Hockey season is officially here and it’s time to get down to business.
With tiering right around the corner, the North Island Midget Eagles travelled down island last Saturday to face off against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in an exhibition game to kick off their 2019-2020 season.
Eagles’ forward Tristan Mardell opened the scoring early on with a slap shot that found the top corner, and then soon after Tyler Roper banged in a rebound at the side of the net to make it 2-0.
The Bulldogs replied with a screen shot from the point that managed to find a way through Eagles’ goaltender Griffin Handley’s pads, but Luke Gage answered right back with a backhand shot that went in to make it 3-1 at the end of the first period.
The Bulldogs kept coming with the pressure and scored once again to make it 3–2 at the ice clean. The Eagles switched goaltenders at that point, subbing in Avary Miller.
While Handley noted Miller “did her job and made some stops,” he also pointed out the team “quit skating and playing tough in front of our own net.”
The Bulldogs took advantage of this and ended up scoring five straight goals to win the game 7-3.
“The final wasn’t indicative of how Avary played, we win and lose as a team,” said Handley. “We have some guys who have been away from the game for a couple of years and it will take some time and hard work in practice to get back in a groove.”
He added he knows the Eagles can definitely compete with the Bulldogs, “but it takes 60 minutes. Joey Grant and Tristan Mardell have shown some real good chemistry early on and they will only get better. All in all, I’m pleased with some things and obviously we have some things to clean up, but they aren’t huge things. Hockey is, maybe more than any other sport, such an emotional roller coaster and once we learn to cope with that we will be fine.”