The No. 1 Auto Body Bantam Tyees had a busy weekend as they played two league games and one exhibition game in less than 48 hours.
Friday night they hosted the Comox Chiefs in an exhibition tilt. It was a chance for affiliates Ethan Fox, Tyson Dumont, Travis Goodwin and Jake McKenzie to get some ice time with the Tier 1 team.
The Tyees got the game’s first goal, the result of some nice passing between Grady McInnes and Goodwin, setting up Domenic Kolbeins. Campbell River had many more scoring opportunities but were thwarted by the Comox goalie.
But continued pressure paid off when McInnes set up Kolbeins with a creative slap pass for a tap in. Comox scored their first goal when a turnover in the Tyees end was capitalized on. Kolbeins restored the two goal lead when he scored on a two-on-one rush.
The Tyees had many power play opportunities in the third period but failed to score. Although the Tyees outshot the visitors 46-13, goaltender Nick Kirchner made some key saves when needed en route to a 3-1 win.
Less than 24 hours later, the Chiefs and Tyees played a rematch in Courtenay with much of the same results.
The Chiefs came out quickly on Saturday and grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first four minutes but it wasn’t enough to stop the Tyees. Comox was playing an aggressive game but found themselves taking many penalties which Campbell River quickly took advantage of.
The Tyees first goal was a James Severs power play goal that was soon matched by Goodwin banging in a rebound to tie the game. McInnes powered his way down the wing and set up a great short handed goal by Gavin Rauser that gave the Tyees their first lead. The Tyees kept on rolling when Severs scored his second power play goal with a slap shot from the blue line with a two man advantage. Goodwin deftly deflected a shot from the point for his second goal to put the Tyees up by three goals.
Comox managed to score a power play goal of their own but any chance of a come back was stymied when a determined Goodwin completed his hat trick into an empty net to seal a 6-3 victory for the Tyees.
Sunday morning the bantams hosted the Powell River Kings in their final league game of the year.
The Kings scored the game’s first goal as a result of strong forechecking that caused a Tyee turnover. McInnes scored the next two goals to give the Tyees a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish.
Final score was a convincing 9-3 victory that capped off a perfect weekend for the Tyees and has them going into the playoffs with plenty of confidence and momentum. Leading the way for the hometown crew were Kolbeins and McInnes who each had hat tricks with line mate Rauser adding four assists. Severs, Mitchell Stapley and Brayden McCartney chipped in with singles.
Head coach Peter Apostolakos had set a goal of three wins for the weekend and was obviously pleased with the results. All three lines were playing well and both goalies Nathan Hoff and Kirchner had solid games in net. The depleted defence welcomed back rugged Devyn Grant from injury.
The Tyees finished third behind Nanaimo and second place Juan de Fuca. The playoffs are set to start first weekend of February with the schedule not finalized yet.