The KLP Construction Bantam A Tyees returned to action this past weekend at Strathcona Gardens.
The Victoria Racquet Club (VRC) Kings provided the competition for Saturday’s game. The Kings continue to impress, as they remain unbeaten in Vancouver Island Division 1 play.
The Tyees were highly motivated to see that streak come to an end in front of their home fans. The speed and skill of these two teams was clearly evident. The first period was a wonderfully entertaining and a pure demonstration of high-level bantam hockey. Although the Tyees carried much play, the Kings were the only team able to find the net.
The game continued 1-0, until the end of the second when the Kings were the recipients of what is known as puck luck. Tyees Goalie Antoine Minfray made a nice save on a hard shot, only to see the puck bounce up and over his head and fall softly into the net – 2-0 Kings
The VRC team tends to dominate third periods, their speed and relentless fore checking style, wears their opponents down.
History would repeat it self on this day. The Kings took control and if not for the stellar performance between the pipes for Minfray, the score could have been much worse. The final score was 5-0 for the Kings. Tyees Defenseman Bryce Narhi had a strong game, moving the puck quickly, and for a first year player, has quickly embraced the physical side of the game.
Game #2 of the weekend would see the Juan De Fuca Grizzlies make the trip north to Rod Bind’Amour Arena. The two teams had split their two previous meeting this year, setting the stage for an important rubber match.
The Grizzlies were clearly motivated to start the game, as they pressured the home squad in all three zones. The speedy Tyees were frustrated by the lack of room to skate and make plays.
Although Tyee forward Kaden Barnes was able to create some space for himself as he dangled the puck in front of two Grizzlies defenders, the defenseman fell for the old “toe drag” move, leaving himself alone in front of the net, he then picked the bottom corner, giving the Tyees the lead.
While on a power play in the third period, the Grizzlies were able to tie the game, beating Matt Johnson with a perfect cross crease pass for a tap in.
The teams traded chances in the third, both hungry for the win. The JDF goaltender stood tall as he thwarted tyee forwards again and again, as the boys pushed to break the tie.
The fans in attendance were on the edge of their seats late in the game, as the Grizzlies had not one but two, 2-0 breakaways to secure the win.
Apparently Matt Johnson had alternate plans, as he stopped both point blank opportunities to preserve the tie. Kaden Barnes was a standout for the Tyees, his soft hands and good vision make him dangerous every time he steps on the ice. The boys will be on the road again next weekend, when they visit the Comox Chiefs.