The Strathcona Midget Tyees played a pair of home playoff games this past weekend and, due to mixed results, will have an uphill grind on the road next weekend.
On Saturday, Campbell River got a boost with the return of Nick Ordano, injured in practise before the regular season even started, and Brendan Almer, who dislocated his shoulder while taking a hit to make a play early in the season.
Ordano stepped into a crowded forward group, with Seth Parker dressing as a very impressive centre iceman through a successful run of games, and Almer made an uneven five on the back line.
The Tyees had beaten their opponent from Parksville the week before, but unfortunately there seemed to be early chemistry issues before the Tyees gelled half-way through.
Even more problematically, while the defence was strong in their end, and the forwards pressed with possession in the attacking zone, the neutral zone was essentially the Twilight Zone for Campbell River.
The defence pinched too aggressively, the forwards were often trapped down low, and the speedy Oceanside squad was able to transition with speed, building up a 3-0 lead at the ice-clean. They benefitted from strong goaltending as well, with the Tyees struggling with puck-luck.
Campbell River came out strong in the second half, with Lukas Lund opening the scoring with a quick deceptive wrist shot from Liam Rivet and Doug Campbell. Then on the power-play, Rivet and Lund connected again, playing catch above the circle at the right point before Lund, reversing quickly into the middle of the ice, ripped a high wrist shot to the top corner of the net. The lightning fast Jaxon Ward tied the game minutes later, unassisted on his own rebound and it seemed like the Tyees would seal it with late pressure.
One final breakdown however, led to a 2-on-1 which Bryce Nahri played as well as it could be played, but speed kills and Oceanside won, 4-3.
Sunday’s game saw Comox visit the Rod for the first time this year, with very poor timing. A motivated Tyees group, with three lines, six defensemen, with Parker shifting back to defence, came out flying. Bryce Nahri had a monster game with four assists, Doug Campbell had three assists, Cole Devlin scored, tipping in a Nahri shot, and Ethan Mainprize finished a brilliant Owen Boyd pass for the last of 10 Tyee goals.
Garrett Lee also scored, Boyd had one of his own, and Seth Parker had a pair of assists. Jacob Hartley was flying, scoring twice, Boyd finished with a goal and three assists, Jaxon Ward scored again and Brendan Almer got on the board with an assist and a strong game on defence in his second game back.
Nick Ordano had an assist in his second game back, and had numerous chances to score. Timing will be everything for Ordano as well.
Lund finished with a hat-trick and two assists while Ben Regier was on the boards as well, boarded three times in the game. He was fantastic in battles along the wall.
The Tyees travel to Powell River next weekend and Nanaimo the following weekend, needing a pair of wins, and solid three zone play.