Two out of three ain’t bad for Bruins
by Roger Varley
Echoing the words of an old Meat Loaf song, Uxbridge Bruins coach Rob Acton opined Sunday that “two out of three ain’t bad.”
Despite playing a well-disciplined game in Clarington last Thursday, the Bruins lost 3-0 to the Eagles. The following night, on home ice, the Bruins made up for the loss by savaging the faltering Little Britain Merchants 9-2. They followed that up by shutting out their arch-rivals, the Port Perry MoJacks, 3-0 at the Scugog arena on Sunday afternoon. The result was that the Bruins grabbed a tenuous hold on first place in the seven-team PJHL Orr Division, one point ahead of the Lakefield Chiefs who have two games in hand.
In Clarington, the pace of the game was unrelenting as the teams put on an exciting and entertaining show, as evidenced by the fact that the teams received only four minor penalties each. The Bruins continued the strong teamwork and all-out effort they have shown in the last few games, but they didn’t get the bounces and their offence just failed to click. The Eagles scored once in each period for the win.
At the arena the next night, Aiden Reilly, Cameron Moffitt and Noah Donaghy all scored two goals each as the Bruins launched an awesome surge of attacks on Merchants net-minder Brett Chandler, who must have felt like the only target in a midway shooting range. Donaghy opened the scoring early in the game as a result of a text-book passing play with Simon Feig. Goalie Jake Joosten made a marvellous glove save on a breakaway by Little Britain’s Cole Hibbert and less than two minutes later, Moffitt scored a short-handed goal after a Little Britain defenceman pushed the puck onto his stick with his glove. Daniel Wu was credited with an assist. On the down side for Uxbridge, forward Derek Dolan was on the receiving end of a crushing hit on the boards late in the period and will be out of action for a few games. No penalty was called, which led to some chippiness and retaliation later in the game.
In the second period, the Bruins lowered the boom, outscoring the Merchants 4-1. Reilly scored early in the period, assisted by Kyle Spataro, followed a minute later by Feig’s goal, resulting from another marvelous passing play featuring Michael Rennie and Donaghy. Near the midway mark, Cristian Giorgio took a pass deep in his own zone and carried it the length of the ice to tuck it in the net. Damien Heinle and Spataro assisted. That’s when the Merchants changed goalies. Little Britain finally made it onto the scoreboard with a power-play goal, only to see Reilly score again after Kieran Beaudoin’s shot hit the post.
It was midway through the third that Adam Bartholomew scored an unassisted power-play goal, one of those plays where the fans knew instinctively the puck was going in the net before the shot was taken. The Merchants returned with their second goal, but Donaghy combined with Heinle for his second goal of the night and Moffitt rounded out the scoring with an unassisted marker after stickhandling around the defence.
Down Reach Street on Sunday, goalie Ryan McConkey finally earned a shut-out, despite the team’s slow start in the scoreless first period. The Bruins seemed to have difficulty finding their stride and produced no sustained attacks on the Port Perry net until late in the period, although they did hang tough and hold the MoJacks at bay when the Port Perry team had a two-man advantage for a full two minutes. But it was McConkey who kept the Uxbridge squad in the game with a great performance between the pipes.
Donaghy opened the scoring late in the second, taking a well-placed pass from Moffitt and deking the MoJacks goalie. In the third, Robert Freckelton scored a power-play goal late in the stanza, with assists going to Beaudoin and Moffitt and Moffitt capped off his weekend with an empty-netter in the last minute.
After the game, coach Acton said the Bruins’ slow start could have been the result of three games in four days, but added: “We found a way to win.” As for Friday’s shellacking of the Merchants, Acton said the Bruins are always more excited when playing at home.
He said he is happy with the way his young charges are killing penalties, but admitted the power play “is falling off a bit.”
The Bruins are back in action tomorrow night, hosting the formidable Lakefield Chiefs at 7:45 p.m. On Saturday night, they make a return visit to Little Britain and then face the Georgina Ice in Keswick on Tuesday.
Bear pause: With every member of the team contributing, it is difficult to pick out deserving mentions, but Tyler Hutchinson has shown himself to be a hard worker after his disastrous debut against the Lakefield Chiefs at the start of the season, when he picked up 26 minutes in penalties. Since then, Hutchinson has done a lot of the heavy lifting and, despite only having one assist to his credit, is proving to be an asset. Indeed, it is an indication of how well the team is working together that only two players on the squad – not counting the goalies – have not yet scored a point.
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