DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: As the Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) headed into the second half of the 2023-24 season, on Thursday, November 23rd, the Uxbridge Bruins served up a thrilling 6-5 win over the Clarington Eagles.
The top half of the Orr Division standings are getting bunched up with the Eagles, Bruins, Georgina Ice, and Port Perry Lumberjacks, all fighting for position in the top four of the table.
Looking to build on back-to-back wins last weekend, the Bruins jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on the division leaders, behind goals from Quinn Meek and Luke El-Ayari. By the time the horn sounded at the end of the first, the Bruins were ahead by a score of 3-2, after Jack Davis’ third goal of the season.
The second period saw the Bruins maul the Eagles, from the opening face-off, with Gavin Graham scoring just 34 seconds into the action, assisted by Anthony Lamanna and Ty Roberts. Before the midpoint of the second period, Uxbridge had pushed their advantage to 6-2, behind goals from Travis Winder and Lamanna.
However, the Eagles showed their determination and grit down the stretch, scoring a late second-period goal and two more in the third period, to set up a dramatic conclusion to the action. But, the Bruins would not be denied, as they locked down the Eagles, with relentless effort in the defensive zone and several sensational saves from Andrew Claughton, who turned aside a total of 36 shots over the course of the evening.
The following night was another tough test for the Bruins, with the Georgina Ice visiting the Bear Den. The winner would take over second place in the standings, with Uxbridge entering the game with 25 points, just one behind the second-place Ice. The excitement was palpable in the stands, with a season-high crowd of more than 420 enthusiastic fans on hand.
The Bruins rode that early momentum to a 2-1 lead, at the end of the first period, as Roberts and Jaxon Koehler scored for the home side. However, the Ice would leave the Bruins feeling a chill in the second period, when they stormed back to take a 3-2 lead, after 40 minutes of action. The third period saw both teams trade tremendous scoring chances, but neither side was able to add to their total, as the Ice escaped with the win and sole possession of second place in the standings, leaving Uxbridge three points behind and firmly in third place and four points ahead of Port Perry.
- With five game-winning goals on the season, Meek ranks in the Top-10 across the entire PJHL.
- The Bruins will have their chance at revenge against the Ice, on Friday, December 1st, at the Bear Den, with Georgina once again visiting Uxbridge for a pivotal match-up.
- As they have for more than 20 years, the Bruins are once again collecting new, unwrapped toys and gift cards, in support of the Uxbridge Community Toy Drive, at their next three home games. Donations can also be made around Uxbridge, at Canadian Tire, Zehrs, McDonald’s, or Body Fit Health Club.