The Saratoga Ventures Junior B Ravens made a strong statement in the battle for the north division as they hosted the Cowichan Valley Thunder on Sunday.
The Thunder came into town with a five-point lead on the Ravens but Campbell River drew first blood as Tyson Fair netted his first of the day in the opening minute. Fair’s second goal came with just under two minutes remaining in the opening period and sent the teams to the break with two-two tie.
Goals by Braden Howes and Kris Hebert restored a one goal lead half way through the second but then the Thunder took over and finished the period with a seven-four lead.
The third period has not been the Ravens’ strongest this season. A roster shortened with injuries and suspensions have left the Ravens with empty tanks in the final frame. This time, with a full bench and the return of key players like Hebert the ravens took to the floor in third with an extra bounce in their step. Seven minutes in Howes scored his second of the day followed closely by Tyler Clark’s first and Fair’s third to tie the game at seven. The rough and chippy game would stay tied until Mac Maier would be reward for his strong effort with the game-winning goal at 18:25.
In a move reminiscent of a play-off atmosphere, Cowichan called for a measurement of goalie Logan Down’s equipment with 28 seconds remaining. The Thunder had just received a minor penalty for asking for a timeout when they didn’t have any remaining. That meant that Campbell River would have been given the ball and could simply play keep away to finish the game. Cowichan risked putting a second man in the box but the gamble paid off as Down received a two minute minor and a 10-minute misconduct meaning he would need to be replaced in net by hockey goalie Tighearnan Marsh. This further meant that Cowichan would be awarded possession of the ball and by pulling their goalie had a 28-second 5-on-4 attack.
Marsh made a few saves and the defense were able to smother the Thunder along the boards as the final seconds ticked away. The win moved the Ravens to within three points of Cowichan.
The Ravens’ next game will be Saturday, June 9 in Cowichan for what promises to be a heated second half to the home-and-home series.
The next home game is Sunday, June 17 at 4 p.m. as Campbell River hosts Peninsula.