DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
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.
Longtime sponsor Dave Jackson (centre) conducted the ceremonial faceoff between Port Perry MoJacks captain Lucas Berkers (right) and Brett Theissen of the Georgina Ice prior to the MoJacks’ 42nd home opener on Sunday, Sept. 22 at Scugog Arena. The MoJacks would go on to defeat the Ice by a score of 4-1, led by two goals from Kyle Schweda. Photo credit: Darryl Knight / The Standard.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
The Port Perry MoJacks opened the 2014-15 COJHL season over the weekend with back-toback wins.
The MoJacks downed the defending provincial champion Lakefield Chiefs by a score of 2-0 in Ennismore on Saturday, Sept. 20, before defeating the Georgina Ice 4-1 at Scugog Arena the following afternoon.
Newcomer Blake Shaw made an outstanding first impression by stopping all 40 shots fired by the Chiefs on Saturday, as the Oshawa product earned a shutout in his first career junior hockey start.
Newly acquired Cole Murray netted the MoJacks’ first goal of the season, assisted be Jeff St. Pierre, just over eight minutes into the action, with Ryan Nichols sealing the win with an empty net goal.
The MoJacks would continue to roll on the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 21, at Scugog Arena with the Georgina Ice looking to rebound after a 6-2 loss to Uxbridge on Friday night.
A ferocious forecheck led to some early scoring chances for Port Perry, but the Ice would battle back and force MoJacks netminder Jeff Julien to make several timely saves near the mid-point of the first period.
Kyle Schweda netted his first of the season when he finished off a tremendous passing play between Konrad Piorkowski and Kyle Powell with just over seven minutes remaining in the first period.
As the second period opened, Schweda wasted little time in netting his second goal of the game as he finished off a shorthanded rush by chipping the puck over the outstretched glove of Georgina goalie Vincenzo D’Elia. Just over eight minutes later, the Ice would cut the MoJacks’ lead to a single goal before Lucas Berkers restored the two-goal cushion less than a minute later with a blast from the point.
Just 21 seconds later, Cody Gibson pushed Port Perry’s lead to 4-1, forcing Georgina to make a change between the pipes. The teams would trade chances in the third period, but neither side would add any more tallies to the scoreboard as the MoJacks swept opening weekend in the COJHL.
Following the game, MoJacks Head Coach Clair Cornish complimented the team’s goaltending tandem for their outstanding play over the weekend, remarking that “they both played really well.” As well, Cornish explained that his charges had “played a simple game, staying within their abilities” in picking up back-to-back victories.
Port Perry native Kyle Schweda, who is joined on the Mojacks this season by younger brother Liam, explained how his game has grown as he enters his third season with the team.
“Experience changes everything, and I think I have a better knowledge of where I have to be on the ice, and seeing how the play sets up to put myself and my linemates into good situations,” Kyle told The Standard. As well, he noted the importance of conditioning as the team picked up wins less than 24 hours apart.
“Being in better shape is really important on these back-to-backs and Clair and the whole staff have been a great help in preparing for the season. They really know their stuff and are committed to making us better everyday.”
- The MoJacks swung a deal with the Clarington Eagles prior to the start of the regular season, shipping out Joe Lamanna and Brodie Myers in exchange for 17-year-old Oshawa native Cole Murray, who registered 10 points in 28 games last season with the Eagles.
“Cole is a skilled player that is going to be bale to step in and help us in a lot of ways,” Cornish said. - After heading to Uxbridge on Friday, Sept. 26 for a ‘Battle of North Durham’ against the rival Bruins at 7:45 p.m., the MoJacks will be back in action against the COJHL’s newest entry - the North Kawartha Knights - at Scugog Arena on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 2:25 p.m. The Knights drew over 400 fans to the first home game in franchise history in Apsley on Saturday night, falling by a score of 5-3 to Clarington.