Two weekend games kept the Atom Development team with little time to spare. A Saturday game against South Okanagan promised to be exciting. South Okanagan sat in first place in the division.
The Saturday game started out with a goal less than two minutes in. Marcus Brodie tapped a pass over to #13 Austin O’Neil and O’Neil made no mistakes. This first goal did not deter the South Ok team and the battle up and down the ice proved that every inch of ice was battle worthy. The fast pace continued uninterrupted for six minutes. Then O’Neil made a run for it. Despite, South Ok’s best attempts to thwart the rush, they could not stop the whirlwind and the score was 2-0. Another scurry in the South Ok end ensued, #16 Matt Maynard spotted O’Neil and flicked it over. A nice shot up and the puck was in.
In the second period, Liam Zieske got on a roll. He was responsible for the next goal assisted by O’Neil. Zieske made it four zip and kept gaining momentum. The next two goals were assisted by Zieske. First a pass to #2 Marcus Brodie and then a pass to O’Neil found their way. The second period ended 6-0.
South Ok kept on trying and at 11:15 in the third, they finally squeezed one by Jayden Simon. Simon was was smoking hot during the game and left little room for a goal through his highly defensive goal tending. This goal would be the only one to make it by Simon that day. Then with just over three minutes remaining, O’Neil closed the door for a 7-1 win.
Sunday brought more excitement. O’Neil was first to score. He scored two more unassisted and the second period started with a 3-0 advantage for the home team.
Both team’s parents were making lots of noise in the second. Then, with 56 seconds left, Clearwater shot one past Jayden Simon. Assisted by Carson Thibert and younger brother Mason O’Neil, Austin used the last few seconds well. With just three seconds remaining, the Princeton Atoms were up 4-1.
Clearwater was far from calling it quits. They hit the ice ready to make Princeton work for their win. At 14:50 they drew closer. The game was now 4-2. Three minutes later the noose tightened on the scoreboard. Clearwater kept digging. At 4:32, the game was tied. Heartbeats were ramped up on and off the ice. Parents and fans were oohing and aahing as play continued. Players were flaying in front of shots, sprinting to defend and swirling around like dervish dirt devils. Austin O’Neil got off a shot. He didn’t get past the goalie, but Kirk Scallon was waiting. His first goal of the season turned out to be a dilly. Scallon scored the last goal of the game and the winning goal.
The home town team was in good spirits as they left the ice. Their defense had batted away some integral opponent charges and the offense had never given up. Right to the wire, the local kids gave their home town crowd a few heart stopping moments.