PORT McNEILL — One day, Robert Cahill played late-game hero. The next, he was a late-game casualty.
Cahill’s shorthanded goal with 2:08 remaining Saturday lifted the North Island Eagles midgets to a wild, 5-3 comeback win over Saanich in Vancouver Island Hockey League play at Chilton Regional Arena.
The Eagles capped a weekend sweep of the Braves with an 8-5 exhibition win Sunday, but the closing minutes devolved into a festival of chippiness and fighting.
By the time the ice chips settled the teams had amassed 128 penalty minutes, and Cahill and teammate Tyson Cadwallader both received suspensions for their roles in the activities.
Cadwallader will sit out one game, while Cahill will miss both games on this weekend’s trip to Sooke and another rematch with Saanich.
Saturday’s contest was a tight, low-scoring affair for more than 50 minutes, until the host Eagles erupted for three unanswered goals in the final 4:19 to erase a 3-2 deficit.
Taylor Logan tied the game at 3 with his second goal, and a short time later the rally seemed blunted when the midgets took a penalty.
But Ethan Shaw’s vigorous forechecking allowed him to control the puck in the Braves’ end and set up Cahill’s go-ahead shot from just off the post at 17:52.
Still on the power play less than a minute later, Saanich called goalie Braden Jensen to the bench for an extra attacker as they broke out of their zone. But Eagles defenseman Mitchell Walker intercepted the puck and flicked a quick wrist shot from beyond the blue line that found the empty net before Jensen had even left the ice.
Malcolm Richards opened the Eagles’ scoring, tying the game 1-1 in the second period.
Saanich jumped ahead 3-1 with back-to-back goals early in the third period before Logan started the rally with his first goal at 6:29.
Walker and Eric Kennelly each had two assists in the win. Logan, Chad Bell and winning goalie Stevyn Ruel also picked up helpers.
The Eagles used a similar late-game scoring outburst to break open a close game in Sunday’s rematch.
Leading just 4-3 early in the third period, the midgets got some breathing room when Kennelly buried a one-timer from the slot off Cahill’s pass from behind the net at 3:48.
Just 22 seconds later, Kennelly played the set-up role on the same play, with Chad Bell finishing with another one-timer from the slot.
Additional scoring information from Sunday’s game was not available.