Sports

Bantam Tyees advance to do-or-die semi-final

Campbell River’s bantam Tyees will battle Juan de Fuca in one-game semi-final with the winner advancing to the Island Tier 2 rep hockey championship.

The two clubs are evenly matched. In November, the teams squared off twice in league play with Juan de Fuca winning the first game 4-3. Two weeks later the clubs played to a 1-1 draw.

Campbell River will host the semi-final game at Rod Brind’Amour Arena. Date and time to be announced.

On Saturday, the Booster Juice Bantam A Tyees made a clean-sweep of the North Island playoff round-robin with a 3-2 win over Power River Kings. The victory gave the Tyees a perfect 3-0 record in the round-robin.

Drew Price was in the Tyees’ line-up due to Nic Ordano’s injury. Price was immediately thrust into the thick of things as the Kings were flying at the start, putting pressure on the Tyees with their physical play.

On the first shift of the game, a Powell River forward made a nifty pass across the crease to an open winger who roofed the first shot on net up under the cross-bar.

Tyees’ goalie Dominik Bellefleur had no chance on the play and was soon called upon to make an outstanding save, slamming the pads together to close the five hole and to keep it a one-goal game.

Then, the Tyees defence started to give the Kings’ forecheckers a taste of their own medicine. Liam Rivett, Price, Bryce Turko, Olivia Knowles, Seth Parker and Doug Campbell made it clear to the Kings that they were not intimidated by the physical play and were able to dish it out too.

The intensity of the game remained high, but Campbell River was able to get on the scoreboard, going into the break for the ice clean down 1-0.

When play resumed, the Tyees’ offence got on track. Tyler Dickson head-manned the puck to Lukas Lund who got past a forward in the neutral zone and then fired a low, hard wrist-shot just as he crossed the blue line that beat the Kings goalie.

At the next face-off, the Tyees executed a classic dump-and-chase play.  Dickson sent the puck around the boards to Will McLean who fed it back to Lund just behind the Kings’ net.

Lund pulled it out quickly tucked it into the short side making it 2-1 for the Tyees.

In the third period, the Tyees kept their feet moving and were rewarded again on the forecheck as Rennie worked the puck to Matthew Leard and he passed it along to Jaxon Ward.

Ward went on a bit of a skate out of the corner then spun and put a low hard shot on goal from the top of the slot that eluded the Kings goalie for a 3-1 lead.

The Tyees pressed for another goal, but the Kings countered with one of their own to narrow the score to 3-2.

Typically it seems that “the next goal wins” in this type of game so the Tyees regained their focus on defence and kept the Kings from making three consecutive passes.

With the Kings net empty for the extra attacker, the Tyees did try to turn on the red light, but only earned a couple of face-offs in their defensive zone. The horn went and the 3-2 final result meant the Tyees swept the round-robin with three wins and first place in the North.

Head coach Scott Kratzmann liked what he saw at this game.

“We’re very proud of the way the players are rallying around and covering each other,” he said. “This group doesn’t really know yet how good they could be as long as they maintain their confidence and work together. It’s quite exciting to see how far they’ve come this season!”

 

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