Jake Grinell races ahead with the puck during the North Island Eagles bantam side's game aginst Alberni in Port Hardy last weekend.

Eagles bantams stumble, but advance

Vancouver Island semifinals up next for team following home loss to Alberni Valley

PORT HARDY—A brutal second period saw the Eagles bantams concede nine goals on the way to a 13-0 loss at the hands of Alberni Valley in the Tier 3 North playoffs Saturday at Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.

The home side were put on the back foot early in the first as the visitors surged forward, but dealt well with the pressure from a team that was a competitive force in Division 2 this year.

As the opening period progressed the Eagles looked the more dangerous of the two sides and Alberni was lucky not to be behind after intense pressure late in the period.

From the moment the puck dropped at the start of the second period the visitors took control, scoring just ten seconds in.

Alberni added four more before the ice-cleaning break and four more after, all variations on a theme. By drawing the defender off the crease and timing a pass to a late arrival in the slot, Alberni were able to race out of sight. The Bulldogs added four more in the third as the Eagles chased a goal of their own.

“We knew they were a tough side, they’re coming down from tier two this year,” said coach Boni Sharpe. “The players didn’t give up, there were no stupid penalties — they kept their positive energy.”

This positive energy was personified by Jake Grinnell who was tireless throughout, chasing every puck and seemingly involved all over the ice during his shifts.

Having topped Juan de Fuca last week on the road, the Eagles claimed second seed in the T3 North bracket, but will have to wait to find out their opponent for the next round after the three teams in the south split their games. If decided by goal difference, Victoria will be the next opponents for the rep bantams.

 

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