PORT HARDY—The young North Island Eagles peewee squad displayed some lessons learned and just maybe displayed some promise for the near future, despite settling for a 9-4 loss to the Oceanside Generals in Division 4 hockey action Saturday at Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.
Putting aside the final score for a moment — some late defensive breakdowns allowed the visitors a trio of third-period goals to skew the scoreboard — the Eagles were very much in this game.
The first highlight came when the peewees, accustomed to playing from behind, got the first goal of the game from Benton Browne at 5:19 of the opening period.
Oceanside rallied to score two goals later in the period, then pushed its advantage to 4-1 with two more goals in the first half of the second period.
The big turnaround came after the Generals “scored” again — the goal was actually tipped in inadvertently by an Eagles defender — to wrap up the first half of play with a 5-1 lead.
The rally started shortly after the teams returned to the ice at 10:51 of the second period. Less than a minute-and-a-half later, Kaisha Laird took a clean crossing pass from Benton Browne and scored from the slot to make it 5-2.
The Generals answered at 15:51 to make it 6-2, but the Eagles’ Ethan Bono punched home a rebound of Mandy Foldy’s shot from his spot just off the post with 58 seconds left in the period, and Bono followed a neutral-zone steal with a pass to Laird for a 2-on-1, shorthanded goal early in the third that brought the peewees within 6-4.
Even though that ended the team’s scoring for the day, the squad continued to press the action into the Oceanside zone and avoided the chase-and-react play that characterized its early season games.
With the team made up largely of first-year players, the Eagles continue to give up size and experience, but some lineup tinkering by Conrad Browne and the coaching staff, and continued general improvement seem to be helping the team’s outlook.
Devin White, Tanner Roberts and Laird each added assists for the Eagles in the contest.