Article by I. Schoonderbeek/Photos by C. Archer & N. Schoonderbeek
They no longer have a perfect regular season record, but the Clarington Eagles remain undefeated on the year. They tied the Little Britain Merchants 2-2 Thursday night at the Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex in a contest featuring the last two undefeated teams in the PJHL East Orr Division.
It was an evenly matched contest through 60 minutes of regular play and the seven-minute overtime period.
Brady Darrach picked up right where he left off Tuesday night in Lakefield. He finished a 3-way passing play from Kolby Poulin and Dawson Manning to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead five minutes into the first period. The goal gives Darrach eight points in his first two games of the campaign.
Little Britain would answer back 13 minutes into the frame, beating Eagles goalie Carter Watson from just inside the right faceoff circle.
Poulin tapped in a clean pass from the corner from Jordan Shaw on the powerplay to restore the Clarington lead late in the period. The goal was Poulin’s fifth of the season and gives him eight points in his last three games.
The Eagles didn’t have quite the same jump to their step in the second period. Little Britain would outshoot the hosts 17-11 in the frame, but Watson was able to turn away all but one of the Merchants’ chances.
Little Britain was finally able to solve Watson and even the score at two on a powerplay goal 15 minutes into the period.
“We got completely outworked in the second period,” said head coach Dean Baumhauer. “We lost our discipline a little bit. We didn’t get the benefit of a lot of calls tonight, but when things aren’t easy you can’t lose your composure.”
The game remained deadlocked at two through the third period.
Clarington started the seven-minute overtime period on the penalty kill after Mitch Davies was whistled for a delay of game penalty in the dying seconds of the third period.
The Eagles thought they scored during overtime, but the referee waives it off.
“It was a hard-fought game,” said Watson, who stopped 42 of 44 shots on the evening. “We got the point out of it, so we’ll take it.”
Baumhauer had high praise for his young goaltender after the game. “I loved Watson’s game tonight. I thought the two goalies were the best players on the ice for both teams.”
“I was really happy with our back end and our penalty kill did a good job tonight,” Dean continued. “Our ‘04 line of Bell, Junkin, and Gaylor was great. They generated a lot of offensive zone time, and they got a big shift with two minutes left in the game. It’s all about learning and growing for those guys, and they did a good job.”
Unfortunately for the Eagles, they’ll be without the services of captain and leading scorer Dawson Manning for the next two games. Manning was ejected from the contest in the third period for abuse of officials after arguing an Eagles penalty a little too enthusiastically. The call resulted in a two-game suspension.
The Eagles have the weekend off to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families before getting back to work next week. They’ll take on the Uxbridge Bruins for the third time this season on Thursday, October 13. Puck drop at Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex is 7:25 p.m.