PORT McNEILL—Josh Walkus snapped a tie with his second goal of the game Sunday, lifting the North Island Eagles to a 3-2 victory over the Oceanside Generals at Chilton Regional Arena.
The game was just an exhibition, but the win helped erase some of the sting of a 3-2 loss to the Generals one day earlier in Port Alice, and put the peewees back on track after they won their previous league contest, 2-1 over Peninsula, last week.
“I was disappointed (Saturday),” peewee coach Brian Heller said of the loss in Port Alice. “I thought we could have won that game, but we just didn’t work hard. We were better in our own end today, for sure, and the guys skated harder. Hopefully we can build on this.”
Walkus, whose first goal early in the second period tied the game 1-1, snapped a 2-2 score with 6:59 left in the game. He took a neutral-zone feed from Sean Pineda and skated in, beating one defender, before lifting a wrist shot from the slot past another defender and the goalie.
It was the team’s only lead after they played catchup on each of their previous scores.
Walkus narrowly missed a hat trick when his shot at an empty net sailed just wide in the final minute.
Goalie Nyck Ruel kept the Eagles in the game early as Oceanside applied most of the pressure in the opening 10 minutes.
The momentum turned, oddly, when the Eagles were forced into a penalty kill and actually kept the visitors from breaking out of their own end for most of those two minutes. Oceanside did final score in the closing minutes of the period, but Walkus knotted it at 1-1 with a wrister from the bottom of the circle in the second, with an assist to Tyrell Davidson.
Ruel was again put to the test for several minutes following the mid-game intermission for ice cleaning, but again the Eagles re-established momentum. The visitors’ second go-ahead goal, on a quick rush following the third-period puck drop, proved to be an outlier as the peewees carried play for the rest of the period.
“We kind of fell asleep for awhile,” said Heller. “We had a couple of those lulls, which are a concern. But the kids woke up and got it going again, so that was good to see.”
Kenton Browne knotted the score at 2 off assists from Jake Heller and Pineda, and the Eagles kept up the pressure until Walkus came through with the game-winner.
Saturday’s Division 3 league game was a mirror image of Sunday’s rematch, with the Eagles taking leads of 1-0 and 2-1 before Oceanside first tied, then won, the game.
Pineda opened scoring off an assist from Browne in the opening minutes of the second period. After the Generals tied it, Browne made it 2-1 with assists from Clayton McDonald and Nathan ‘Bean’ Sandeman at 6:56 of the period. All five goals were scored in the second period.
Peewees split road trip
One week earlier, Taylor Ranger and Browne scored as the Eagles won a tight, 2-1 decision at Peninsula in league play. Jake Heller, in his first weekend back after missing five weeks with a broken arm, assisted on both goals.
That win gave the peewees a split of their weekend road swing down-Island following a 5-2 loss at Sooke. Pineda and Browne scored in that loss, with each skater assisting on the other’s goal.