PORT ALICE—The visitors from the Peninsula rep hockey program saw it as one-sided officiating. The North Island Eagles chalked it up to disciplined behaviour on the ice.
Back-to-back power-play goals by Zach Cameron and Darryl Coon snapped a 1-1 tie and the Eagles midgets went on to a 4-2 victory Saturday in Vancouver Island Hockey League Division 3 play.
Peninsula was whistled for nine minor penalties to four for the hosts. But the resulting frustration also led to three, 10-minute misconduct calls and one four-minute double minor for a check to the head.
While the parade to the penalty box disrupted the flow of the game, particularly in the second period, it never knocked the Eagles off their game.
“Our team was very well-disciplined,” assistant coach D’arcy Deacon said. “We push hard for our kids to make smart choices, and today they did a good job. This could have come out a lot different.”
So could the score. The Eagles kept almost constant pressure on Peninsula goalie Chris Ferguson, putting 35 shots on net and another 20-plus that sailed just off the mark. Brett Walker had a potential goal waived off for being in the crease, and Riley Heemels sent a shot that caromed off the crossbar before sailing harmlessly away.
“You’ve got to give their goalie credit for playing well,” Deacon said. “But our team discipline was key. Not being in the (penalty) box was a huge factor.”
Despite the one-sidedness of the play, the North Island squad led just 3-2 until Heemels finally locked it up with an empty-net goal with 1:09 left.
Drake Baron picked up the win in net.
“Our first half was better than the second,” Eagles head coach Dan Slater said. “We slowed down a bit, but the guys held onto their lead and played strong at the end.”
Malcolm Browne got the Eagles on the board at 5:04 of the opening period blasting a slap shot from the point after Tyson Cadwallader’s centring pass from behind the net eluded everyone in the slot and landed instead on his stick.
Roshan Rikhi got Peninsula even just 30 seconds later with his own blast from the top of the circle, but Cameron and Coon gave the Eagles the lead for good later in the period as the hosts took advantage of their early power-play opportunities.