Seawolves’ Nic Pirillo follows the puck as Vanderhoof Bears’ defenceman Garrett Dick watches carefully. The Bantam Reps put up a good fight

Seawolves’ Nic Pirillo follows the puck as Vanderhoof Bears’ defenceman Garrett Dick watches carefully. The Bantam Reps put up a good fight

Seawolves fall to Bears in final tune-up

The Bantam Seawolves took a step in the right direction with a close game against Vanderhoof on Saturday

It hasn’t been the best season in the win column for the Bantam Rep Seawolves, but the team took a step in the right direction with a close game against Vanderhoof on Saturday, that ended in a 5-2 loss.

The Seawolves (1-8) crept to within two with a strong third period, but the Vanderhoof Bears proved to be too much in the end.

“I think we did all right. We had a good third period and kept it close. Vanderhoof is a bigger, older, faster team,” assistant coach Brett Stava said after the game.

The coach said what he liked most from the team was the positioning in the third period.

“The first couple periods, we were chasing the puck and we didn’t have much support. In the third period, we had the support, we got on the puck quick and the overall work ethic was better than the first two,” he said.

Vanderhoof led 1-0 after the first period, but the Seawolves struck early in the second on a goal, thanks to a nice shot from the point by Colby Duffus.

The Bears retook the lead with a trio of goals past Gavin McNeice, who had a good game. He made plenty of big saves to keep the Seawolves in the game.

Rupert made it 4-2 with a goal off the stick of Nic Pirillo in the third period, assisted by Luke Rabel. But the Seawolves ran out of time, losing the match 5-2.

The game was the final tune-up for the Seawolves before zone championships in Houston from Feb. 17-19. Vanderhoof will be the third team in that tournament. The winning team moves on to provincials.

“We have our work cut out for us but I don’t think it’s out of the question that we can’t go and beat these guys,” Stava said.

He does want the Seawolves to work on defensive positioning and making smart plays going into zones.