DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
The Uxbridge Bruins took two out of three games played last week, skating to a thrilling shootout win over Little Britain before being shut out by the Lakefield Chiefs, the rebounding to dethrone the North Kawartha Knights.
In a contender for ‘Game of the Year’ in the COJHL, the Bruins outlasted the Merchants after a nine-round shootout in Uxbridge, on Tuesday, Dec. 30.
In a physical affair that saw both sides dishing out punishing hits, Robert Freckelton gave the Bruins an early lead when he slammed in his own rebound just over six minutes into the action.
With just over five minutes to play in the first period, Daryl Thomson doubled Uxbridge’s advantage, when excellent puck movement between Shane Smith and Adam Bartholomew led to him firing a laser beam high. And, with just 41 seconds left in the opening period, the Bruins’ powerplay unit overwhelmed the Merchants’ defence as Todd Winder notched his eighth goal of the season, assisted by Thomson.
The Merchants would not allow themselves to bankrupted however, and fought back in the second period, with Hayden Long, Brett Doble and Kurtis Moore all scoring to knot the match 3-3 through 40 minutes of play.
There was a frantic pace to the action in the third period, with Little Britain’s dynamic duo of Terry Snoddon and Moore displaying more moves than a barrel of snakes as they sought to break a five game winless streak for the Merchants, only to be denied repeatedly by stellar goaltending from Bruins netminder Branden Francey. The veteran goalkeeper was particularly sharp late in the frame, with the Bruins down two skaters due to penalty trouble.
At the end of 60 minutes of action, the score remained deadlocked, sending the game to overtime.
In the extra frame, Little Britain goalie and Uxbridge native Garrett Haden was simply sensational between the pipes, as a pair of attempts from Jarett Smith defied the laws of physics staying out of the net, and just seconds later, Haden made a spectacular sprawling save to deny Thomson a near-certain score.
Indeed the fans would get their money’s worth as the game headed to a shootout to determine the winner. Through three rounds, the score sat tied, with Moore scoring for Little Britain and Thomson lighting the lamp for Uxbridge. In the sixth round, following consecutive misses for both sides, Shane Smith deked Haden to score for Uxbridge, only to have a shot from Mitchell Brown squeak through Francey’s legs to tie the shootout once more. After another two misses for both sides, Freckelton’s deke sent Haden off balance, and he was able to slip the puck over the goal line, and Jordan Sharpe’s shot sailed wide at the other end to give Uxbridge a hard fought victory, with the Bruins outshooting the Merchants 53-49 in a wildly entertaining affair.
On Friday, Jan. 2, the Bruins looked to ring in 2015 with a win as they hosted the Lakefield Chiefs. However, the visitors from the shores of the Otonabee River had other plans in mind, as they skated to a 3-0 shutout of the Bruins.
The Bruins were able to quickly put the loss behind them as they braved winter weather for a trip to Apsley on Saturday night for a match-up against the North Kawartha Knights.
Freckelton would open the scoring, with an assist credited to Winder just over six minutes into the game.
With just over six minutes played in the second period, Shane Smith gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead, assisted by Marco Mastrangelo and Aiden Reilly.
A shorthanded tally for the Knights just past the mid-point of the second cut Uxbridge’s lead back to a single goal, but Korey Brand scored with less than a minute left in the middle frame to round out the scoring in a 3-1 Bruins’ victory. Goaltender Jake Joosten earned his seventh win in eight starts for the Bruins.
- The Knights will be out for revenge when they visit Uxbridge Arena on Friday, Jan. 9, for a 7:45 p.m. showdown with the Bruins. Then, on Saturday, Jan. 10, Uxbridge renews hostilities with the Merchants, as they trek to Little Britain for a 7:30 p.m. tilt.
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