North Island Eagles peewee Jake Heller dives to chip away the puck during his team's game against Alberni Valley Saturday at Chilton Regional Arena in Port McNeill.

Peewees win at home, fall on road

PORT McNEILL - Eagles post 2-1 win over Alberni Valley Saturday before traveling to Comox and falling to Chiefs in VIHL placement game

PORT McNEILL — Even before playing its first game, the North Island Eagles peewee rep team had its share of ups and downs.

Last weekend, the Eagles had another of each.

On Saturday, the peewees rode the goaltending of Nyck Ruel and a tiebreaking goal by Josh Walkus to a 2-1 win over Alberni Valley at Chilton Regional Arena. On Sunday, the squad traveled to Comox where it suffered a penalty-plagued, 9-2 loss and also saw one of its few returning veterans, Jake Heller, lost in the third period to an arm injury.

A few weeks earlier, the peewees were faced with the possibility of scrapping the season due to a shortage of players. The program got commitments from enough players to enter the Vancouver Island Hockey League’s placement round with the idea of reviewing its viability following those five games.

Entering the weekend, it seemed the Eagles were ready to commit for the season.

“The kids decided they want to play,” coach Brian Heller said after Saturday’s comeback win over Alberni Valley. “The program’s a go.”

If the early results are any indication, they squad’s defence and goaltending will keep them competitive. The peewees split their two opening games on the road, allowed only two goals in each game.

On Saturday, Ruel was touched for a score in the first two minutes of play, but kept Alberni off the board the rest of the way as his mates commenced their comeback.

Kenton Browne got the Eagles even, converting off an assist from Tyrell Davidson late in the first period.

Walkus came through with the game-winner on a pretty individual play midway through the second. He carried the puck in along the right wing, crossed in front of the goal and deked before lifting a backhand top shelf.

Ruel, Browne and Davidson are among the few returnees, along with Jake Heller and Sean Pineda, on a team made up mostly of first-year rep players. Some of the newcomers are second-year peewees making the move from house play; others are stepping up from the atom house level.

The Eagles program has not fielded an atom development team for three years.

“You can see how quickly these kids are picking up the intensity, and they’re coming together well as a team,” Brian Heller said. “There are rough spots, of course, but I’m pleased with what I’ve seen so far.”

The first-year players agreed they like playing the rep game.

“It’s a lot faster and a lot harder,” said Brandon Tobin of Port Hardy. “It’s a lot funner.”

And it has its intangible benefits as well.

“You have more contact, and it’s way more serious,” said Tim Alfred of Port Hardy, who then reached up to adjust the knot on his tie. “Also, I like dressing up.”

 

Just Posted

Second annual Port McNeill & District Chamber of Commerce golf tournament

Golf Holes #2 and #6 are Hole-in-One opportunities, each with a cash prize of $25,000!

No taxes paid by Neucel, Doug Bondue Arena in Port Alice closes

“Neucel owes us a million dollars and it’s pretty hard to stay status quo when you’re short a million.”

Dragonboat society requests new location for 80 square foot storage shed in McNeill

“Part of my concern for using lot B is that it could become a parking lot for them…”

Klatt a force on the field – helps Bantam A Tyee’s win provincials

David Klatt played in every game last weekend down in Nanaimo.

Port McNeill releases in-depth Beach Drive landslide report

“It’s very positive,” said the town’s Public Works Foreman Julian Allen.

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

Hedley frontman’s alleged sex offences case returns to court

Jacob Hoggard faces three sexual assault-related charges will return to a Toronto courtroom this morning.

Climate change likely to cause more sewage leaks, says environment minister

More than one hundred municipal wastewater systems did not report how much raw sewage overflowed from their pipes in 2017.

Priests molested 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, report says

The “real number” of abused children and abusive priests might be higher since some secret church records were lost and some victims never came forward.

Defiant as Trump rages, Omarosa says she won’t be silenced

Manigault Newman declared she will not be silenced by President Donald Trump, remaining defiant as her public feud with her former boss shifted from a war of words to a possible legal battle.

Death toll hits 39 in Italy bridge collapse; blame begins

The collapse of the Morandi Bridge sent dozens of cars and three trucks plunging as much as 45 metres (150 feet) to the ground Tuesday.

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

Most Read