DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
There is a logjam behind them, but the Uxbridge Bruins maintained their position at the top of the COJHL table over the weekend, with a split decision in their match-ups.
The weekend began with an 8-0 melting of the Georgina Ice at Uxrena on Friday, Dec. 12.
Just over five minutes into the action on Friday, Shane Smith picked up a loose puck and fired a wrist shot from the slot through the goalie’s legs to bring teddy bears raining down from the stands, as the Bruins collected more than 100 stuffed animals in support of the Uxbridge Community Toy Drive.
“I’ve always considered myself more a defensive guy, but everyone likes to score goals, and that was a great one to score,” Smith told The Standard following the game. “Being from Uxbridge, and seeing the great support we always get from this town, it was really something to see our fans give back to the community like that.”
The Ice would threaten to score several times as the first period wore on, but were denied continuously by netminder Jake Joosten, who was making his second straight start between the pipes for the Bruins after backstopping the team to a win last Sunday in Apsley against the North Kawartha Knights.
Late in the period, with Owen Scuralli, Robert Freckelton, Alex Siblock, Thomas Sheedy, Connor Evans and Joosten all on the ice, Uxbridge boasted a lineup composed entirely of Uxbridge-raised players. They did a masterful job of keeping the Ice pinned down in their own end, and when they did mount a threat, Sheedy raced back to assist Evans in taking away a scoring chance from Justin Wain, one of Georgina’s top offensive threats.
The floodgates opened for the Bruins’ offence in the second period, with Uxbridge lighting the lamp four times to take a commanding 5-0 lead.
A pair of goals from Todd Winder led the way, with Jarett Smith and Daryl Thomson chipping in singles.
With just under nine minutes to play in the third, call-up Scuralli made it 6-0 in favour of Uxbridge, and just 41 seconds later, Winder completed his hat trick with a powerplay goal.
A powerplay goal from Siblick rounded out the scoring as Uxbridge cruised to an 8-0 win with Joosten rarely tested in the final 40 minutes after a busy opening period that kept the Ice at bay offensively, making a total of 27 saves over the course of the game.
“I don’t think it’s a secret that Joosten is the back-up,” Bruins Head Coach Geoff Hodgkinson said of the 18-year-old Uxbridge native, who split last season between the Midget ‘A’ Uxbridge Stars and the Uxbridge SS Tigers. “He’s been absolutely positive and has really tried to learn as much as he can and really push himself in practice and I think he’s a better player for it.”
On Sunday, Dec. 14, the Bruins came up short as the Clarington Eagles broke a seven-game win streak for Uxbridge with a 3-1 win. Uxbridge’s dominance over the Eagles dated back to last year’s playoffs when the Bruins rallied for a dramatic victory after trailing three-games-to-one in the COJHL semi-finals.
Clarington took the lead just over five minutes into the action, before Freckelton notched the equalizer near the mid-point of the second period, assisted by Evans and Alex Williamson.
A late period push gave the Eagles a 3-1 lead with goals in the last 32 seconds of the frame from Jake Carter and Brad Down, the latter came with just one second left on the clock.
In the third period, the Bruins were unable to find the back of the net, as the Eagles moved to within a point of the Bruins for first place in the COJHL table, and are now tied with Port Perry at 36 points in the runner-up position.
- The lone game for the Bruins this weekend pits them in a Battle of North Durham, as the Port Perry MoJacks visit Uxrena for the final time this regular season at 7:45 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 19.
- As part of the festivities on Dec. 19, the Bruins will be hosting Community Living Durham North at the game.
- As of press time, the Bruins sit atop the COJHL table with 37 points, one ahead of Port Perry and Clarington. Lakefield sits fourth with 35 points and Little Britain lurks in fifth with 31 points.
- Following the holiday break, the Bruins are back in action on Tuesday, Dec. 30, as they look to bankrupt the Little Britain Merchants in a rare mid-week match-up at Uxrena, with the action getting underway at 7:45 p.m.
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