The Uxbridge Bruins heated up this past weekend, melting the Georgina Ice in both games of a home-and-home series.
The Bruins rode the outstanding offence generated by the line of Jarett Smith, Marco Mastrangelo and Tyson Eastgate to a 7-3 win in Uxbridge on Friday, Nov. 21. And on Sunday, Nov. 23, downed the Ice in Sutton by a final score of 6-1.
Friday night’s encounter started with a hostile environment on the ice as both sides looked for a physical advantage early. As well, there were fantastic scoring chances at both ends of the ice, but neither side could find the back of the net through 20 minutes of play.
Mastrangelo got the Bruins on the scoreboard with a powerplay goal almost four minutes into the second period when he banked the puck in off of an Ice defenceman’s skate with a shot from behind the net.
However, almost four minutes later, the Ice would take advantage of heavy traffic in front of the Bruins’ net to equalize the match at 1-1.
Just 28 seconds later, excellent vision by Carter Vahey allowed the Bruins’ captain to thread the puck through the offensive zone and onto the stick of Mastrangelo at the corner of the net, and he would slip the puck into the net before Ice netminder Vincenzo D’Elia could slide across the crease.
A shorthanded goal from Tyson Eastgate, as well as a hat trick-finishing tally from Mastrangelo pushed Uxbridge to a three-goal lead before a late Georgina goal cut the Bruins’ advantage to 4-2 as the teams retired to the dressing room following the second period.
Eastgate scored again early in the third, followed by Mastrangelo’s fourth of the night to give Uxbridge a commanding 6-2 lead.
With just over two minutes to play, the Ice cut into the Bruins’ lead, but Eastgate fired a shorthanded empty net goal from near Leaskdale to round out the scoring, as Uxbridge cruised to a 7-3 victory, with goalie Branden Francey earning his eighth win of the season.
Following the game, Bruins Head Coach Geoff Hodgkinson was pleased with the effort put forth by his entire team, especially the trio of Jarett Smith, Mastrangelo and Eastgate.
“We did a little bit of line shuffling this week looking for something different up front,” Hodgkinson told The Standard. “We got really good production from Jarett Smith, Mastrangelo and Eastgate. As a staff, we thought they could use the grit that Eastgate brings, and I’d say it worked out tonight. We also got great contributions from a lot of other guys that opened up opportunities for us to be in a good position tonight.”
Sunday afternoon, the Bruins were looking to make it three wins in-a-row as they renewed hostilities with the Ice in Sutton.
A powerplay goal from former Bruin Brandon Basler gave the Ice an early edge. But, just two minutes later, Mastrangelo replied with a powerplay marker of his own to tie the game.
Just over five minutes into the second period, Eastgate scored to put the Bruins ahead. And, after another four minutes of action, Shane Smith scored, with assists credited to Alex Williamson and Dylan Locke. Jordan Nesbitt would follow with another goal just eight seconds later to swell the Bruins’ lead to 4-1.
Less than a minute into the third period, Daryl Thomson converted a pass from Vahey into his ninth goal of the season. And, with time winding down in the game, Robert Freckelton rounded out the scoring, assisted by Alex Siblock and Nesbitt to secure the 6-1 win for the Bruins. Jake Joosten stopped 22 of 23 shots for the win in net for Uxbridge.
Mastrangelo extended his point streak to 12 games over the weekend, including nine straight games with a goal. The 20-year-old Stouffville native explained that he has benefitted from excellent teammates and growth in his role with the team over the past three years leading up to his impressive recent stretch.
“For the most part, I just try and keep my game simple and stay consistent,” Mastrangelo said. “My teammates have done a great job of finding me the puck and it’s led to some great chances. I feel like I’ve always had this offensive ability, and tried to work hard at developing a better all-round game early in my Bruins’ career to allow me to contribute at both ends of the ice.”
- The Bruins swung a pair of deals last week. First, the team dealt defenceman Matt Pollard to the Elliot Lake Wildcats of the Junior ‘A’ Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League in exchange for Liam Knoll, an Uxbridge product who had been toiling with the Wildcats.
The 18-year-old resident of Coppins Corners split last season between the Uxbridge S.S. Tigers and the Clarington Toros ‘AAA’ Midgets, as well as appearing in two games with the Bruins.
“I feel like I have a built-in chemistry with a lot of these guys playing in Uxbridge all these years. And being up north I feel made me a more responsible defender and now I’m more able to make a good first pass out of our zone and help to generate offence off defence,” Knoll told The Standard.
- In their other roster move of the weekend, the Bruins sent defenceman Kyle Molinnus to the Port Hope Panthers for future considerations.
- On Friday, Nov. 28, the Bruins will be hosting the Care-A-Van, and will be collected donations in support of the Loaves and Fishes Food Bank when they take on the North Kawartha Knights at 7:45 p.m.
- On Sunday, the Bruins head to Port Perry for the latest round in the Battle of North Durham, squaring off against the league-leading MoJacks at 2:25 p.m.