DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: With three games in five days, it was a busy week for the Uxbridge Bruins. However, they were able to meet the challenge and extend their recent winning streak with wins over Lakefield, Port Perry and North Kawartha.
After coring their first win of the 2023-24 Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) season, over Georgina in Keswick, on Friday, September 22nd, the Bruins were back on the road in Lakefield, on Tuesday, September 26th, to square off against the Chiefs.
In the cozy confines of the Lakefield-Smith Community Centre, the Bruins struck first, with Ty Roberts opening the scoring, just over seven minutes into the action.
A pair of goals early in the second period pushed the home side into a 2-0 advantage, but it was short-lived as Alex Hyde, Matthew Gordon and Quinn Meek all lit the lamp before the buzzer sounded at the end of the second period, to give Uxbridge a commanding 5-2 lead. Although the Chiefs would score, late in the third period, that would be as close as they would come. Logan Carter turned aside 24 total shots, over the course of the game, including several key stops in the final frame, to earn the victory in goal for the Bruins.
With back-to-back road wins in their pocket, the Bruins were back at the Bear Den, on Friday, September 29th, for the first Battle of North Durham of the season, with the arch rival Port Perry Lumberjacks making their first appearance of the season, on the west side of Lake Ridge Road.
A boisterous crowd, of nearly 400, provided a tremendous atmosphere at the Bear Den, and the sides battled back-and-forth throughout an action-packed opening period. Anthony Lamanna opened the scoring for the Bruins almost four minutes into the game, but the Lumberjacks would equalize late in the frame, and after 20 minutes the rivals were deadlocked 1-1.
Second period goals, from Nolan Winter and Tanner Ryan, opened a 3-1 lead for Uxbridge before Port Perry cut the lead back to a single score late in the second.
Quinn Meek scored just over a minute into the third period, to restore a two-goal lead for the Bruins, and although the Lumberjacks continued to push the pace, they could only manage a single goal down the stretch, as the Bruins held onto a 4-3 win, with Andrew Claughton stopping a total of 26 shots over the course of the evening.
Finally, the whirlwind week for the Bruins concluded with a trip to Apsley, for a Saturday night match-up against the North Kawartha Knights.
A sluggish start for Uxbridge saw them in an early 2-0 hole before Alex Hyde’s powerplay goal, with 16 seconds left in the opening period, provided some positive momentum for the visitors. A shorthanded goal for the Knights, early in the middle frame, put the Bruins back behind by two. Still, Sam Belman brought the Bruins back to within one before the end of the middle frame.
In the third period, the Bruins exploded for three unanswered goals, to seal the dramatic comeback win, with Lamanna, Travis Winder and Meek all scoring to seal the 5-3 win. Claughton made several sensational saves in the third period, to keep the Knights at bay and earn the win between the pipes.
- The upcoming Thanksgiving weekend will see the Bruins renewing hostilities with their two traditional rivals. On Friday, October 6th, the Little Britain Merchants visit the Bear Den, for the first time this season, for a 7:45 p.m. tilt. Then, on Sunday, October 8th, the Bruins will trek to Scugog Arena, in Port Perry, for a 2:25 p.m. Battle of North Durham matinee match-up against the Lumberjacks.