Ravens get playdown preview

The teams started the game at a brisk pace and kept it up-tempo throughout

The Campbell River Windsor Plywood Midget A2 Ravens played three games last weekend, beginning with a road trip to the Harbour City to play Nanaimo A2 on Saturday.

This match-up of the only A2 Island teams promised to provide foreshadowing of the upcoming playdowns. Nolan Fair returned to the Ravens line-up, coming off of a very speedy recovery from a broken ankle.

The teams started the game at a brisk pace and kept it up-tempo throughout. Despite good team defence, Nanaimo grabbed the early lead on two even-strength goals.

While short-handed, Mason Osterhout-Code grabbed loose ball and fired a pass to Ross Rickman.  Rickman made a great catch before burying the ball in the back of the net to get the Ravens on the scoreboard.  Later, the Ravens went onto the power-play.

Zach Lontayao fed a crisp pass to Nolan as he cut out from the corner and he ripped his first goal after his return from the DL to tie the score at 2.  Back on the penalty kill, Matt Leard intercepted a Nanaimo pass and sprung Zach on a breakaway.  He let the defender take himself out of the play before cutting back and putting the ball into the back of the onion back; 3-2 for the Ravens.

Nanaimo tied it but the Ravens PK went back to work as Zach sprang Nolan who went behind his back for the shot into the top corner to put the Ravens ahead 4-3 at the end of the first period.  Ravens goalie Will McLean made a couple of great saves including a goalie’s worse nightmare when he went to play a loose ball that came into the defensive zone.  As McLean went to play the ball in the corner, it hit the dasher and came directly to the front of the empty Raven net.  McLean  scrambled back and dove as the Nanaimo forechecker tried to scoop and shoot; no goal.  McLean made another save off of a Nanaimo breakaway then Osterhout-Code found Reilly Doney open at the Nanaimo goal and he rippled the twine; 5-3.

While defending against two Nanaimo players, Bryce Turko suffered a dislocated kneecap. Many local sports teams, including these Ravens, are very grateful to have parents who are paramedics, nurses and doctors. A father who’s also a physician attended Turko while he was on the floor and did his best to provide immediate care.  Turko has been a force on the floor all season.  He handled the excruciating pain far better than most adults would have given similar situation.  Turko will be on the DL the balance of this season.  Everyone wishes him a speedy and complete recovery.

In light of his injury, it’s almost immaterial that the second period ended with score 5-3 Ravens. The injury seemed to deflate the Ravens in the third period or maybe it was the lack of a key presence on the floor.  Regardless, Nanaimo regained the lead with one short-handed goal that came after a one-on-two attack plus two even-strength goals.

Back on offence, Jordan Pentney went around a pick, kept the ball then  wired a hard pass to Leard who made a great catch then did a bit of a shake-and-bake before turning the red light on and tying the score at 6. The buzzer sounded and while the Ravens were happy to earn a tie against their playoff opponent, they were very subdued in light of Turkos injury. The Ravens suffered another injury that affected their double-header against Cowichan Valley (CV) A1 team on Sun June 21 as Lontayao was unable to play in either game.

Call-ups Kayden Dion and goalie Kaleb Vivier were brought onto the roster and pressed into action.  CV opened the scoring as the Ravens left Main Street unattended but Luke Lund found Osterhout-Code  as he came out of the corner and got him the ball.  Osterhout-Code  caught and shot a howitzer past the CV goalie to tie the score at 1.

Fair ripped a shot from outside the house to make it 2-1 Ravens at the end of the first period.  CV scored three to take the lead 4-2 before the Ravens got an even-strength goal to close the gap.  While on the attack, Liam Rivett heard Dion call for the ball as he was cutting through the house and made a crisp pass.  Kayden executed the catch-and-shoot to perfection as he wired it past the CV goalie to tie the score at 4.  CV would add a power-play goal to win the game 5-4.  The score would have been much higher if Kaleb hadn’t made some great saves to deny the CV shooters.

The second game of the double-header had McLean starting in goal but Mason joined Zach and Bryce on the DL for this one.

CV took an early 2-0 lead before Fair cracked the goose-egg making it 2-1 at the end of the first period.  On the power-play in the second period, Fair passed the ball to Reilly Doney who moved it on to Cam Hunter. Hunter used a defender for a screen-shot and put the biscuit in the basket to tie the score at 2.

CV kept their foot on the gas and the Ravens tried their best to keep pace but CV was relentless in springing odd-man attacks. The score was 5-2 when Vivier went in to relieve McLean about half-way through the second period.  While on the PK, Andy Hunt made a tremendous play by taking the ball into the CV zone, keeping control of the ball and running out the 30 second shot clock.

CV put one more on the board to lead 6-2 at the end of the second period.  The third period had a somewhat surreal feeling  for various reasons.  As an example, a Raven chinstrap was knocked off by a CV high stick resulting in an illegal equipment call on the Raven player.  CV scored on that power-play then added three more even-strength goals to make the final score 10-2.