The Panago Midget Tyees faced off this past Saturday against the Juan de Fuca Grizzlies in a first place battle at the Rod.
The game went down to the wire, and was decided by the man-advantage.
The Tyees looked nervous to start the game, aware of the stakes and anxious to impress. Early puck possession was equal, and the main difference early on was the crisper Victoria passing and the dangerous Grizzlie power play. The game’s opening goal came, in fact, a minute after the Tyees took their first penalty. Juan de Fuca took a 2-0 lead moments later as the Tyees never got momentum back after the failed penalty kill. With the goal coming seconds seconds from the end of the first, it felt like a dagger.
Campbell River, however, did not quit. Through the second half of the game they pressured the puck well and got outstanding performances offensively from defensemen Matt Barker, with some great pinches, and the puck rushing Tyson Dumont. They peppered the Victoria net with shots, many of the quality variety, but were stymied by goalie Chase Anderson. Tyson Goebel finally broke through with nine minutes left in regulation, taking a one touch pass from Tyler Dickson at the blue line and breaking in on goal on a partial break. Goebel finished clinically, setting up a mad final push from Campbell River. With the home team gifted a 5 on 3 power play late in regulation a winning goal seemed inevitable: but it was not to be. Campbell River fell 2-1, feeling as if the game had ended just a bit too soon.
The Tyees were beaten by a hot goaltender, but learned that with inevitable improvement on a talented power-play they should be the better team come playoff time.