The North Island Silvertips earned an all-important split in their season opening series with the North West Vancouver Giants on the weekend at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.
The Giants won the first game 6-2 on Saturday evening, but the 'Tips bounced back to win 3-2 on Sunday afternoon.
Defenceman Grady McInnes scored twice for North Island, including the winner, in Sunday's game with Clayton Peace putting home the other goal and Liam Young made 39 saves in the win.
In Saturday's loss, Hunter Findlater and McInnes scored for the Silvertips.
It is tough to put much weight in any early season game, but Sunday's victory was critical for several reasons, including the fact the Giants ended their 2012-13 season before going on to win the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League championship. "In any season. .. any first win is huge, but when you can take two points from the defending champs of the league, then it becomes an even bigger boost for you said North Island head coach Jason Dubyna.
Sunday's match was an allround solid game by the 'Tips, led by their penalty kill killed all five Giants opportunities. It was a big improvement from just 18 hours before when they were done in by their inability to stop Vancouver on the power play.
Key to that penalty kill was the play of second year goalie Young, who held on to the small lead he was given with all he had.
"They outshot us and he stood in there and was solid," said Dubyna. "He controlled his rebounds well and didn't give them a lot of chances. They've always been good at getting to the net and getting second and third chances, and he took that away from them."
On Sunday, the Silvertips built a 2-1 lead through the first period on McInnes' first goal and Peace's marker.
In the third period McInnes found the back of the net a second time at 13:08 of the frame, firing home a shot off a face off to the left of Giants' goalie Tavin Grant, beating him along the ice.
North Island needed the insurance as Tak Anholt scored his second goal of the game at 18:10 to pull within 3-2. But the 'Tips managed to hem their guests in their own zone for most of the rest of the game, not allowing the Giants any more opportunities.
Up next for the Silvertips is a road trip to Richmond next weekend for two games with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds.
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