The North Island Bantam Eagles picked up a couple big road wins on the weekend, defeating the Saanich Braves on Friday and then taking out the Kerry Park Islanders the day after.
Bantam Eagles Coach Ryan Handley said the game against Saanich was “a good measuring stick for us, we came out hungry and played a physical game right away which kind of set them back on their heels.”
The Eagles’ Joey Grant opened the scoring in the first period with a goal at 2:37, and then Connor Van Will, Ethan Bono, Tynan Klein-Beekman, and David Klatt all scored goals in the second to give the Eagles a 5-1 lead going into the third period.
Klatt, Klein-Beekman, and Grant then all scored in the third to finish the game off with a lopsided 8-2 win.
Handley was pleased with the team’s effort, as he felt the Eagles “used their speed very well and capitalized on their chances. Our penalty kill was very good, and Griffin (Eagles goaltender) and the defence shut down any hope of them getting much of anything going — It was a great team win.”
The Eagles game the next day against the Islanders was “a hard hitting game right from the start, with both teams playing the body,” said Handley.
The Eagles came out flying in the first period with goals coming from Klatt and Keenan Saunders to give them a 2-1 lead going into the second period.
Klein-Beekman, Skyler Evans, and Klatt, who picked up his second goal of the game, pushed the Eagles lead to 5-3 before the start of the third period.
In the third, Ethan Bono and Joey Grant (x2) then scored to finish off the game with a big 8-3 Eagles’ win.
“Our speed and heavy forecheck kept them off their game, and as the game wore on we took control,” Handley said, adding the team’s penalty kill “was great, and the team is really playing a sound system game with the results showing on the score board.”
Handley said that he felt the team’s goaltender, Griffin Handley, was much busier in this game than against Saanich, and “he stood tall behind a stingy defence.”
With the element of hitting coming into the equation at Bantam level, “injuries are now part of the process, and as a team, when you face adversity like injuries, it gives opportunities for others to step up,” said Handley, adding he thought “our group did a great job of that.”
The Bantam Eagles will be playing their next home games in Port McNeill at the Chilton Regional Arena on Saturday at 4 p.m. versus the Victoria Racquet club Tier 2 team, and then on Sunday morning against Comox Valley Chiefs Tier 2 team.
Come on out and cheer on the Eagles!