DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
The Port Perry MoJacks stumbled in their march towards the COJHL playoffs this past weekend, dropping a pair of games to the Clarington Eagles.
With the MoJacks and Eagles locked in a tight battle for third spot in the COJHL table, the late-season home-and-home encounter took on added importance. However, the MoJacks would struggle in both games, dropping decisions of 8-1 and 5-3.
Round one took place in Bowmanville, on Friday, Jan. 30, and the MoJacks took a 1-0 lead into the dressing room following the first period behind an unassisted goal from Ryan Bernardes.
However, it was all Clarington in the final forty minutes as the Eagles soared to eight unanswered goals to take the win in convincing fashion.
The MoJacks had their opportunity for revenge as they returned to Scugog Arena for a rematch on Sunday, Feb. 1.
But, the Eagles continued to dominate the MoJacks, as they rolled to a 4-0 lead just before the midpoint of the second period. A powerplay goal from Jeff St. Pierre would eventually get Port Perry on the scoreboard, as he jammed in a loose puck through a tangled web of bodies in front of the net with just under five minutes to play in the second period.
Clarington restored a four-goal lead less than five minutes into the third period. But, late goals from Graham Lamers and Bernardes did provide a spark for the team in the waning stages of the game. However, despite good pressure with an extra attacker on the ice, the MoJacks wouldn’t get any closer than 5-3, as they fell to fourth place in the standings.
Following Sunday’s game, MoJacks Head Coach Clair Cornish was undaunted about the possibility of having to play the Little Britain Merchants in a best two-out-of-three ‘mini-series’ to open the playoffs for the right to square off against the top seed in a best-of-seven series.
“It didn’t seem to bother the L.A. Kings last spring when they made the playoffs as the eight-seed and won the Stanley Cup,” Cornish told The Standard. “We’re focused on making the playoffs and executing when that time comes. Obviously, we didn’t get the results we wanted this weekend, but we learned a lot about our team. We’re seeing the difference in pace at this time of year and the increased level that you have to compete at to be successful.”
- Bernardes registered his fourth straight game with at least one point over the weekend.
- The MoJacks head to Little Britain for a 7:30 p.m. match-up against the Merchants on Saturday, Feb. 7.
- The COJHL season comes to a close on Sunday, Feb. 8 in Port Perry, with the Uxbridge Bruins at Scugog Arena to face off in a ‘Battle of North Durham’ against the MoJacks, starting at 2:25 p.m.
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