Article by C. Archer/ Media by R. Mansfield
The Clarington Eagles went into Thursday night’s matchup against the Little Britain Merchants with a short bench but still came out victorious with a 7-0 win. Defencemen Cole Williamson sat out due to a suspension during Friday’s game against Georgina. Affiliate goalie Niko Plassaras was called up to back up Oliver Webster, who was starting his third game in a row for the Eagles.
The first period had barely started, and many fans (including myself) were still making their way to their seats when Kyle Shepherd quickly found the back of the net, scoring the game-winner just 1:06 into the game.
The Merchants then quickly headed to the penalty box on a cross-checking penalty. The resulting power play led to Ryan Hall burying his fourth goal of the season to put the Eagles up by two goals just 2:01 into the game. The Eagles’ power play has struggled this season, finding the back of the net just 28 times before heading into Thursday’s contest. Head coach Dean Baumhauer was pleased to see the Eagles’ power play finding the back of the net four times this game, although he admitted the “power play still looks scrambly and could use more work.”
Shepherd found the net twice more for the hat trick, and the Eagles led the Merchants 4-0 after 20 minutes.
The second period saw the Eagles’ defence hold the Merchants to just four shots. Shepherd assisted on a Mitch Davies goal, making it 5-0 to end the second.
In a game that saw well over 100 penalty minutes, a rough third period went on for an extended period. The defence again held the Merchants to only a handful of shots (three to be exact). Shepherd picked up another assist, his sixth point of the night, when Trevor Urquart made it 6-0. Brayden Hicks got his third goal of the season to make the final score 7-0.
The Eagles outshot the Merchants 44-14. The defence stepped up, scoring four goals during the contest without stud defenceman Cole Williamson in the lineup.
With the shutout victory, Webster has not allowed a goal against in the last seven periods played at the Garnet B Rickard Complex. This includes shutouts against North Kawartha, Little Britain, and a clean third period against the Georgina Ice on November 30th.
“A lot of guys played well,” said Baumhauer after the game. “Corneil played well against his old team. Webby with the shutout. The team kept their composure when things got rough while also answering the bell when needed.”
Shepherd was the unanimous pick for player of the game, taking home both the belt and Frosty John’s Player of the Game awards.
Santa was seen cheering from the stands throughout the game and taking photos with the fans. When asked at the end of the night if he had any words for our fans, Santa replied, “Merry Christmas!” He winked, then continued, “I’m positive the team and fans are all on the nice list this season.” He added that Eagles fans “might find a special gift very soon.” Perhaps a reference to the Eagles announcing the return of defenceman Ethan Schoonderbeek, who returns to the team after sitting out last season for school commitments.
The Clarington Eagles have two more games left before Christmas. They will be hosting the Port Perry LumberJacks this Thursday, but without the services of Jordan Shaw and Cole Williamson. We will collect gloves for 30 kids between the ages of 6-16. Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Clarington are the main beneficiaries, and all extras will be donated to Bethesda House. The Eagles will head to Uxbridge to end a three-game losing streak against the Bruins on Friday, December 22nd.
There are lots of Eagles gifts available for purchase at the merchandise table, including Eagles flags. Holiday packs are on sale this coming Thursday only; give the gift of eight Clarington Eagles home hockey games for a great price! We are still waiting for our order of sweaters and jackets.