PORT HARDY—The Eagles midgets squandered a two-goal lead as the T3 Juan de Fuca Grizzlies rode their luck to a 4-4 tie here Saturday.
A dominant second period display from the hosts saw the Eagles rally from a goal down to take the lead, but a strong finish from the Grizzlies earned a tie for the visitors.
A well-worked power-play goal early in the third period gave the Eagles a 4-2 advantage and the local side looked to be cruising to another home win. Darryl Coon provided the critical touch on the back post after the side used almost the full two minutes to control the puck in the Grizzlies’ zone and craft a shooting chance.
But the Victoria side pulled one back against the run of play, a round-the-boards clearance finding a gap and the breakaway strike finding the net.
Another break with 2:39 on the clock tied it up as a long-range wrist shot found the glove of Eagles goalie Nyck Ruel but dropped and dribbled behind for the goal.
Ruel was unlucky in the second period too, as the Grizzlies scored shorthanded to tie 2-2. An intercepted pass put the visitors through one-on-one and again Ruel made contact with the puck but saw the shot deflect off his arm and roll into the net.
The visitors took a one-goal advantage in the first period but a power play strike from Nick Klein-Beekman evened the score early in the second.
The tie lasted all of 11 seconds as Coon won the puck off the drop and George Walkus drove it forward to score.
The Eagles found another quick reply to the deflected equalizer, Cameron Grant driving low and squeezing the puck in from a narrow angle.
The home side piled on the pressure in the closing minutes hoping to find a late winner, but a penalty left them short handed and the Eagles had to settle for the draw.
“It was a good game,” shrugged coach Aaron Hinton afterwards. “We made about five mistakes the whole game and four of them cost us a goal.
“When we played our style of hockey we were all over them, it was like we were on a power play. But, when we didn’t it cost us.”