The Sicamous Eagles bounced back from a tough loss against the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s Okanagan Conference-leading Kelowna Chiefs to break even for the weekend with a Saturday night home win.
The Eagles started the weekend off against the formidable Chiefs squad at the Rutland Arena. The rink was buzzing with almost 400 fans in the building for the Friday night game. The Eagles had hosted the Chiefs earlier this season on Sept. 14 but the game didn’t go their way despite home-ice advantage, ending in a 4-2 defeat.
After the opening puck drop the game quickly took a favourable turn for the Eagles. Twenty seconds in, Trevor Ebelling scored on Chiefs goaltender Michael Toole. The visiting Sicamous squad took their one-goal lead deep into the opening period; the Chiefs evened the score on a power play with 2:41 before the first intermission — the man advantage resulted from a goaltender interference call charged to the Eagles’ James Lalikeas. The teams went to the dressing rooms with the game tied at 1-1.
Down a man themselves due to a boarding penalty, the Chiefs gained the lead with a shorthanded goal from Myles Mattilla. The home team added to their tally with another goal in the final minutes of the middle period.
The Chiefs lit the lamp again four minutes into the third on another power-play goal, this one coming from Kayson Gallant. They scored a fifth goal less than two minutes later.
Tensions boiled over between the teams and the officials were busy for much of the rest of the game. The Eagles’ Tristan Walz was issued a non-fighting game misconduct shortly before the midway point of the period. A scuffle with eight minutes left to play saw misconduct penalties dealt to two players from each team.
When the final buzzer went off the score was 5-1 for the Chiefs.
The following night the Eagles were back on home ice and facing the Osoyoos Coyotes, who had the worst record in the KIJHL going into the game without a win in their 13 previous outings.
The Eagles scored first off the stick of Jaxon Danilec. The lead looked like it would hold through the first period, but the beleaguered Coyotes mustered a power-play marker with 14 seconds remaining in the period to tie the game.
The home team spent much of the middle frame down a man thanks to a variety of penalties. Koltin Dodge faced 22 shots in the middle frame and shut down each of the Coyotes’ power-play chances. With six minutes left in the period, Jakob McLean restored the lead for the Eagles.
The Coyotes bounced back, scoring with 1:18 left and then again only eight seconds later. With a burst of offence and a lead heading into the final period, the Coyotes’ first win of the season seemed possible.
After regrouping during the intermission, the Eagles came out and evened the score with 8:30 left to play. They followed up with Danilec’s second goal of the night just before the two-minute mark and then sent the Coyotes packing with an empty-netter in the final minute to make the score 5-3 Sicamous.
The Eagles have a little time to rest and recharge before making the short trip to Chase for a Tuesday night match-up with the Heat on Oct. 29.