock Mathieson, Kyle Smith and Leyton Aitken for a 6-1 advantage.
The Lumberjacks got one back on the powerplay. However, less than a minute later the Eagles countered with an Adam Klaas powerplay goal to carry a 7-2 lead heading into the second intermission.
As with many games between the rival clubs, Sunday’s affair contained some extracurricular activities.
Just before the half way point of the third period with the Eagles leading 9-2, captain Mitch Davies caught a Lumberjack player with a clean open ice hit in the neutral zone. Port Perry took exception to the check leading to a lengthy skirmish.
Unfortunately, Eagles goaltender Aiden Leger was assessed a 3rd Man in penalty and ejected from the game for coming to the aid of teammate Kyle Shepherd at the end of a lengthy tussle. The penalty to Leger will result in an additional suspension.
If head coach Dean Baumhauer was concerned about the prospect of being without his goaltender for a stretch of games, he wasn’t showing it after the contest. “To me, it’s unfortunate when the linesmen don’t step in and break up a fight, whether it’s our guy or the opponent with the advantage,” said Dean. “There’s potential for injury when you just let that go on forever. I love that Leger defended his teammate. I don’t like the 3rd Man call. I thought that was a weak call by the officials. But Aiden’s stock just went up about 13 notches in the room after defending one of his teammates like that. And Shepherd…what can I say, that was a good tilt!”
The Eagles’ play through the first two games of the campaign had left a little to be desired from the coaching staff’s perspective. But Baumhauer had nothing but praise for his troops after Sunday’s game.
“I thought we played really well,” said Dean. “We’ve been talking about needing to play a 60-minute game. Mitch Davies had some good drives taking the puck hard to the net. The bench see’s that he’s come to play and it gets them going.”
While it might appear that offence was the story on the afternoon, it was the other details that Baumhauer was most pleased about. “The back end played really well, particularly Matheson and Hambly. And I’m seeing bigger leadership from Williamson and Hall. Not just in terms of their games because they’re always good. More-so in terms of talking to their teammates and giving them pointers and encouragement on the bench and in the room.”
“(Trent) Gaylor is a guy who really stood out for me today,” Baumhauer continued. “He’s playing a fourth line role right now and was hard to play against all night and finishing his checks all over the ice.”
For winger Roberts, Sunday marked his first game as a visiting player to Scugog Arena after spending the past two seasons with the Lumberjacks prior to an off-season trade to Clarington. “The nerves were going a little at first, but it was nice to get the monkey off my back and put one in early,” said Roberts of his first period goal. “Good eyes by Poulin to find me on the play!”
With the victory, the Eagles find themselves in familiar territory to last season, perched atop the Orr Division standings.
The boys are back home this Thursday September 28 when they host the Lakefield Chiefs at 7:25 p.m.
Reminder to fans: Durham Regional Police will be outside Rickard Arena prior to this week’s game collecting food donations for the Clarington East Food Bank. Please donate if you’re able.