PORT McNEILL — The North Island Eagles peewee hockey team is suddenly streaking, and it couldn’t come at a better time.
Matt Cahill scored a natural hat trick to erase an early 2-0 deficit and Brandon Purdey chipped in another hat trick as the Eagles blasted Saanich 10-4 at Chilton Arena. The win, which followed a 3-0 exhibition victory over the Braves Saturday in Port Alice, was the team’s second straight in Vancouver Island Hockey League Tier 3 play and comes two weeks before the start of the postseason playoffs.
“Some of the fundamentals we’ve been teaching them during the year are starting to click,” peewee coach Dan Wilson said. “It’s coming together.”
The peewees, made up largely of skaters in their first year of contact hockey, struggled mightily to begin the season. But the squad has won four of its last six games overall and three of its last four in league play to improve to 7-14, 3-6 with one game left in the regular season.
Cahill, a second-year peewee who has played several games for the Eagles bantams, finished with five goals in Sunday’s victory.
Purdey had three goals and an assist and Tyler Sexton and Sean Pineda added goals. Shae Simpson was the winning goalie.
The team had a scare when Matt Lingl went down on a hard hit from behind in the third period and lay motionless, face-down, on the ice. Wilson stayed on the ice with the player until paramedic came and transferred Lingl to a backboard for a trip to hospital.
Lingl did have feeling in his extremities.
“We think he’ll be fine,” Wilson said. “He was complaining of some pain in his back and neck, and we wanted to play it safe.”
Before his injury, Lingl contributed two assists to Sunday’s win. Alexander Stavrakov had four assists and Cameron Walkus, Kale White, Jake Heller and Pineda each had one.
Eagles 3, Braves 0
Nyck Ruel earned the shutout in goal and Kenton Browne had two goals as the peewees kicked off the weekend with the exhibition win in Port Alice.
Cahill assisted on goals by Browne and Sexton as the Eagles avenged a 5-4 loss to Saanich in the teams’ first meeting in early November.