Lakeshore Shoots Down Eagles with 3rd Period Comeback

Article by I. Schoonderbeek / Media by R. Manfield

The Clarington Eagles and the Lakeshore Canadiens faced off in game three of the Schmalz Cup finals on Sunday evening at Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex.

Despite a much improved effort from 24 hours earlier, the Eagles surrendered a one-goal third-period lead to fall 3-2 in the contest. The Canadiens now lead the best-of-seven series two games to one.

No doubt motivated to make their mothers proud for Mother’s Day, both teams came out flying in the first period.

At 17:03 of the opening frame, the Eagles got on the scoreboard first. Jordan Shaw finished off a cycle deep in the Lakeshore zone, tapping in a return pass from Trevor Urquhart for his team-leading 15th goal of the playoffs.

The second period saw more exciting action in both ends of the rink. At the 14:11 mark, the Lakeshore netminder skated behind the net to stop an Eagles’ dump-in, but the puck bounced over his stick. Clarington rookie Brock Mathieson attempted to skate between the goaltender and the net in pursuit of the puck. But the goalkeeper backed into him as he attempted to return to his crease, leading to a Lakeshore powerplay for goalie interference.

The Canadiens’ powerplay took only 33 seconds to make its mark in the series and pull them even at 1-1.

The best way to respond to a tough call is to get right back on the scoresheet, and that’s what the Eagles did two minutes later. Leyton Aitken retrieved a Nolan Matheson dump-in on the play before centering to Hayes Bell. Bell beat the goaltender with a one-timer from the high slot to restore the Eagles one-goal lead heading into the third period.

However, an Eagles penalty in the dying seconds of the second was all the opportunity Lakeshore needed to claw their way back into the game. Forty-three seconds into the final frame, a cross-ice pass was one-timed in from the point on the powerplay to even the score at two.

Once again, the outcome of a game was going to come down to one scoring chance. Lakeshore generated that chance for the second time in two days.

Just past the midway point of the third, a missed defensive assignment on a Canadiens rush allowed a trailing skater to take the puck hard to the Eagles net. The puck was snapped high under the crossbar past Oliver Webster for what proved to be the game-winner.

“It was a bad read on the winning goal,” said Eagles head coach Dean Baumhauer. “You don’t expect that from your veterans. Lakeshore took advantage and finished on their chances.”

Baumhauer pointed to special teams play as the difference in the contest. Lakeshore scored twice on four man-advantages. Clarington went zero for three.

”Everybody in the arena knows why we lost,” said Dean. “They’ve got a good powerplay, and ours just isn’t clicking right now. Five-on-five these teams are pretty even. They have more skill on their side, which shows up on the powerplay. They looked like they had an extra gear in the third period, and we didn’t.”

Baumhauer is counting on his offensive leaders to find a way going forward in the series now that Lakeshore has wrestled away home-ice advantage with a huge road win. “At the end of the day, our best players are the ones playing the powerplay. Our best players are counted on to get the job done, and they haven’t to this point. That’s why we’re not winning. Our top guys aren’t scoring goals. They’re going to have to find a way for this team to be successful.”

The clubs have a couple of days off before returning to action in Belle River on Wednesday evening for game four. Puck drop is 8:00 pm. For those Eagles fans unable to make the mid-week road trip, the game can be streamed on PJHLTV.ca (charges apply).