The REHN Enterprises Atom A Tyees opened up their tournament schedule in the Comox Valley over the Thanksgiving weekend, giving the team their first opportunity to test themselves against mainland talent.
They opened on Saturday against the host Comox Valley Chiefs and got things off to an excellent start.
Owen Lagos opened the scoring in the first period with a slap shot the Chief goalie couldn’t handle for a 1-0 lead. Breydan Riecker broke in from the wing soon after and scored to put the Tyees up by two.
Ethan Vaton got in on the action with a great pass from defenseman Ian Mills to put the Tyees firmly in control of the game. Vaton then streaked in, cutting across the front of the net and sliding it by the goalie for his second of the game, this one being a shorthanded marker, and scored yet again in the third getting himself the hat trick and well deserved game MVP honours in a 5-2 Tyee win.
Campbell River’s next game on Sunday morning was against the Langley Eagles.
Langley came out flying and Tyees goalie Emile Abele had to be hot from the start to keep it 0-0 after one period.
Langley opened the second with a goal and despite full speed efforts from Tyee wingers like Ryan Newton and Jordan Almer, the Eagles scored again to go up two goals.
The Tyees had more chances on the power play and defenseman Ryan Deagle kept the pressure on by keeping the puck in the Eagles zone with his stick and his glove.
Brady Estabrook cut to the front of the net and scored to get the Tyees within one goal in the third period but that’s as close as they could get despite doing a great job of keeping up with the fast paced play of Langley.
Abele got game MVP honors with several outstanding saves in net.
The Tyees’ second Sunday game was against West Vancouver’s Hollyburn team.
In another speedy game, Hollyburn scored first to go up early, but after some hard forechecking by Koehn Obuck, and a likely goal-saving back-check on a Hollyburn break-away by defenseman Ian Mills, forward Ryder Plecas drove hard to the net, with Almer right there to put in the rebound and tie the game.
In the second period with Hollyburn up 2-1, the Tyees had many chances, including a Plecas breakaway and a Lagos slap shot that knocked the stick right out of the goalie’s hand. Gareth MacDonald made some fine defensive plays against the very fast Hollyburn wingers and Ferrill made several key stops in net to keep it a one goal game.
However, a late goal gave Hollyburn the 3-1 win. Game MVP went to Lagos for a tremendous two-way effort.
In their Monday match-up, the Tyees faced the Cowichan Valley Capitals for the first time this year.
Hunter Smith came down the wing and opened the scoring 37 seconds in to give Campbell River an early lead.
Dayton Arneson made some great defensive plays both in front and behind his own net to keep the score 1-0 after one period.
Early in the second, the Capitals scored on the power play and then again a few seconds later to take the lead. The play was back and forth with goalie Abele making all the big stops to keep the Tyees in it.
Cowichan struck again with two more quick goals to go up by three, before Tyees Defenseman Wyatt Dumont rushed end to end catching the Capitals on a line change, getting off a great shot with Estabrook putting in the rebound and giving the Tyees life.
The Tyees couldn’t manage to come all the way back with the Capitals winning 4-2, but Dumont’s excellent effort all game earned him MVP honours.
Despite some tough losses, the Tyees benefitted greatly from the high level competition, while getting to know each on the ice, as well, all of which should pay dividends with league play starting and some big tournaments on the horizon.