Our local teams more than held their own against teams from all over the Island and Lower Mainland last weekend as Campbell River Minor Hockey hosted its annual Atom Development Tournament.
The tournament featured an interesting round robin format, where the winner of each game received four points, a tie netted two points and a “Princess Point” was awarded for each game in which a team took less than 10 minutes in penalties.
After that round was complete, both Campbell River squads found themselves in the medal round. The Tyee A team managed to take home the bronze medal and the Tyee B team made it all the way through to the gold medal game, facing off against the North Shore Winter Club (NSWC) – a team they had met two days earlier in the round robin, with NSWC taking the first matchup in a hard-fought 5-4 win.
Monday’s gold medal final was just as riveting for the fans, though not as close on the scoreboard.
The first period was a puck-possession battle, with both teams playing excellent defence. Neither team could manage to gain a foothold and both goaltenders deftly answered the call when tested.
That continued throughout most of the second period, as well, until NSWC’s Adam Burr managed to find the cage behind Tyees goaltender Geordyn Mclean with just under seven minutes remaining in the period. That seemed to put the Tyees on their back foot momentarily and NSWC would add a second just under two minutes later.
The Tyees regained their composure after the second goal and began to put the pressure on. An unfortunate bounce late in the period, however, would be a huge blow.
With under a minute remaining in the period, the Tyees would start a line change just as the play moved toward their bench. The puck got caught up in the changing players, and one of them shuffled it out of the way, resulting in a Too Many Men penalty. NSWC would take advantage of the extra player and add a third goal before the end of the frame, sending the teams to the intermission at a score of 3-0.
Ethan Hill would manage to get one back for the tyees less than a minute into the third period, sparking the team’s energy, and Mclean made a series of great saves to keep his team in the game, but despite his efforts, the NSWC was just too fast and too skilled, peppering the young goaltender with scoring chances. They would find the back of the net again half way through the period to put the locals down 4-1, sucking the energy out of the room.
The Tyees didn’t give up, however, and Carter Sitko would add another goal for the Tyees after a scramble in front of the NSWC net with 7:33 remaining, but that was as close as they would get. NSWC would add a fifth goal with under two minutes remaining to put the game away and claim the gold.
Overall, it was an impressive showing by both Campbell River squads over a fun-filled three-day weekend of hockey at Strathcona Gardens.