By Sam Laskaris
It was inevitable the Clarington Eagles were going to lose another game at some point.
And that moment arrived on Thursday. The Eagles were downed 3-2 by the visiting North Kawartha Knights in a Provincial Junior Hockey League match held at the Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex.
With the victory, the Knights ended the Eagles’ eight-game winning streak. With the two points it earned, the North Kawartha squad also moved into a tie for first place with the Eagles in the league’s Orr Division.
Both the Eagles and Knights are sporting 8-2 records.
“The streak was always going to come to an end at some point, whether it was now or after 20 games,” said Eagles’ forward Connor Davies, who scored a goal and was chosen as his team’s player of the game. “It just gives us a chance to start a new one.”
Members of the Clarington squad, however, were no doubt disappointed with how things transpired late in the contest.
The Eagles were leading 2-1 with under four minutes to play in the third period. And they were hoping to add an insurance goal since they were enjoying a powerplay.
But it was the Knights who popped in a shorthanded marker to deadlock the score at 2-2. And then, just 48 seconds after that, North Kawartha scored what proved to be the game-winning goal.
Davies said the Eagles’ spirits were still high despite yielding the late shorthanded marker.
“We were still upbeat,” he said. “It obviously sucked to give that one up but it was 2-2 at that point. It was still anyone’s game. We were still upbeat on the bench and trying to keep the morale high. In the end, it just didn’t go our way.”
Maddox Smith, who opened the scoring in the ninth minute of the opening period, was the only other Clarington scorer on the night.
“Two goals isn’t going to win too many hockey games,” said Eagles’ head coach Dean Baumhauer. “But over-all, with the effort level, we didn’t quit. We had some good looks at the end but we lost.”
The Eagles had registered a convincing shutout win over the host Knights back on Oct. 9.
“That’s a good team who remembered we beat them 6-0 in their arena and they were going to come in and play us hard,” Baumhauer said. “But you know what? You learn from your losses. We had won eight in a row and that one there stinks because we gave up a shorthanded goal to tie it and then a late winner. But we’ll learn from it.”
Davies also felt the Knights would come out strong on Thursday, looking to avenge their home loss versus Clarington last month.
“We knew they were a way better team than that,” Davies said. “They were missing some guys when we were up there but you’ve got to give some credit to them. They played well. We folded at the end but I have faith our team will bounce back like we always do.”
The Eagles will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 6, with a road contest against the Little Britain Merchants. Game time at Little Britain Arena is set for 7:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, Clarington’s next home match will be next Thursday, Nov. 11. The Port Perry MoJacks will provide the opposition. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:20 p.m.