The hometown Alberni Valley Bulldogs scored twice on the power play and rode a hot goaltender to a 3-2 upset victory Sunday afternoon over the No. 1 Auto Body Bantam ‘A’ Tyees.
It was first game of North Island Tier 2 playoffs for both teams.
Bulldogs’ netminder Ryan Price was nothing short of sensational, making a number of outstanding saves, especially during the first period when the Tyees held a wide edge in play.
“The longer you go without putting the puck in the net, the more frustrating it gets,” said Tyees head coach Peter Martin. “We are generally good at moving the puck around the front of the net but pretty soon guys were just trying to blast in through (Price) and looking off some passes that were there. He’s a big goalie and not an easy guy to put the puck through.”
Campbell River held a 1-0 lead after the first period on a goal by Josh Coblenz, but the Bulldogs rallied, scoring a pair midway through the second.
Sage Lim tied it with just over a minute to go in the middle frame, deflecting home Nick Klein-Beekman’s point shot.
The Tyees managed to kill off a five-minute major penalty early in the third but Alberni Valley got the game-winner with the man advantage with just over six minutes remaining.
“They played with a short bench and I think it would have really helped if you could have got up by a few early in the game,” said Martin. “But we didn’t and they played a very discipline, composed game. Their special teams were good and they were very opportunistic with their scoring chances.”
The Tyees now find themselves in a must-win situation. If they hope to advance to the Vancouver Island Tier 2 semi-finals, they must beat the Oceanside Generals.
Martin knows his team is up to the challenge, “The resolve and leadership of our team is going to be put to the test We need to refocus, have a good week of practice, and get ready for the next one.”
Game time is 12:30 p.m., Sunday at the Rod Brind’Amour Arena.