Manning’s OT Goal Gives Eagles Commanding 3-0 Lead in Divisional Final

Article By Sam Laskaris/Photos by Chris Archer

He did it again.

But Dawson Manning’s game-winning goal on Saturday was even more significant than the one he netted two nights earlier.

On Thursday the Clarington Eagles’ veteran forward scored with just 24 seconds left in regulation time to give his squad a 2-1 victory over the visiting Little Britain Merchants.

Manning’s goal on Saturday, his second of the night, was even more dramatic as he scored at the 5:19 mark of overtime to give the Eagles a 4-3 road victory, in a Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) contest staged at the Little Britain Arena.

With the win, Clarington is now enjoying a commanding 3-0 lead over the Merchants in its best-of-seven PJHL Orr Division championship final series.

“It feels great,” Manning said of the fact he once again scored the game-winning tally.

Despite already being ahead in their matchup against the Merchants, Manning said his teammates realized the importance of Saturday’s outing.

“The boys were fired up,” he said. “We all knew how important the game was. We all knew it was the biggest game of our season.”

The Eagles can wrap up the series on home ice if they win Game 4 on Tuesday (Apr. 12). That match, at the Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex, has an opening faceoff scheduled for 7:50 p.m.

Clarington overage forward Brent Lace opened the scoring on Saturday just past the midway mark of the first period.

The two rivals then traded late first-period goals, including Manning’s first of the evening, which gave the Eagles a brief 2-0 advantage.

“I thought we had a slow start, despite being able to capitalize on our chance,” said Eagles’ rookie defenceman Ethan Schoonderbeek.

Schoonderbeek added Clarington head coach Dean Baumhauer provided some inspiring words between the first couple of periods.

“Dean was able to get some energy and desire into our group between the first and second intermissions,” he said.

Schoonderbeek also said he’s hoping his teammates come out with a more attentive effort on Tuesday, especially now that the Eagles have an opportunity to clinch the series with just one more victory.

“I’d love to see us come out of the gate in Game 4 with much more energy and focus to get a jump on Little Britain,” he said.

Clarington captain Mitch Doyle also believes the Eagles require a quick start to best give them an opportunity of ending the series in their next match.

“I would say our biggest challenge is coming out fast on Tuesday night,” Doyle said. “We’ve come out a little lackadaisical the past few games.”

In all likelihood Doyle and the rest of his teammates wouldn’t have cared who scored in OT on Saturday, as long it was an individual wearing a Clarington jersey.

“It was great to see Manning keep the hot hand and pot the winner,” Doyle added. “But we aren’t done yet. Our eyes are locked on Tuesday.”

Manning is leading the Eagles in post-season scoring having racked up 26 points (11 goals and 15 assists) in 12 contests.

Meanwhile, Eagles’ overage defenceman Nate Baumhauer (Dean’s son) had the other Clarington goal on Saturday.

The younger Baumhauer, who had failed to score during the regular season, now has two playoff goals.



Additional photos by Chris Archer: