Mastrangelo sparkles in three Bruins wins
by Roger Varley
Led by the line of Marco Mastrangelo, Jarrett Smith and Tyson Eastgate, the Uxbridge Bruins scored a ton of goals over the weekend to take three wins in a row. They defeated the Georgina Ice 7-3 on Friday and 6-1 on Sunday and followed that with a 5-4 victory over the Lakefield Chiefs on Tuesday.
In the process, Mastrangelo racked up six goals and two assists, Jarrett Smith had two goals and four assists and Eastgate posted four goals and three assists.
The weekend's action did not start well for the Bruins. In Friday's game against the Ice, it was a full 13 minutes into the game before they made a serious challenge on the Georgina netminder. For most of the scoreless period, the Bruins had trouble getting out of their own end, let alone past the neutral zone. Late in the period, Georgina's Cameron McSween came close to scoring a short-handed goal and it was goalie Brandon Francey that kept the Bruins in the game.
However, it was a different story in the second period. Mastrangelo opened the scoring with an unassisted power-play goal. The Ice replied with their first and then Mastrangelo scored again, converting a great pass from Carter Vahey at the blue line. Jarrett Smith also registered an assist. As the period dwindled down, Eastgate scored a short-handed goal after stealing the puck at the Bruins' blue line and skating in alone on the Ice goalie. Less than a minute later, Mastrangelo scored his third, again on a power play, assisted by Vahey and Connor Evans. Georgina narrowed the gap with their second goal with less than 30 seconds left in the period.
In the third stanza, Eastgate scored his second of the night as he combined with Jarrett Smith on a classic two-on-one rush followed three minutes later by Mastrangelo's fourth goal of the night, assisted by Eastgate. Georgina managed one more power-play marker late in the period as Aiden Reilly was serving five minutes in the sin bin for head contact, but Eastgate replied with an empty-netter, assisted by Korey Brand, with 20 seconds left in the game.
On Sunday, at the Sutton arena, Evans sent a rocket from the blue line into the back of Georgina's net midway through the first period, but the goal was nullified by a penalty to Brand. The Ice took the lead late in the period with a power-play goal following a quick one-two-three play that goalie Jake Joosten had no chance on. But Mastrangelo evened the score three minutes later, also on a power play, when he passed the puck to Jarrett Smith and then raced into position to convert the return pass. For some reason, the officials also gave Evans an assist.
From then on, the Bruins lowered the boom. Eastgate took a long pass from Mastrangelo that put him in the clear to score Uxbridge's second goal. Then Shane Smith made it 3-1, assisted by Alex Williamson and Dylan Locke, followed eight second later by Jordan Nesbitt's marker, assisted by Locke.
The third period opened with the Ice changing goalies, but Daryl Thomson welcomed him with a high shot over the shoulder less than a minute into the period. Vahey was credited with the assist. Robert Freckelton rounded out the scoring with his second goal of the season with assists going to Williamson and Nesbitt.
In a back-and-forth battle in Lakefield on Tuesday, with Francey back in the net, Evans opened the scoring in the first, assisted by Mastrangelo and Jarrett Smith, followed by Mastrangelo's marker, assisted by call-up Liam Knoll. The Chiefs narrowed the score with a power-play goal before the period ended.
In the second period, the teams traded goals, with Jarrett Smith scoring for the Bruins, assisted by Eastgate.
In the third, the Chiefs took the lead with two goals, one of them on the power play, but the Bruins came back to tie the game with Nesbitt's power-play goal, assisted by Evans, and then Jarrett Smith scored the winner, assisted by Eastgate, with seven minutes remaining.
The three wins moved Uxbridge into second place in the seven-team OHA Junior C Central Division, two points behind the Port Perry MoJacks, although the MoJacks have a game in hand. As for Mastrangelo, his points collection moved him into third place in the scoring race, although he leads in goals scored with 17.
The Bruins host the struggling North Kawartha Knights tomorrow at 7:45 p.m. and then travel down the road to meet the MoJacks on Sunday at 2:25 p.m.
Bear pause: Tomorrow night, Uxbridge's Care-a-Van will be at the arena looking for donations of cash and non-perishable food items for the local Loaves and Fishes Food Bank. A great way to help those of our neighbours who are struggling.
Charity Holiday Dinner at USS
by Alysa Wilson
Presents, hot chocolate and carols are all great parts of this snowy (or, at least almost snowy) winter season in Uxbridge, but what really makes it special is when the true meaning of the time is expressed through the actions of the community. The true meaning of Christmas is being demonstrated by USS' own business leadership course this holiday season.
Each semester, a course designed to further student's understanding and involvement in business is offered at USS, during which they pick two charities for which to put on a fundraiser. The students are getting experience in the area of business, but they are also donating time and effort to good causes. The class is separated into two teams of business leaders, and one team this semester is putting on a Charity Holiday Dinner.
This pasta dinner will take place on December 2, in the Uxbridge Secondary School cafeteria amidst festive decorations and entertainment as holiday music plays. The dinner will begin at 5:30 p.m. and end at 8 p.m., with the time packed full of fun and good food. It is a great outing idea for families, as kids four and under eat for free. For ages four to 12 years old the cost is $5, and it only increases to $10 for those 13 and up. The cost is very minimal and all proceeds will be going towards the Uxbridge Christmas Hamper Charity. This charity is deeply involved in the Uxbridge community. According to the coordinator, applications for the program are received through social services, the Uxbridge Loaves and Fishes Food Bank and Sunrise Pregnancy and Family Support. The charity then proceeds to send the applications out to people and organizations that wish to “adopt” a family for Christmas. The people “adopting” provide food for the hamper and gifts for the members of the family. A shopping list is provided which includes suggested items for breakfast, Christmas dinner, and holiday treats. There is also access to the Uxbridge Toy Drive in which people can pick out toys for their families. The people adopting receive a letter on how to be in contact with their adopted family.
The holiday dinner is sure to be fun-packed and tasty event through which one true meaning of Christmas, giving, will bless the families supported through the Christmas Hamper Program.
A Cup of Coffee...
with Derek Connelly
by Roger Varley
(Occasionally, we call on someone we know little about to join us for a cup of coffee and often such people prove to be fascinating interviewees. Derek Connelly is such a person. A former Port Perry science teacher, he moved to Uxbridge about 15 years ago to pursue his passions: bird watching and nature.)
Derek, the only thing I know about you is that you are a bird watcher and a member of a nature club.
What is the club?
I'm a director of North Durham Nature.
Is (Cosmos contributor) Nancy Melcher a member of that club? It just occurred to me that she writes the Nature Nut column.
Yes, she was one of our founding people. The club is only a year old and it came together because a bunch of environmentally interested people felt it was time. Most of them were birders, interested in birds and working with me to do bird-related things such as the Christmas bird count and a bird course we did at Durham College. That sort of amalgamated us together and we realized that it was time we had a club that did more than just birds because of our interest in nature in the area.
How many members do you have in the club?
We've got about 70 members.
You're doing better than some of the service clubs. And the club takes in the three northern municipalities?
Yes, it takes in Scugog and Uxbridge and Brock. We wanted to hit those three areas because some of our members were from that area already and there is a club in Oshawa that focuses mainly on the lake and we felt there was a need in the north.
What does the club do?
We're interested in educating the public about nature and nature-related activities and we're interested in bringing the ideas of what concerns there are related to nature to the people and providing some entertainment as well as education. Both for children as well as adults. We're also collecting data, because we're combining the Christmas bird counts for Uxbridge and Beaverton and that census of birds is part of our group, as well as butterfly counts, anything that involves collecting data about nature. We're also interested in enhancing nature, so we're involved in bird box projects, helping birds that need cavities to nest in. Anything to do with nature we get involved in.
You mention children, do you have child members in the club?
Yes, we have family memberships and, in fact, we're working with Friends of Nonquon on Saturday (Nov. 29) for the kids' bird count, which is something that's brand new which I started in Uxbridge two years ago. I believe there were four (clubs) in all of Ontario that were doing this. Now it's expanded across Canada and there are 29 cities involved in the kids' bird count which gives kind of a training area for future children that will eventually take over the Christmas bird counts. It's a big census that's carried on all across North America, Central America, the Caribbean and there's now a count in Antarctica. That census started over 100 years ago. In the early 1900s they used to have a Christmas hunt and they'd go out and shoot everything they could and count how many things they'd killed. Then a guy named Frank Chapman said: "Why don't we count the birds instead of shooting them?" and so they started the census. Toronto was one of the first cities, along with New York, and the U.S. National Audubon Society took over.
Do you mean the count takes place on Christmas Day?
No, during the Christmas holidays, from about the middle of December to the first week in January. It's a one-day thing, but you pick which day. This way you could go to Oshawa and do that count, do the Uxbridge count and then go to Beaverton and do that count.
Do you find many different species around at Christmas?
Christmas is the best time to count birds because they're not migrating. During summer, spring and fall, a lot of birds are moving around and you're getting different birds coming through, but at Christmas-time, the birds that you have are the birds that are going to stay all winter long. That way, you can pretty well get an idea of what's happening in your own backyard at your bird feeder. But you're right, there isn't a lot of birds for us in the north.
About four or five weeks ago, I took a stroll through the nature preserve and didn't see a single bird. What's with that?
It's about the food. Where's the food? For us, in the wintertime, most of the birds are coming to the bird feeders, so they'll be hiding in the cedar hedges and then sneaking out to go to a bird feeder because there are no bugs right now. So all the warblers are gone, all your insect-eating birds are not here. We're only looking at birds that eat the nuts and seeds and berries.
How long have you been involved in the Christmas count?
I've been in a lot of different counts, in British Columbia and Ontario, but in Uxbridge for 10 years now.
Are there any trends you've seen in that 10 years?
Not for Uxbridge, no. It fluctuates based on two things: the number of participants; have a lot gone south like the birds? And also the weather. If it's a really bad day that we do our count on, then we're going to get a lower count. There are a lot of factors that determine how many birds you'll count on that day.
But if the count can be affected by so many factors year after year, why do you do the count?
The count data is useful when you look at long-term trends. If everybody in Ontario doesn't see a chickadee, that would be an extremely rare occurrence.
So your results are shared with all the other counts?
Absolutely. There's a book put out every year called American Birds and that gives us the summaries of all the counts across Canada and the U.S. And then they do summaries of the changes that they see: how high are populations this year compared to other years, what birds are in different locations.
Can you give me some idea of how many species there might be in Uxbridge?
Oh sure, about 40 or 50. The highest we've got so far is 53. That was a couple of years ago. And our lowest was in the 30s. But our list of birds (species seen over the years) is about 70.
Do you count such things as the gulls and the crows?
Oh yes, everything.
As a birder, what's been your most exciting spotting?
There's been lots of exciting spottings, but probably the most exciting just recently, last year, was the snowy owls that migrated down. But another exciting bird right now is the red-bellied woodpecker which people are seeing at their feeders more and more. Most people are familiar with the downy woodpecker and the hairy woodpecker, but the red-bellied woodpecker is usually found a little further south and now we're seeing more and more of them in the north.
I read recently that we are seeing more and more birds moving further north, possibly because of climate change. Are you aware of this?
Yes, there are definitely some indicators that show that, For example, we have had the Carolina wren on a couple of winter counts hanging around, and Carolina wrens are normally further south. But now we've seen a few in Uxbridge and even further north than us. That's a bird that appears to be increasing its range. And there's a number of other birds that seem to be showing up more than we expect.
This would be exciting for birders, but not necessarily for the birds themselves, right?
Well, not if they get caught in a cold snap and that can be a concern. Last year we had a particularly cold winter and a number of birds were affected by that.
How did you become interested in birds?
I think I started getting interested in high school. I met a fellow in Grade 10 who was a bird watcher and then I got more interested in birds from various jobs that I had. I worked in Algonquin Park and that was a good summer job that involved meeting other people who were interested in nature. And then I headed west to B.C. and joined clubs.
When did you come to Uxbridge?
I came in 2000. Then I met the birding network that was here. We're very fortunate in Uxbridge, We have a lot of people that are experts in nature.
Let's get to the nature side, Derek. What activities does the North Durham Nature club do?
Talks and walks. We provide talks with experts. In fact, this week Martin Galloway is giving a talk on invasive plant species at the Senior Centre. We've had talks on frogs, turtles, astronomy even. We cover a lot of things related to nature. And then we have guided walks.
Talking of invasive species, in the Countryside Preserve we have Scotch pine being called invasive. It seems odd that a pine should be called invasive in Canada, land of the pine.
We have quite a number of pine trees, but Scotch pine was brought over from Europe a number of years ago, and it’s quite aggressive in terms of its ability to move through an area and spread. In the Countryside Preserve we have some nice meadows and thickets and forest and plantations, but the meadows are being taken over by the Scotch pine. I'm trails captain on the Countryside Preserve. With Scotch pine, it's easy to get rid of it. Unlike others which you cut at the base but its roots continue to grow, that doesn't happen with the Scotch pine. If you cut it at the base, it dies off. But we're just getting them out of the meadows, because the meadows are a grassland and we want to encourage the grassland birds.
Do you do school programs?
I was a teacher. I just recently retired. I taught Grade 9 and 10 general science at Port Perry High School and I taught mathematics.
All the subjects I was terrible at, which is why I went to the arts side.
Well, I dabbled in the arts, too. When I first moved to Uxbridge I was involved in South Pacific and The Music Man with Conrad (Boyce). But I haven't done anything since. Mike Bridgeman wants me to get in uxperience because I haven't done that yet, which would be kind of fun.
If someone wants to join the nature club or get more information, how do they do that?
They can call me at at 905-852-5432 or go to www.northdurhamnature.com.
Thank you, Derek.
‘Renovations’ on the ladder to success
by Lisha Van Nieuwenhove
Sunderland playwright Graeme Powell’s much-touted play Renovations is exactly like the Victorian fixer-upper in which it is set - it may be a work in progress, but it definitely has a lot of potential.
The main thrust of the play is focused on Brent and Jenny, a young married couple who have bought a house in Small Town Ontario, and the house requires major fixes to make it livable. The two learn some life-changing news early on in the play, and the remainder of the time is spent dealing with the fall-out. There to support the couple are various neighbours and a father-in-law.
It’s an interesting parallel that Powell draws between the fixing up of the house and the news that sends the couple reeling. Both the house and the relationship need TLC and care to stay standing strong on their respective foundations. However, neither seems to move very far along in this endeavour. The house, actually, becomes more decrepit looking as the play goes on, making one wonder if it is a metaphor for what may happen to the couple. Brent and Jenny seem to be so caught up in themselves as the story moves along that they, particularly Jenny, are almost unlikeable by the end of the play. It is true to life that couples do “grow apart”, but the reasons given for why this happens in Renovations are almost superficial and cliché.
This isn’t to say that Brent and Jenny aren’t well portrayed. Brent, played by Imre Szabo, has a lot of energy on the stage, which he expends by pacing about his construction-zone living room. His voice is big, strong, and his presence on the stage is always felt. Nicole Wahl plays Jenny, and she does well with what she’s given. She portrays the single-mindedness that her character possesses quite steadily, and is a perfect match for Szabo’s feisty energy in “discussion” scenes.
The supporting cast is like the sturdy two-by-fours found in the walls. It would likely take a couple more viewings of the play to really ascertain why some of these supporting characters are even there, but their presence is welcome, nonetheless, as their stories are almost more interesting than the main plot. Especially entertaining are Colin Murphy, in the role of Gil, and Cheryl Tulloch, who plays his on-again off-again girlfriend. The audience quickly learns to look forward to the appearance of these two on the stage. They have some of the best lines, and they deliver them perfectly.
All of the actors are strong and relaxed on the stage; there are no weak elements in the cast at all. Brendon Jones and Carolyn Arnett make a cute, mischievous couple as Brandon and Amber. Keith Kidd plays dutiful son Daniel to Peggy Wrightson’s Harriet, and Rob Goodale plays Ernie, the best father-in-law anyone could ever hope for. He brings coffee and donuts and knows when to go away! Directors Annette Stokes and Michael Serres have worked well with the cast and brought out the best in them.
The story itself takes awhile to get to - obviously there is a house that is in dire need of care - what of the people that are in it? The appearance early on of a hidden letter piques the interest, but no one seems to care about its existence until the very end of the play. Who doesn’t find an old letter in a wall and want to read it from beginning to end right away?
Speaking of the walls, they play a starring role. The curtains are never closed, and upon entering the theatre, one might be inclined to think that the crew is not quite finished getting the stage ready before the show opens. The set has been designed to come apart brilliantly, complete with squeaky nails and flickering lights. It’s often a feat to perform a play in one little room on set, but this room has ample space for stairs, neighbours. even toilets.
It is tremendous fun to hear all the references throughout the play to anything Canadian (being as used to Americana as we are). It’s neat to hear Tim Hortons and Toronto be mentioned on purpose, and not simply replacing other names to try and make it all seem closer to home. It also brings a smile seeing some of the paraphernalia that makes its way on to the stage - Rexall bags, Home Hardware bags, a Presents Presents Presents bag, Coffee Time cups and donut boxes (don’t see the show hungry, or you’ll be drooling by the end of the first act).
Powell has done an excellent job, and should be very proud of himself, as should the cast and crew that have put this on. OnStage Uxbridge knew it was taking a risk putting on a first-time play as part of the 2014-2015 season, and the risk has paid off.
For ticket information, visit www.onstageuxbridge.com, or see the advertisement on page 10.