PORT HARDY—The North Island Eagles peewee rep team were swept aside last weekend by a strong Alberni Valley side in an elimination game in the Vancouver Island North Tier 3 playoffs.
The local side held its own in the first period, but the organized visitors were able to carve out a two-goal lead to take into the break.
The second saw Alberni Valley assert its dominance through orchestrated attacks, pinning the home side behind its own blue line for much of the game.
The sustained pressure saw the visitors extend their lead to 7-0 before the ice-cleaning break, giving the Eagles a mountain to climb to get back into the game.
After the break, the second period resumed with a bright spell from the home side, David Charlie showing a flash of individual brilliance to get the Eagles on the scoresheet.
The visitors responded with a pair of their own before Charlie struck again, finding the net off of Clayton Bono’s assist to double his tally.
The game then took a worrying turn for the Eagles as the home side’s Benton Browne took a nasty hit.
Browne was battling for the puck in the corner behind his own net when he was checked into the boards from behind.
After the puck cleared the area and Browne remained prone on the ice the referees blew and checked on the player.
Joined by one of the Eagles’ assistant coach on the ice, the decision was quickly made to call for paramedics and the refs sent the teams to their benches as a concerned crowd watched on.
The ambulance crew were on the scene in a matter of minutes and, after assessing the young player, transferred him to a back board and applied a C-collar.
The injured Eagle was given a round of applause as referees and paramedics transferred him to a gurney and into the waiting ambulance, while the offending Alberni player was sent to the change rooms to cool his heels for the duration.
Play resumed after the half-hour break, and the visitors added another to take a 10-2 lead into the final period.
Alberni pressed home its advantage in the third, ruthlessly pressuring the home side with a relentless barrage of attacks, drawing the puck and defenders wide then squaring the puck for a shot in the middle.
The tactic paid dividends as the visitors, already out of reach at the beginning of the period, notched a further six to finish up 16-2 winners.
Team manager Conrad Browne said the result against the highly-rated Alberni side was “not unexpected,” and looked forward to the rest of the team’s season with exhibition games and a spring break tourney on the schedule.
Benton Browne was released from the hospital the same day, having suffered only minor whiplash.