Looking at how EBA Engineering (18-4-2) outshot Castle Rock (9-11-3) on Sunday, going 16-5 in the first, 12-5 in the second and 14-5 in the third, you’d think the game was a walkover for the bantam house league leaders. But that was not the case.
Like a pair of bookends, EBA had strong first and third periods, but were scoreless in the second as Castle Rock tied the game before losing 7-3 at the Canada Games Centre.
“Between the second and the third I talked a little bit with them, because when they stop their passing game they get burnt,” said EBA coach Tim Turner-Davis. “And the other thing was staying out of penalty trouble and we didn’t do that.”
Down 3-0 to start the third, Castle Rock got back into the game, tying it 3-3 on goals by Josh Harlow and Ryan Chippett. Castle Rock’s first goal, which came on the power play, resulted from a 2-on-1 rush, with Jarrett Malchow giving Harlow the cross-ice pass. Chippett tied the game on assists from Kaleb Millwater and Rory Gibson.
“He’s known for his skating and he’s got good hockey sense,” said Castlerock coach Jeff Hunston of Chippet. “He was in the right place to make some good plays.
“They started playing a little better, but later in the game they really relapsed into bad habits,” continued Hunston. “There was too much individual play: guys trying to skate through the entire opposition. It’s a team game – you’ll lose big time if you don’t play a team game.
“There were a lot of examples of them not back-checking. They had many opportunities where they had four of their players going in against two of our defence.”
“They sit back a little bit and get into trouble,” said Turner-Davis of his team’s second period play. “They were forgetting to play the game where they’re successful, which is passing and handling the puck. A lot of turnovers and they got back into the game.”
Getting EBA back on top were goals from Aaron Drake, Mike Arnold, Seamus Beavisto and Austin Turner-Davis. Putting EBA up in the first place were Jordan King, finding the back of the net on the first scoring opportunity of the game, followed by two from winger Daniel Bunn.
“Daniel doesn’t always get a lot of points, so it’s nice to see him do so well,” said Turner-Davis. “The scoring was definitely spread around; there were good distributions and contributions from all the players.
“They’re having a great season, this team.”
Currently EBA leads the league by a healthy margin with 38 points, up from second-place Kopper King with 23. Castle Rock is comfortably in third with 21 points, over the peewee Mustangs with 6.
For Turner-Davis, having four teams in the league indicates the removal of full-contact play has encouraged bantam age players to stick with the game.
“A few years back the bantam house league didn’t even have enough players for one team,” said Turner-Davis. “But now that body checking has been taken out – you can still rub out along the boards, but there’s no open ice hits – there’s more kids sticking with the game, as opposed to moving on to other sports.
“This shows there’s a solid revival in house teams at the bantam level. If these kids stick with hockey, the midget house league could be revised.”
In the league’s other game on Sunday, the peewee Mustangs overcame a slow start to defeat Kopper King 3-2. Liam Webster opened the scoring for Kopper King before Mustang Alex Hansen tied the game late in the first. Caleb Marsh and Daniel Moses then created a two-goal lead for the Mustangs in the second before Kopper King’s Jamie Tetlichi put in the game’s final goal.
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