PORT McNEILL—Outnumbered and outsized, the North Island Eagles atom development team showed solid improvement from Saturday to Sunday, but still dropped a pair of exhibition games to a strong Alberni Valley squad last weekend at Chilton Regional Arena.
An untimely goal and a rash of penalties Saturday turned a two-goal game late in the second period into a 9-2 romp by the visiting Bulldogs.
On Sunday, the Eagles did a much better job of carrying the play to the visitors, but were stymied at the goal and settled for a 5-1 loss.
After spotting Alberni a pair of quick goals Saturday, the Eagles got within 2-1 on Ryan Patterson’s conversion off a Luke Gage assist just 4:05 into the opening period. The score held into the second period, when the visitors got two more goals to push their lead to 4-1.
Mathew Saunders scored unassisted at 9:49 to make it 4-2, but the Bulldogs answered just 43 seconds later to restore the three-goal lead.
Alberni then potted three quick goals early in the third to put the game out of reach as the Eagles where whistled for five of their nine penalties over the final 20 minutes.
The Bulldogs again started with a flurry Sunday, grabbing a 3-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of play.
But goalie Kayden Jones and a revamped defence, resulting from several lineup changes, settled down and did not allow another goal until the third period. In the interim, Saunders lifted a high shot into the net from the slot to cut the deficit to 3-1, and the Eagles continued to put pressure on the Bulldogs.
But Alberni extended its lead early in the third on a hard-luck score, when Bulldog Isaac Jack stole a pass in the Tri-Port zone and fired a shot from the high slot that was redirected past Jones by one of his own teammates. Then, as in Saturday’s game, Alberni added a meaningless late goal in the closing moments.