PORT ALICE — Riding high after two periods of play, the North Island Eagles peewee hockey team was left riding home for the season after suffering a 4-3 loss to Campbell River Saturday in the Vancouver Island Tier 3 playoffs at the Port Alice arena.
Matthew Cahill’s second goal of the game, on a deke-and-backhand following a rush through most of the Tyees team, gave the Eagles a 3-0 lead in the closing seconds of the second period.
But in a scene reminiscent of Russia’s comeback over the Canadian Junior National club in the recent World Junior Championships, Campbell River stormed from behind with four unanswered goals in the third period to secure the win and end the Eagles’ playoff run with an 0-2 postseason record.
“They started pushing their way back, and the momentum swung,” peewees coach Dan Wilson said. “When we stopped, they kept on going.”
The loss capped a rough week for the peewee program. The previous Saturday, assistant coach Brian Heller suffered a heart attack on the trip to Kerry Park. After the team lost 8-2 to the Islanders, Heller remained in Victoria for an angioplasty operation and insertion of a arterial stent.
Heller attended Saturday’s game in Port Alice and said he is on the road to recovery, though he still gets fatigued easily.
After a scoreless first period, Matt Lingl put the Eagles on the scoreboard with a goal off assists from Tyler Sexton and Sean Pineda. After the mid-game ice cleaning, Cahill made it 2-0 with a forehand from the slot at 15:36 of the second. Both of Cahill’s scores were assisted by Alex Scott.
The peewees will return to the practice ice, and have a tournament appearance scheduled for March in Coquitlam. In the meantime, the club will try to line up some exhibition games to keep in competitive form.
“We had some kids play a good game (Saturday),” Wilson said. “It’s good to see them learning and picking up the things we’ve been teaching them.”