PORT McNEILL— Given a chance to raise their own version of the Stanley Cup in the shadow of a giant poster of benefactor Willie Mitchell doing the same, the Port McNeill bantam hockey team came up one win short Sunday in the championship final of the Port McNeill Minor Hockey bantam tournament at Chilton Regional Arena.
The Oceanside Storm notched a 2-0 win over the Whalers to cap a highly competitive tournament and raise the replica cup, purchased and donated to Port McNeill Minor Hockey by James Speck, an Alert Bay “hockey grandpa” who last year donated a full set of hoodies to two teams in the program.
Oceanside’s Masato Wilson scored once in the opening two minutes of play and added an insurance goal in the final five minutes to bracket an otherwise scoreless game. Goalies Georgios Bourodemos of Oceanside and Nyck Ruel of Port McNeill, along with their defensive mates, controlled play for most of the back-and-forth contest.
The Port Hardy Dusters closed out their tourney with a thrilling shootout win, 4-3 over Comox Team 2. Port Hardy took an early 2-0 lead on goals by Clayton McDonald and Nathan Sandeman, watched Comox pull ahead with three straight goals in the second and third periods, then tied it on Riley Nelson’s rebound goal with 9:55 to play.
After goalie Sarah Case stuffed the first shootout attempt by Comox’s Quinn Denko, Port Hardy’s Cameron Walkus ended the sudden-death shootout by burying the Dusters’ first attempt.
Close games were the rule in the eight-team tourney, with four ties, three one-goal games and another shootout in the semifinals, where Port McNeill’s Jaidyn Staniforth tallied to lift the Whalers into the final with a 2-1 win over the Comox Flyers.
2012 Port McNeill Minor Hockey Bantam Tournament
At Chilton Regional Arena
Port Alberni 3, Comox (5) 3
Port McNeill 2, Comox (2) 2
Port McNeill goals: Jaidyn Staniforth, Tyrrell Davidson. Assists: Cameron Grant, Sean Pineda.
Campbell River 3, Port Hardy 0
Comox (4) 7, Oceanside 4
Port McNeill 4, Comox (5) 3
Port McNeill goals: Randi Ward, Alex Schmidt, Grant, Staniforth; Assists: Pineda 2, Davidson 2, Kris Jolliffe, Brenden Murray, Grant.
Oceanside 5, Campbell River 5
Comox (2) 3, Comox (5) 1
Comox (4) 9, Port Hardy 6
Port Hardy goals: Cameron Walkus 2, Nathan Sandeman 2, Logan McLachlan, Clayton McDonald. Assist: Jacob Heller.
Port Alberni 6, Comox (2) 2
Comox (4) 9, Campbell River 3
Port McNeill 1, Port Alberni 1
Port McNeill goal: Kenton Browne.
Oceanside 6, Port Hardy 1
Port Hardy goal: McLachlan. Assist: Kate Gough.
Campbell River 7, Comox (4) 2
Port Hardy 4, Comox (2) 3, shootout
Port McNeill 7, Comox (4) 6, shootout
Port McNeill goals: Grant 2, Lucas Blount, Browne, Christopher Speck, Staniforth. Assists: Pineda 2, Jolliffe, Kerrigan Sharpe, Emma Mitchell.
Oceanside 5, Port Alberni 2
Oceanside 2, Port McNeill 0