The Squamish Eagles Pee Wee Rep hockey club got plenty of opportunities to work on its penalty killing against the Aldergrove Bruins at Brennan Park Arena on Sunday (Jan. 12).
Much to the chagrin of head coach Michael Lindgren, the Eagles took eight minor penalties, but despite playing down a man for a significant portion of the game, the Eagles held on for the 4-3 win.
“It was a very close game,” Lindgren said. “I thought we played OK but the penalties really hurt us. We’ve been getting a lot of penalties lately and it’s become a bit of an issue for us.”
Lindgren said his team’s penalty killing units played well against Aldergrove, allowing only one goal.
“You get good at it after a while,” he joked.
He said the Eagles are a bigger team and teams with size tend to get more calls against them. He also pointed out that he has four players who played contact Pee Wee last year. Lindgren said the players have adapted to the new non-contact rules, but it’s still a learning process.
The Eagles got on the board just over a minute into the game when Steve Grantham opened the scoring. Carson Feser and Tucker Reed drew the assists on the game’s first goal. Squamish went up 2-0 when Logan Neufeld scored at 7:04, with Devon Bailey picking up the assist.
Squamish picked up some big saves from goaltender John Hunter to skate out of the first period with a 2-0 lead.
Aldergrove beat Hunter at 5:02 of the second period but Grantham scored again on the power play with just under four minutes to go to regain the two-goal lead. Jack Cormack and Jesse Kryzanowski drew the helpers. The two-goal lead was short-lived, though, as 56 seconds later Aldergrove scored on a delayed penalty call.
The Eagles got on the board three minutes into the third period when Feser scored after being set up by Jeremy Smith and Bailey. The third period saw the penalties cost the Eagles when Aldergrove scored on a two-man advantage to make it 4-3. Aldergrove pulled its goalie in the final minute but the Eagles held on for the 4-3 win.
Lindgren said after a so-so start, the Eagles have been rolling in the past few weeks. He said the team was around .500 before the holiday break but they’ve since won five of their past seven and also placed second at a tournament in Victoria from Jan. 5 to 7.
“We’ve been working a lot on puck movement and we want to be a puck-moving team,” he said. “Work ethic is never an issue with this team, it’s a great group of athletes and a good parental group too.”
The Pee Wee Eagles play at home every Sunday at 6 p.m. For more information on local minor hockey, visit www.squamishminorhockey.com.