The North Island Bantam Eagles went 1-1 on the road last weekend, beating the Nanaimo Clippers and then falling the next day to the Port Alberni Bulldogs.
The Clippers game was against “their Tier 3 team who are in a transition period where they have a few new rep kids,” said coach Ryan Handley.
Captain Tynan Klein-Beekman scored for the Eagles in the first period to give them a 1-0 lead, but Handley felt the team’s play “was very lacklustre and we seemed like we were disconnected.”
The Eagles took over in the second, with an avalanche of goals coming from Joey Grant (x2), Connor Van Will, Tyler Roper, Chelsea Noel, and Ethan Bono (x2), giving them a nine goal lead.
“We had shifts where we controlled the puck in the offensive zone for close to two minutes at a time,” said Handley, adding “Those are hard games to get your team to play the right way and you really have to challenge them to stick to the system.”
The third period was more of the same, with Bono, Noel, Cole Klughart, and Grant all scoring to mercifully bring the game to a close 12-1.
The Eagles played the Bulldogs in an exhibition game the next day, and Handley said it was a “Very disappointing effort for the first two periods by the team. We were down 4-0 after one.”
Handley and the coaching staff did their best to wake the Eagles up during the ice clean, and “we finally decided in the third period it was time to play. For this group, the question will never be if they are talented enough — it will always be if they want it more. We didn’t want it for two periods and dug too big of a hole to get out of. Undisciplined penalties were our down fall. 90 per cent of the time the puck will end up in your net and three of them did, which was the difference maker in the game.”
Now that preseason tiering has ended, Handley confirmed the Eagles will be playing in VIAHA’s tier 2 division, and that he is “excited for the season to get going.”