The Uxbridge Bruins notched a road win in their opening
match of the 2014-15 COJHL season as they downed
the Georgina Ice by a score of 6-2, in Keswick on Friday,
Sept. 19, spoiling the celebration for the Ice, who are marking
their 20th anniversary as a franchise this season.
Hard hitting action dominated the early portion of the
game, as both sides looked to set a physical tone. Connor
Evans made his presence felt on the Bruins’ blueline
early, when he landed a devastating hit on Georgina’s
Cameron McSween in front of the Uxbridge bench.
A pair of goals from Marco Mastrangelo pushed the
Bruins to a 2-0 lead in the second period.
With just over six minutes remaining, an offensive
flurry started when Uxbridge’s Alex Williamson was
stopped after powering his way to the net, but the rebound
landed on Tyson Eastgate’s stick, who wasted
little time slipping the puck into the back of the net.
A pair of Georgina goals shortly afterwards would cut
Uxbridge’s lead to 3-2, before Korey Brand slammed in
his own rebound to cap a wild stretch of play that saw
four goals scored in less than two minutes, and restored
a two-goal lead for the Bruins.
Before the second period came to a close, both Jarett
and Shane Smith netted goals to propel Uxbridge to an
eventual 6-2 win, as Branden Francey turned aside 26 of
the 28 shots he faced in his return to the Bruins’ line-up
after spending last season in the Tier II Junior ‘A’ ranks
with the Lindsay Muskies.
“It felt great to be back out there with the Bruins,”
Francey told The Standard following the game. “The
team played really well in front of me and let me have a lot
of control over my game. Hopefully we can give the same
type of performance next week at our home opener.”
As well, Bruins Head Coach Geoff Hodgkinson praised
the way his team continues to gel on the ice despite losing
several key players from last season.
“I’m feeling very positive, we’ve got a lot of rookies
and it’s good to get this first win out of the way,” Hodgkinson
said. “We found players that are excited to be on
our roster and many guys have stepped up and taken
younger guys under their wing.”
One of the players making his junior hockey debut on
Friday night was 16-year-old Uxbridge native Williamson,
who noted that there was greater physical demands
at the Junior ‘C’ level after spending last season with the
Minor Midget ‘AAA’ Central Ontario Wolves.
“The speed and size of the other players was a bit of
an adjustment, and you have less time with the puck and
have to make quicker decisions. It was a fun first game,
and I thought I had some good chemistry out there with
my linemates,” explained Williamson.
- The first ‘Battle of North Durham’ will be waged on
Friday, Sept. 26 at 7:45 p.m., in Uxbridge as the Bruins
open the home portion of the schedule with a matchup
against their arch rivals, the Port Perry MoJacks. On
Saturday, Sept. 27, the Bruins will be in Bowmanville for
a 7:20 p.m. tilt against the Clarington Eagles.