Peach scores highlight-reel goal

Falmouth native follows it up with seven-point game for WHL's Victoria Royals

JASON MALLOY VALLEY JOURNAL-ADVERTISER jason.malloy @saltwire.com @JasonMa47772994

2022-01-11T08:00:00.0000000Z

2022-01-11T08:00:00.0000000Z

SaltWire Network

https://saltwire.pressreader.com/article/281646783494829

REFLECTION

Bailey Peach's phone blew up Dec. 29. It started when the 20-year-old Falmouth native scored a trick goal, known as The Michigan, in the Victoria Royals' 3-0 home win over the Vancouver Giants in a Western Hockey League (WHL) game on Dec. 29. “I got a lot of text messages, a lot of (direct messages),” he said Dec. 30. “It's been pretty nuts the last couple of hours.” It was Peach's first of two goals on the night and made it 2-0 with 3:34 left in the second period. The Michigan is a lacrossestyle goal where a player scoops the puck up on the blade of their stick while behind the net. They then come out front and flick the puck over the goalie into the net. It is called The Michigan because Wolverines forward Mike Legg made it famous by pulling it off during an NCAA tournament game in 1996. Peach said for him it was about seizing the opportunity that presented itself. “I saw I had quite a bit of time and I was just thinking I might as well try and flip this up on my stick and try and put it in the net. Luckily it went in,” he said. “I was in shock … and everyone else was.” Peach, who never played lacrosse, said it was the first time he had tried the move in a game. He said guys sometimes fool around with stuff like that before or after a practice. “But you never really think about doing it in a game until you're really there,” he said. “When I got the puck behind the net, I just saw I had an opportunity and I said I might as well try it.” While the hockey purist might stick their nose up at such a play, it and others have become accepted and welcomed by most fans. “I know a lot of people think it's stupid and stuff,” Peach said. “But a lot of these young guys are bringing these kinds of plays into the game now and just being creative and showing what they can do with their skill. … “Obviously, I don't think it's making the other team look silly; I just think guys are trying to be creative and trying something new.” The goal, which has been seen from coast to coast, shows how much fun Peach is having right now and how high his confidence level is. The Charlottetown Islanders acquired him a year ago from the Sherbrooke Phoenix. When the Isles added one of the best overage junior players in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League during the off-season, Peach was made available to the league's other squads. But there were no takers. He cleared waivers and ended up with a young Royals team nearly 6,000 kilometres from home. It took him a bit to settle in. “The last couple of years of junior have been tough for me confidence-wise,” Peach said. “When I finally found my confidence, things were just clicking.” Peach had a nine-game point streak that ended on Dec. 15. Since then, he has 10 points in four games. He had 15 goals and 20 assists for 35 points in 28 games heading into the Dec. 30 rematch with the Giants. All he did for an encore was set a franchise record with seven points (three goals and four assists) in a 7-3 win. He scored both goals Jan. 1 as the Royals lost 5-2 to the Kelowna Rockets. “Confidence is a big factor for me and the way I play,” said Peach, who is hoping to land a pro contract, but if the right opportunity doesn't present itself will join the Atlantic University Sport's Acadia Axemen. He credited his teammates and the coaching staff, led by Dan Price, who is the team's head coach and general manager, for helping him have a strong season. “They believed in me — that's why they brought me out here,” he said. “I couldn't thank them anymore for bringing me out here and giving me this opportunity because I don't know where I would be today without them.”

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