Special to The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The Uxbridge Bruins clawed their way to back-to-back home ice wins over the Clarington Eagles, passing their rivals from East Durham for third place, in the Orr Division standings, and a playoff bye to the division’s semi-finals.
The final week of the regular season started a rare Tuesday night match at the Bear Den, a game that was postponed earlier in the month due to inclement weather.
The Bruins continued their strong play of late, posting their third consecutive victory, downing the Eagles 3-1.
After a scoreless opening period, Michael Rennie broke the deadlock, just over five minutes into the 2nd period, to give the Bruins a 1-0 advantage.
Just past the midpoint of the middle frame, Kyle Spataro netted the eventual game winner to put Uxbridge ahead 2-0.
The Eagles would finally beat Ryan McConkey early in the 3rd period, but he was sensational down the stretch, turning aside several quality chances for Clarington. A powerplay goal by Derek Dolan in the 3rd period sealed Uxbridge's 3-1 win.
The Bruins saved the best for last tonight at the Bear Den in their regular season finale vs the Clarington Eagles in a match to decide 3rd place in the Orr Division.
Over the course of a back-and-forth affair, the Bruins battled back throughout the night, rallying from a goal-down, twice, to force overtime before finally taking the lead, with just over two minutes left in overtime, on a blast by captain Adam Bartholomew.
Aiden Reilly and Cameron Moffitt also scored for Uxbridge, while McConkey turned aside 39 shots for his 16th win of the season.
Following Friday night’s game, Bruins Head Coach, Rob Acton praised the collective effort of his team during their recent run of success.
“This is a great group that’s determined to win and willing to sacrifice to achieve those common goals,” Acton explained.
As well, Acton credited the work of his father Keith, a former NHL player and Assistant Coach, who was officially added to the staff last week, for his guidance on both sides of the bench.
“He deserves a lot of credit. Having his influence on the bench is a huge part of our success. He’s been great with the players, as well as a calming influence for me at times. I’ve loved every minute of it.”
The Bruins picked up their final two points of the season, officially allowing them to pass the Eagles 54-52, after a Saturday night forfeit by the Little Britain Merchants. The team announced, earlier in the week, they would be suspending operations for the remainder of the season, using the opportunity to begin rebuilding for the 2018-19 campaign.
The Bruins were able to take the playoff bye, after the second-place Port Perry MoJacks opted to play the Georgina Ice in seven-game series.
In the other quarterfinal series, the Eagles will tangle with the fifth-place North Kawartha Knights. Both series got underway this week, and must be completed by Sunday, February 18th.
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