The Tri-Port Midget Wild’s two-game series against the Oceanside Icebreakers to open the 2018-2019 season was quite the battle, with both teams not wanting to budge an inch.
The first game of the series was held Oct. 27 at the Chilton Regional Arena in Port McNeill at 2:15 p.m., and the Wild definitely came out a little flat footed in the first period.
The Icebreakers would capitalize on this, taking numerous shots on net, but the Wild’s goaltender Avary Miller stood her ground and managed to keep things scoreless at the end of the first period.
In the second, the Wild woke up. They came out aggressive and started to dominate the puck possession, but somehow weren’t able to find the back of the net.
The Icebreakers would end up converting at 10:01 off a hard wrist shot from the slot by Jordyn Bleaney. Less than a minute later, the Icebreakers would score again. Alicia O’Connell came in on a fast break down the side of the ice and roofed the puck top shelf over Miller to make it 2-0.
The Wild knew they had dug themselves a bit of a hole, but they refused to lay down and quit. They battled back late in the third period, with Mandy Foldy picking up the trash and scoring off a rebound shot from captain Taylor Ranger at 5:54.
With 14 seconds left on the clock, the Wild pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker, but ultimately weren’t able to capitalize before time ran out, and the Icebreakers skated away with the narrow 2-1 victory.
The rematch on Sunday morning in Port Hardy turned out to be quite the rough and tumble affair, with lots of penalty minutes, highlight reel goals at each end of the ice, and even a good old fashioned hockey brawl.
The Wild got out to a faster start this time, but once again, the game remained tied 0-0 going into the second period.
After back and forth chances at each end of the ice to start off the period, Ranger would end up getting ejected from the game due to a questionable bodychecking penalty.
Despite being down a player for five minutes, Bree-Anna Henderson still managed to skate around three players and flip the puck past the Icebreakers’ goaltender Syvanna McNichol to make it 1-0 for the Wild.
Into the third period the game went, and did the Icebreakers ever come out swinging right from the drop of the puck.
Regan Sanderson scored (assisted by Anna Montrose) at 19:28, and then Addison Battie converted at 18:52, courtesy of a nice feed from O’Connell, to all of a sudden make it 2-1 for the Icebreakers.
That was when a brawl broke out between Sonja Walkus and O’Connell near the Icebreakers net, which saw both players getting some punches in before the refs managed to break it up.
After penalties were dished out, Wild defencewoman Madison Van Will got the feed from Henderson and unleashed a massive slapshot from the point past McNichol to tie it back up, and then less than five minutes later Foldy carried the puck in deep and went for a wraparound, almost jamming the puck in herself, but Kaitlyn Wilson pounced on the rebound and stuffed it home to give the Wild the lead back.
With time ticking down, the Icebreakers started to get desperate. Tegan Jeffrey got the pass from Bleaney, skated in, took a shot, and then banged the rebound home to tie it up 3-3.
Foldy had one last chance on a breakaway to steal the win back for the Wild, but McNichol stood tall and bailed the Icebreakers out with a beautiful glove save, and that’s how the game came to an end.
All told, the Icebreakers are poised to be quite the formidable team this season, and the Wild will look to rebound in their next game Nov. 17 against the Juan De Fuca Grizzlies.