A pair of pivotal weekend wins for the Uxbridge Bruins gave the team a small bit of breathing room in the COJHL standings.
After soaring over the Clarington Eagles by a score of 5-2 in Uxbridge on Friday, Jan. 16, the Bruins scored four shorthanded goals against the rival Port Perry MoJacks as they skated to a 7-3 victory in the latest round of the Battle of North Durham, at Scugog Arena on Sunday, Jan. 18.
Uxbridge entered the weekend in second place in the COJHL table, just one point ahead of both the Eagles and MoJacks, giving both games a playoff-like atmosphere.
On Friday night, unassisted first period goals from Korey Brand and Rob Freckelton gave the Bruins a 2-0 advantage at the end of the first period. However, the Eagles would take advantage of some penalty trouble for the Bruins as they tied the game up early in the second period.
With the Bruins on the powerplay with just four minutes remaining in the second period, a shot from ‘Magic’ Mike Spataro hit the post and bounced to Marco Mastrangelo, who tucked the rebound past Eagles goalie Connor Visca. With just six seconds left in the second, the Bruins went ahead by a score of 4-2 behind a powerplay goal from Connor Evans, assisted by Spataro.
In the third period, Mastrangelo’s second of the night would round out the scoring, with Branden Francey picking up the win in net.
On Sunday, the Bruins sought their fifth consecutive win as they squared off against the arch rival MoJacks in Port Perry.
Uxbridge wasted little time building an early lead, with Aiden Reilly scoring just over a minute into the action. Although Uxbridge would dominate the action for much of the opening 20 minutes, the teams retired to their dressing rooms tied after MoJacks forward Lucas Clark netted a shorthanded goal off an offensive zone face-off with just over a minute left on the clock.
A point shot from Jason Simmonds restored Uxbridge’s lead just over two minutes into the second period. Five minutes afterwards, the dam broke for the Mojacks, and the Bruins netted four shorthanded goals in a two-and-a-half minute stretch to take a 6-1 stranglehold on the match.
Tyson Eastgate, Mastrangelo and Brand all netted goals with Uxbridge down a skater, before Todd Winder delivered the knockout blow when he picked the puck up in front of the MoJacks bench and skated untouched to the other end of the ice, with such poise and grace that he wouldn’t have looked out of place wearing a tuxedo, instead of killing a penalty against a team chasing a top-three playoff spot.
An unassisted marker from Patrick Bolahood with just over four minutes to play in the second swelled Uxbridge’s lead to six goals, before a powerplay goal from Graham Lamers made the score 7-2 in favour of the Bruins after 40 minutes.
Clark scored his second shorthanded goal on a phenomenal individual effort with Port Perry down two skaters with just 33 seconds left in the match, as the Bruins cruised to a 7-3 win, with Francey stopping 20 shots, picking up his league-leading 16th win of the season.
In his first full weekend back with the Bruins after being dealt from the Junior ‘A’ Lindsay Muskies, Spataro netted two assists in both games while also helping to solidify the Bruins’ blue line.
“I love being back, to me Uxbridge is a second home, and I’ve been welcomed back with open arms,” Spataro told The Standard. “This town deserves a winner, and my only goal for this is to win a championship, and you can’t take anyone in this league too lightly, but I think this is the team to get us there.”
- This weekend, the Bruins will take on the Little Britain Merchants in Uxbridge at 7:45 p.m., on Friday, Jan. 23, before hitting the road to the shores of the Otonabee River for a 7:30 p.m. tilt against the Lakefield Chiefs on Tuesday, Jan. 27.