PORT HARDY — Sometimes, a little discipline makes all the difference.
With five skaters on the ice for the bulk of the game, the North Island Eagles midget rep hockey team got a pair of goals from Robert Cahill and dominated play in a 3-2 Vancouver Island Hockey League win over visiting Sooke at Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena Sunday.
The game was a rematch of a very different contest played between the same teams a day earlier, won 6-4 by Sooke when the Eagles took 42 minutes in penalties.
“Another couple of penalties, and I was looking at a suspension,” midget coach Rob Brittain said of Saturday’s loss. “Our discipline (Sunday) was much better, and we had way better passing, too. It was a good game.”
Stevyn Ruel picked up Sunday’s game with some strong moments in goal, but he faced much less action than opposing goalie Nick Dueck, who was peppered on a regular basis by the Eagles attackers.
Eric Kennelly put the Eagles up 1-0 with an unassisted goal midway through the opening period, and Cahill made it 2-0 by converting an assist from Chad Bell late in the period.
The game settled into a defensive struggle the rest of the way, thanks to Dueck’s efforts in goal, and the visitors cut the lead to 2-1 midway through the second on Nick Pfeifer’s breakaway, power-play goal.
Cahill answered with his second score, the game-winner, on a rebound of Ethan Shaw’s attempt, at 6:29 of the second. It proved important when Sooke scored on another power play at 8:56 of the period.
The third period was scoreless, but Sooke had few opportunities at a tying goal as the Eagles maintained control of the puck and kept Dueck and his defenders busy at their end of the ice.
“We changed up some lines out there, and it worked pretty well,” Brittain said.
On Saturday, the teams were tied 3-3 through two periods when Sooke jumped out front with two unanswered goals by Tom Kirk in the last 7:30 of regulation.
Ty Brittain drew the Eagles within 5-4 off a Bell assist with 1:51 remaining, but after goalie Troy Cadwell was pulled the Thunderbirds iced it with an empty-netter with 40 seconds remaining.
Kennelly had a goal and two assists for the Eagles, with Cahill and Shaw each adding scores and Shaw contributing an assist.
The midgets next play at home on Nov. 19 when they host Kerry Park at 2:30 p.m. in Port Alice.