Last Saturday Campbell River’s first place KLP Construction Bantam A Tyees faced off against the second place Peninsula Eagles from the South Island in a pivotal crossover playoff match.
Understanding that the losing team would have its strong season come to an unfortunate and crashing halt, both teams were determined to start strong.
Although the Eagles began the game with four power plays in the first 14 minutes of the game, outstanding penalty killing by the Tyees thwarted Peninsula from scoring the first goal, or possibly even more.
Once the Tyees began playing the game at full strength for longer stretches of time, River Fahey was able to score the game’s all-important first goal in the final minute of the first period.
Being outshot 19-8 in the first period by Campbell River, the Eagles came out firing pucks towards goaltender Jayce Hudak early in the second and were able to tie the game just four minutes in.
The teams traded some good chances, but neither team could capitalize on its opportunities until Grady Robertson deflected a point shot by Matthew Ubriaco while on the power play to give the Tyees a slim 2-1 lead after two even though the shots were more lopsided at 33-14 at the second intermission.
Though the Tyees dominated both territorially and on the shot clock, both teams felt the tension that stems from knowing they were just one bounce away from their elimination game, being tied in the third period.
As the Tyees continued playing more in the offensive zone, Jory Swanson scored a big goal on the big Peninsula goaltender early in the third period on a rap-around goal from behind the net that snuck just past the Peninsula goaltenders’ pad to give the Tyees their first two-goal lead of the game. Three minutes later, Noah Fladager and Logan Chapdelaine assisted Robertson’s second goal of the game to give the Tyees a three-goal cushion.
Peninsula was able to put one more puck past the strong play of Hudak with just under 12 minutes remaining, the Tyees proved to be the better team; outscoring Peninsula 4-2, and outshooting the Eagles by a count of 47-29 in the process. The Tyees now prepare to play a best of three series beginning this weekend at home against Powell River. The winner of this series will be off to the Provincials in Salmon Arm, which commences in the middle of March.