The North Island Eagles peewee rep team were in action last weekend at Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena against the Campbell River Tyees, performing strongly despite losing out in the exhibition.
The visitors struck first with 7:31 left in the first period, triggering a magnificent spell for the Eagles, in particular from the defencemen.
The Eagles frustrated the Tyees’ attacks time and again with timely poke- and sweep-checks backed up by solid passing to clear their zone.
The home side piled on the pressure at the other end for much of the rest of the period, controlling the blue line for extended periods but were unable to find the equalizer before the buzzer sounded.
The Eagles got their reward early in the second after a Campbell River defender held the puck for a little too long in front of his goal. The Eagles’ Clayton Bono surged forward to put pressure on the puck, the resulting challenge seeing the puck find the net and the home side draw level.
The Eagles soaked up some pressure from the visitors in the remaining minutes to go into the ice-cleaning break even, goalie Michael McLaughlin pulling out a series of stops to maintain parity.
The visitors regained their lead after the break on a power play when a pass from behind the Eagles net took a deflection to find Campbell River’s Riley Billy at the back post.
The Tyees made in two soon after following a scramble in front of the Eagles goal to finish the scoring for the period.
The Eagles continued to pressure in the third and were finally rewarded when Devin White’s pass from the corner found Brady Ranger in front of the Tyees’ goalie and he turned the puck home to make it 3-2 with 11:09 left to play.
A blistering minute and a half from the visitors shot them all but out of reach as the Tyees scored three almost identical goals in quick succession, drawing the play wide down the right before crossing for a back post shot.
To their credit, the home side continued to fight for a way back and captain Tanner Roberts led by example, bursting through from his own half to create a one-on-one against the Tyees’ goalie before slotting home high and left to complete a superb solo effort.
The Eagles fought right down to the buzzer but were unable to find the net again, the 6-3 score somewhat belying how tightly fought the game was.