The opening weekend of the Sicamous Eagles regular season brought mixed results to the team. The Eagles went into game one of their regular season versus the Princeton Posse riding the momentum of a convincing 4-2 victory over the Golden Rockets in their fourth and final exhibition game.
“We wanted to have a strong outing in our home opener against whoever we play, but to get the opportunity to do it against a former team was special,” said Eagles head coach Tyler Gunn, who cut his teeth as an assistant coach with the Posse.
The Eagles kicked off scoring with a goal from Trysten Brookman late in the first period. The Posse tied it up in the second period and, after a scoreless third, the game went into overtime. The overtime period consisted of back-and-forth play with both teams pressuring the opposing goaltender. Late in the period, Julian Fodor was fed a deftly-recovered rebound in the neutral zone (by Owen Spannier). The centre, playing his first game as an Eagle, outpaced two Princeton defenders on the breakaway and slipped a backhand shot through the five-hole at close range. The crowd jumped to their feet and roared as the 2019 Sicamous Eagles celebrated their first win.
The Eagles totalled 24 penalty minutes in the game — Gunn said his teams short-handed play was a major deciding factor in the victory. “I think our penalty kill was phenomenal. It really helped us stay in the game and get the opportunity to go to overtime,” he said.
Gunn praised the skills of goaltender Koltin Dodge who fended off a late game power play to force overtime.
The Eagles second game of the weekend, also played on home ice, was against the Kelowna Chiefs. The first period went scoreless as the Chiefs outshot the Eagles 10-4.
Eight minutes into the second frame, the Chiefs took advantage of a power play oppotunity to slip one by Cole Steinke in the Eagles net. A goal from Eagles forward Brandon Pelletier, assisted by Jason Herd, tied the game up one-all. The Chiefs regained their lead on another power play with four minutes remaining in the second.
The teams faced off to start the final period with the score 2-1 for Kelowna. With a Chiefs player serving out a two minute penalty for boarding, the Eagles got on the offensive and evened the score off the stick of James Lalikeas seconds into the power play. The Chiefs got back on the power play before the halfway point of the final period and regained their lead with a goal from Logan Keating.
The visitors held onto their lead and potted an empty net goal in the games final seconds to wrap up a 4-2 victory.
Gunn said the visitors power play proved lethal, but his team kept up with the Chiefs when things were five-on-five.
With a three game road trip coming up, Gunn said the Eagles will be practicing and getting the set lines more used to playing together. After facing the Spokane Braves, Beaver Valley Nitehawks and Nelson Leafs on the road, the Eagles will be back at home taking on the North Okanagan Knights on Sept. 27.