It’s been quite the hot start for the North Island Peewee Eagles.
After posting an average 2-3 record in preseason tiering, scoring 17 goals for and 19 goals against, the Eagles qualified for VIAHA’s Tier 3 division this season, and they’ve been on fire ever since.
The Eagles handily won their first two league games on the road (6-2 over Sooke and 3-1 over Cowichan Valley) before travelling back home for a two-game series on the weekend against the Oceanside Generals at the Chilton Regional Arena in Port McNeill.
While the Eagles came out flying on Saturday, the Generals were more than ready for them and it was a back and forth war between two tough teams.
It was the Eagles who got out to an early lead at 13:52 thanks to Captain Rylan Krawietz putting the puck in the net (assists went to Kyle Rushton and Carter Henschke).
The Eagles continued to score from there, as Maddox Peterson fired the puck home at 7:37 (assists going to Travyn Foster and Yuri Noel) and then Foster found the back of the net at 7:23 (assist going to Noel) to make it 3-0.
The Generals would dig in deep from that point and worked hard to make a game of it. Braeyan Newans scored at 4:42, and then Evan Bonthuis scored at 16:32 of the second period (assisted by Peyton O’Connell and Newans) to bring them within one of tying the game.
The Eagles, however, would answer back at 9:10 thanks to Peterson getting the feed from Maddy Jorgenson and Bella Stewart and then shooting the puck home to make it 4-2.
The Generals converted at 2:38 from Newans (assisted by O’Connell and Maddox Yochim) to make it 4-3, and then managed to score one more with 11 seconds on the clock thanks Jakob Churchill that tied the game 4-4.
Both teams were looking to score the game-winning goal early on in the third period, but it was Tanner Livingston who played the role of the hero by scoring at 18:32 (assisted by Henschke and Rushton) to give them back the lead.
Goaltender Matt Mercer shut the door from that point on, and the Eagles managed to hold on to take home a thrilling 5-4 win.
The rematch on Sunday wasn’t anywhere near as close as Saturday’s game.
The Eagles hammered the Generals with eight goals over three periods thanks to Henschke, Dakota Knighton x3, Jorgenson, Krawietz x2, and Foster. Assists went to Bryce Cote, Tyce Manke, Henschke x2, Noel, Peterson, and Jayce Cheetham (x2),
After the game, assistant coach Kevin Livingston said the coaching staff is “very pleased with how things have gone to start the regular season,” adding that “The kids have worked very hard throughout practices and have bought into the way we want them to play. Their hard work and dedication to our systems has led to their success.”
Livingston noted he thinks the Port Alberni Thanksgiving tournament was a big turning point for the team. “We played some tough competition and things turned around for us, winning the last game of the tournament.”
The coaching staff has also switched the lines up a bit.
“With the addition of Bella Stewart to our defence, it has made us even stronger,” stated Livingston. “Since then we have been out working the other teams and have been successful so far. We have a great nucleus of second year players that are leading this young team. The kids are making great strides in learning more every practice and game we play. There is still lots of hard work ahead of us to keep things rolling.”
The Eagles have the upcoming weekend off, but will be working towards two big games against the Victoria Admirals on Nov. 16 and 17 in Port McNeill.