By Kevin Campbell
The Northern View
The Vanderhoof Bears Peewee reps seemed right at home during Prince Rupert’s snowy weekend and that territorial advantage extended on the ice as the visitors escaped the confines of the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre with two big wins.
A 14-0 victory over the Prince Rupert Legion Peewee Seawolves on Saturday, Nov. 29 brought the whales to their senses in their doubleheader Sunday match against the very same Bears. Save for a treacherous five-minute stanza in the second period, and a third frame that the powerful Bears just dominated, the Seawolves were able to obtain a lead and compete with the much larger and taller Vanderhoof players.
Josh VanderGiessen was red-hot for the Bears, scoring four times on Saturday and found the net on more than one occasion Sunday, knotting things up at 1-1 after Brad Larose put the Seawolves up 1-0 just two minutes into the game with a backhanded rebound try that broke Bears’ goalie Parker Loewen’s shutout streak at 62 minutes on the weekend.
Larose played with Braeden Anderson and Ethan Toye, and created havoc whenever they could break through the Bears’ stalwart defence.
But a snap shot from the slot would find its way past Seawolves’ netminder Brevin Jack to put the visitors up 2-1, and from there they never looked back.
The very tall and very skilled Ethan Floris, who scored twice on Saturday, put the Bears up 3-1 when his wrister found the top corner above Jack’s glove to give the Bears their two-goal lead midway through the first period.
Jack quickly got that one back with a fine stop on Cole Geernaert after the Vanderhoof forward found a seam and used it for a quick breakaway opportunity.
The first period ended 3-1 for the Bears after a disallowed goal on a high stick prevented Vanderhoof from taking the commanding 4-1 lead.
Not to be outdone, the Seawolves’ Avery Lorette took a wild shot on net from just inside the Bears’ blueline that knuckle-balled its way past Loewen at the beginning of the second period and got the home side to within a goal.
But that would be as close as they’d come, as just 18 seconds later, a wraparound goal and another from in the slot gave the bears a 5-2 lead and deflated Prince Rupert for the morning. Five more goals in the second period gave the Bears the out-of-reach 10-3 lead.
Lorette and his defence partner Brodie Melanson played tough minutes, often against Vanderhoof’s top guns for Rupert.
Aiden Watkinson got the Seawolves’ third goal five minutes into the second period and on the power-play to round out the scoring for Rupert.
Gavin McNeice took over for Jack and started the third period for the Seawolves. He was solid, facing a number of Bears’ power-plays and turning aside a couple breakaways of his own, stopping Geernaert with a couple Seawolves draped overtop of him and was great down low when the Bears were buzzing the net.
Kale Evans, Noah Wiens and VanderGiessen added singles in the third period to complete the 13-3 win and take the weekend sweep for the Bears.
Nolan Stava, captain Nicholas Pirillo and Arlen Des Champ had great games up front for the Seawolves while Ashton Shepert, Colby Duffus, Nevan Miller, Luke Rabel and Curtis Swan also helped out in a fine effort for the Peewees.