Special Teams Dominance Powers Eagles Victory over Lumberjacks

Article by I. Schoonderbeek/Photo by C. Archer

The Clarington Eagles continue to add to the win column.

The team delivered another dominant performance Thursday at Rickard Arena, defeating the Port Perry Lumberjacks 7-0. The Eagles were down to nine regulars up front due to injuries and had to deploy the services of three call-ups to fill out the forward lines for the game.

Rookie Kayden Hambly opened the scoring for the Eagles on the powerplay just past the halfway point of the first period. His low point shot through a screen marked the first goal of the defenseman’s junior hockey career.

Captain Mitch Davies made it 2-0 on another powerplay opportunity five-minutes later. Davies gathered a rebound in the corner and curled out towards the faceoff dot before snapping a perfect shot far side off the post and in.

The Eagles didn’t just get it done on the powerplay…With Hambly in the box for tripping late in the period, Cole Williamson showed great poise with the puck. The slick skating blueliner drew three Lumberjack defenders towards him on a shorthanded rush before saucering a pass to Kyle Smith who recognized the developing opportunity and drove to the Port Perry net. Smith roofed a shot from a sharp angle to extend the Clarington lead to 3-0 going into the first intermission.

The Clarington powerplay continued to roll in the second period. Williamson and Kyle Shepherd each scored on man-advantages as the Eagles made Port Perry pay the price for undisciplined play.

Third period tallies by callup Owen White, his first PJHL goal, and Nolan Matheson rounded out the scoring.

Unfortunately, the Eagles roster will take another blow after a third period scrum. Davies and his Lumberjacks dance partner were assessed five-minute fighting majors despite neither player throwing an actual punch. Due to the penalties being assessed in the last 10 minutes of the game, Davies will be unavailable for the Eagles’ road game this Saturday in Little Britain. Head coach Dean Baumhauer was understandably not happy with the call. “We’re not looking for a fight in the last 10 minutes of a 6-0 game,” said Dean. ”Unfortunately, Mitch still gets called for a fight that wasn’t…”

Clarington netminder Aiden Leger picked up his fourth victory and first shutout of the campaign.

“I liked our game tonight,” said Baumhauer. “Our back end pitched in on offence with four goals. Williamson is shooting the puck like (Mitch) Doyle back in his days with the team. A nice quick release!”

Scoring your first junior goal is always exciting for a young player. Hambly, who Baumhauer describes as a quiet kid in the room, was quick to move the discussion towards the team’s play as opposed to his own milestone. “It was a big moment for me,” said Kayden. “I thought everybody on the back end had good games today. The whole team played well, and we were able to get Aiden the shutout.”

Hambly is the youngest member of a deep experienced Clarington d-core. He credits the leadership of his older teammates in helping him to adjust to the junior game. “Williamson and Hall really help me out a lot. They’re veteran guys who are wearing the ‘A’ on their jerseys for a reason. Not just them, all the guys help me out giving me tips and pointers during the games. It’s been great so far!”

Baumhauer made a point of praising the solid play of the Eagles’ callups after the game. “White, (Caeden) Allenby and (Ben) Stycuk came in from U18 and really helped us out. It’s great when an AP steps into your lineup and scores his first junior goal. And Stycuk plays tough and doesn’t mind getting his nose dirty. He’ll be a junior player in the future because he’s willing to play that hard-nosed style of game that a lot of guys won’t.”

With the victory, Clarington now sports a 7-0 record and sits five points ahead of Uxbridge atop the Orr Division standings.

Next up for the Eagles is a trip to Little Britain this Saturday to take on the Merchants for the first time this season. Game time is 7:30 p.m.