The Campbell River No. 1 Autobody Bantam A Tyees hosted the Nanaimo Clippers last Friday in a hard-hitting, rough and tumble match.
The game was a real test for the Tyees on a physical and psychological level as Nanaimo has been playing by “modified Hudson Bay rules” to some extent.
The game started with Nanaimo trying to finish their checks and then some.
The Clippers took a penalty early in the game and were able to score a short-handed goal on Tyee goalie Dominik Bellefleur by utilizing their speed on a partial breakaway.
Both teams were battling for the puck and not shying away from contact. The first period ended 1-0 for Nanaimo.
The Tyees, though, were not going to be intimidated. Their forechecking, combined with Nanaimo’s penchant for penalties, put the Clippers two men down.
The Tyees used the open-ice and moved the puck well.
Tyee Josh Coblenz delivered it to Brendan Hoff who put a howitzer on net. Sage Lim grabbed the rebound and scored a power-play goal to tie the game. The Tyees then took the lead as Olivia Knowles scored from the point.
Nanaimo scored a power-play goal to tie the score then took the lead as they enjoyed a two man advantage just prior to the mid-game ice cleaning.
Clean ice suits the Tyees well as they used it to generate pressure on Nanaimo. That resulted in another two man advantage during which Coblenz wired the puck into the back of the net.
Tyler Dickson was rewarded for his efforts in front of the net as he re-established the Tyee lead.
The Tyees led 4-3 at the end of the second. Volunteers heard the Nanaimo coaches inform their players that if they lost to the Tyee tabby-cats, they wouldn’t have any pucks at their practice the following day.
This motivated the Clippers and they tried to return to the physical play they used earlier. The Clippers were able to convert a short-handed counter-attack to tie the score at 4-4.
Nanaimo sensed that they had the Tyees right where they wanted them. Unfortunately for them, they awakened the beast when they hooted and hollered after Hoff was caught by a body-check in open ice.
Rather than plead to the referees for a call, Hoff circled back into the Tyee zone to follow the puck and received a pass from Dawson Frank and seemingly became a man on a mission. He broke into the Nanaimo zone with speed and tried to split the defence, taking the puck to the net. He got a good shot away but it was denied by the goalie.
Coblenz saw the play develop and was Johnny-on-the-spot to bury the rebound to put the Tyees back into the lead, 5-4 with about two minutes left in the game. Final score 5-4 for the Tyees.
Sunday had the rejuvenated Tyees travelling to Bear Mountain Arena for a game against the Juan de Fuca Grizzlies. Though the Tyees outplayed the Grizzlies, JDF won the game 4-1 with the Tyee goal going to Coblenz.
The Bantam A Tyees travel to Nanaimo today to meet the Clippers and return home to host Victoria Racquet Club on Saturday at Rod Brind’Amour Arena at 4:30 p.m.