Bruins hang tough in battle for the top
by Roger Varley
Taking five points out of a possible six against the top two teams in the league over the weekend, the Uxbridge Bruins hung tough when they had to.
Starting with Friday night’s 4-3 win over the Lakefield Chiefs, the Bruins earned a nail-biting tie with the North Kawartha Knights on Saturday and then edged the Chiefs again Tuesday with a score of 3-2. They were also helped by the Chiefs’ loss in Amherstview on Sunday. The Bruins now sit two points behind the Chiefs and Kawartha, who are tied with 52 points each.
The nail-biting started with last Friday’s tilt against the Chiefs at the arena, probably the best hockey game seen at the rink this year. It gave the fans everything they could ask for: fast-paced, intense action, enough goals to keep it interesting, superb penalty-killing by the Bruins and, of course, a win for the home team.
The first period was a goal-tending duel between the Bruins’ Ryan McConkey and the Chiefs’ Andrew Barwinski, with McConkey being the first to crack with just under four minutes left in the stanza. Finn Reeves, assisted by Cameron Moffitt replied for Uxbridge 45 seconds later on a seemingly innocent approach into the Lakefield end, but Lakefield scored again 21 seconds after that.
Early in the second period, the Bruins, led by the play of captain Aiden Reilly, were excellent in killing a Lakefield two-man advantage that lasted 96 seconds. Then Moffitt evened the score near the midway point with an unassisted marker after he took the puck down the left side, circled the net and stuck the puck in the corner. That was followed in quick succession by goals from Toby Cooper, assisted by Daniel Giorgio, and Stefan Palatsidis, assisted by Justin Bennett and Essa Patton. Near the end of the period, defenseman Nick Roman offered up his body to block a shot only to have Lakefield’s William Keith lift the puck over him to score.
The final period was scoreless but the action was no less intense.
The Cosmos picked Bennett as the Bruins’ player of the game, with Dan Harris getting the nod for the Chiefs.
The following night, the Bruins travelled to the wilds of Apsley to take on the Knights. In another goal-tending battle, again featuring McConkey, Moffitt scored the only goal of the first period after just three-and-a-half minutes of play, with the assist going to McConkey. North Kawartha came back with two in the second, including a power-play goal.
Battling down to the wire in the third, Jackson Savery, who took three minors and a 10-minute misconduct against Lakefield and two minors earlier against the Knights, redeemed himself with the tying goal with one second left on the game clock.
Savery took another penalty in the scoreless overtime period.
On Tuesday, trading the NHL-size North Kawartha rink for the postage stamp-sized Lakefield ice pad, the Bruins were never behind in a penalty-filled game.
Savery scored the only goal of the first period, a power-play marker assisted by Bennett and Simon Feig. Bennett made it 2-0, also on the power play, early in the second, assisted by Reilly and Savery, but the Chiefs came back with a power-play goal of their own before the period ended. Moffitt regained the two-goal lead with another power-play goal in the third, assisted by Giorgio and Cooper, and, after Lakefield scored another, hung on for the win.
A far cry from Friday’s superb action, the game saw Uxbridge take 62 minutes on 20 infractions, while Lakefield was assessed 78 minutes on 24 penalties.
The tension continues tomorrow night when the Knights visit the Bruins at the arena for a 7:45 p.m. game. Then the Bruins can relax a little – but not too much – when they travel to Georgina to face the lowly Ice on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
For your convenience, we have listed a few sports organizations contact information.
Uxbridge Swim Club
Phone: (905) 852-7831
Uxbridge Tennis Club
Phone: (905) 852-2181
Uxbridge Squash Club
Phone: (905) 852-7831
Uxbridge Men’s Basketball League
Phone: (905) 431-3392
Greater Uxbridge Road Runners
Phone: (905) 852-7224
Air Force Mavericks All-Star Cheerleading
Phone: (905) 852-CHEER