The Panago Midget Tyees have been playing, and winning, with the big tier one teams of the Island, and until recently, were leading their league.
That ‘s changed following a hastily arranged make-up road trip that saw them face off against rival Juan De Fuca in Victoria.
The trip marked the start of a four game skid. Facing final cuts and line-up decisions leading up to the Dec. 1 roster freeze, the team dealt with emotional tension, travel and injury and now face the kind of adversity that will make or break the team.
The late November road trip from hell featured lost luggage, traveller’s flu, stolen passports, random security searches and GPS nightmares. Actually, they didn’t get lost, they just lost. On Saturday, Nov. 29 the Tyees lost badly to the Grizzlies, and then lost to Comox 4-2 on Sunday. Nervous and tight, they faced the winless Nanaimo Clippers on Dec. 5 at home.
Nanaimo is winless no more.
The Tyees gave up open shots from the point all weekend and Nanaimo won by a final score of 5-4. Sunday at Rod Brind’Amour Arena the Tyees hosted the Saanich Braves. Reeling from three consecutive losses, and captain Tyson Goebel barely able to skate, the Tyees started Nic Kirshner in goal while Gage Crawford moved up to play with Travis Goodwin and Jake McKenzie.
The move provided early dividends, but as the game wore on and with Goebel falling awkwardly and ultimately unable to continue, the Tyees seemed to lose their finish.
With the Tyees going one-for-seven on the power play and the Braves going two-for-five, the game was decided by special teams, and the Braves had a late empty-netter to win 5-2. Confidence is a fragile thing, and they need to find that luggage. The final league game before Christmas has the Comox Chiefs hosting the Tyees on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.