Sooke Thunderbirds goalie Kurtis Hiltz is a study in concentration as he attempts to foil North Island Eagles defencman William Grant in the Bantam A Island final on Saturday at SEAPARC. The Thundebirds lost the game 5-3, but get a chance to redeem themselves this weekend when they travel to North Island for two games. (Bruce Hogarth photo)

Thunderbirds face elimination in Bantam hockey playoffs

Sooke squad loses first game to Port Hardy

The Sooke Thunderbirds are hoping to stave off elimination this weekend in their best-of-three Island final hockey playoff.

The local Bantam A club faced a tough Tri-Port Eagles squad and lost 5-3 on Saturday in Sooke.

Penalty problems hampered the Thunderbirds throughout the game, with the most costly going to team captain Cole Friesen, who was assessed five minutes for interference and a game misconduct.

The Thunderbirds were the least penalized team in the Island league this year with only 88 minutes of penalties. On Saturday, they were assessed 29 minutes in a single game.

ALSO READ: Bantam Thunderbirds win silver at Alberni tourney

The Eagles took full advantage of the Thunderbirds miscues and scored all their goals on the power play.

The North Island squad jumped into a 3-0 lead over two periods before the Thunderbirds responded early in the third period with a power play goal of their own.

The two teams battled throughout the third before the Eagles claimed the victory.

“It wasn’t the result we were hoping for,” Nick Szadkowski, the Thunderbirds coach, said.

“We know we can beat them. I’m excited to go up there next weekend and take the next two games from them.

Grady Sluggett scored twice for Sooke, and Gracie Szadkowski added one.

William Grant scored two to lead the Tri-Port Eagles offence.

This weekend the Sooke Thunderbirds travel to Port Hardy for the next two games of the series. The winner advances to the provincial championships in March.

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