The North Island Midget Eagles are flying high in preparation for playoffs.
“We went to our Christmas tournament late December and performed well, coming home with a silver medal,” said coach Marty Gage, adding one of the highlights from that tournament was “beating the Parksville team in the round robin, who we have struggled with all year.” The Eagles went to a shootout in the semi-finals against Parksville and ended up winning, but then ran out of steam in the final.
“All in all, our performance at the three tournaments this year was very good,” Gage said, pointing out they won silver in Merrit, gold in Port Alberni, and silver in Comox.
After a 5-2 loss to the Tier 2 Campbell River Tyees Jan. 14 in Port Hardy, the Eagles headed down island for their last two league games of the season with redemption on their minds.
“We played Comox tier 1 on Saturday night, and they have had there way with us all year; beating us badly,” said Gage, who added the team came together and won the game 4-2.
Tanner Roberts scored a natural hat trick, and Clayton Bono notched their fourth and final goal at 13:46 of the third period. Assists went to Bono, Carson Strang (x2), Payton Laming (x2), David Charlie, Roberts, and Benton Browne.
Eagles’ goaltender Nigel Walkus was named the first star of the game, “and all 14 players contributed to a hard-fought win,” said Gage.
On Sunday, the Eagles squared off once again with Parksville, this time tying them 3-3.
“It feels like a victory because we were down 3-1 late in the third,” Gage said, noting the Eagles “scored on the power play to make it 3-2 late in the third, and then tied it up with our net empty.”
Goals came from Trent Beek with 1:32 left in the first period, and then Roberts and Bono both scored in the third to force the tie.
“Coaches feel positive, the team is well prepared in preparation for playoffs,” confirmed Gage, who added the Eagles will have two very tough opponents coming up in playoffs; Port Alberni and Powell River.
Port Alberni and Powell River are Tier 3 teams who played Tier 1 this year.
The Eagles will be facing off against Port Alberni in Port Hardy on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 1:15 p.m.
“Looking forward to the challenge,” added Gage.