The No. 1 Auto Body Bantam ‘A’ Tyees got the test they were looking for at an elite AAA tournament hosted by the Kelowna Rockets over the weekend.
Campbell River came home with a 1-and-3 record and proved they can compete with some of the best teams in the province.
The Tyees won their opener, 5-2 over the Langley Eagles, thanks to a key short-handed marker by Kurtis Scriba and stellar goaltending by Nic Kirchner.
In their second contest the Black and Orange jumped to an early 2-0 lead on goals by Gavin Rauser and Rio Massee but failed the put the game away and lost 7-3 to the Kamloops Blazers.
Things didn’t get any easier for the locals as they faced the powerhouse Okanagan Hockey Academy in their final round-robin affair, one of the top-ranked teams in BC. OHA took control early, scoring five times in the first period enroute to a 9-1 victory.
“It might have been a different outcome overall if we had of seized our opportunities in game against Kamloops,” said Tyees head coach Peter Martin, “We had a lead and were the better team heading into the second period but didn’t capitalize on a five minute power play. That turned the momentum of the game and we couldn’t get it back.”
A win against Kamloops would have put the Tyees into the playoff round. Instead, they were relegated to the consolation round where they dominated the Northwest Stamps of Calgary but came out on the short-end of a 7-4 score. Grady McInnes tallied twice, with singles going to Devon Grant and Joe Gage.
Martin says he now has a clear picture of where his team needs to improve.
“We have to manage the puck better, we turned it over too much. And, we definitely need to communicate better. It’s important to let the puck carrier know what his choices are and that’s up to his teammates. If we’re not helping each other we’re going to make mistakes.”
The Tyees also learned over the weekend they have been seeded in Division 1 of the Vancouver Island Bantam League along with Nanaimo, Cowichan Valley, Port Alberni, Juan de Fuca, and the Victoria Racquet Club. The regular season schedule is expected to be released later this week.