PORT McNEILL— As North Island peewee hockey rivals from Port McNeill and Port Hardy lined up for a tie-breaking shootout Sunday morning, Jesse Lloyd of Port McNeill called out to his twin brother Reece, the team’s goalie.
“You got this, Reece!” Jesse yelled.
Perhaps there’s something to the idea of a subliminal bond between twins, after all.
After Reece Lloyd stopped the first two Port Hardy shooters, Alert Bay’s William Johnson lifted the Destroyers to an improbable 6-5 comeback win over Port Hardy in the seventh-place game of the 2012 Port McNeill Minor Hockey Peewee Tournament at Chilton Regional Arena.
Despite the early wake-up call for the drive south to the 7 a.m. contest, Port Hardy carried the early momentum. Two goals from Bree-Anna Henderson and single scores by Tim Alfred, Michael Perez and Eli Heller staked the Ice Dogs to a 5-2 lead midway through the second period.
That score held until Johnson skated in and, despite tumbling over Port Hardy goalie Robbie Walkus, managed to slide the puck home to begin the Destroyers’ comeback with two minutes left in the second.
Just 21 seconds later, Adrian Gordon-Valan, another Alert Bay skater, rifled home his second goal of the game from the slot to cut Port Hardy’s lead to 5-4.
The third period was largely a back-and-forth, defensive effort with neither team able to assert control, until Port McNeill’s Liam May punched home a point-blank rebound to knot the score with 3:12 left in regulation.
After the final buzzer, officials notified the teams would each pick five shooters for a penalty shot tie-breaker, but it would be a sudden death affair. Reece Lloyd and Walkus each stopped their first shot and, after Lloyd made a second stop, Johnson managed to slip around Walkus on the stick side and punch home the game-winner.
The win sent the host club happy after it lost all three games in pool play in the three-day tourney, which drew six teams from down-Island in addition to the Ice Dogs.
Each of Sunday’s finals was a down-to-the wire affair, with the Oceanside Mavericks claiming the tourney title with a 3-0 win over Cowichan Valley.
In the third-place game, Port Alberni edged the Oceanside Aces 6-5, and Nanaimo shaded Gold River 3-2 for fifth place.
Port McNeill Minor Hockey
2012 Peewee Tournament
At Chilton Regional Arena
Gold River 9, Port McNeill 2
Port McNeill goals: Liam May, William Johnson. Assist: Trent Beek.
Cowichan Valley 6, Gold River 1
Oceanside Aces 12, Port McNeill 0
Cowichan Valley 5, Aces 4
Cowichan Valley 10, Port McNeill 1
Port McNeill goal: Adrian Gordon-Valan.
Aces 5, Gold River 4
Oceanside Mavericks 11, Port Hardy 0
Mavericks 5, Nanaimo 1
Port Alberni 4, Port Hardy 2
Port Hardy goals: Michael Perez, Nigel Walkus. Assists: Seth Hanuse, Walkus.
Nanaimo 6, Port Hardy 3
Port Hardy goals: Cody Walkus, Tim Alfred, Eli Heller. Assists: Nigel Walkus, Perez, Hanuse.
Mavericks 7, Port Alberni 3
Port Alberni 7, Nanaimo 5
Port McNeill 6, Port Hardy 5, shootout
Port McNeill goals: William Johnson 3, Adrian Gordon-Valan 2, Liam May. Assists: Trey Iceton, Rebecca Bosma, Aidan Carey, Johnson. Port Hardy goals: Bree-Anna Henderson 2, Tim Alfred, Michael Perez, Eli Heller. Assists: Seth Hanuse 2, Heller, Alfred, Henderson.
Nanaimo 3, Gold River 2
Port Alberni 6, Aces 5
Mavericks 3, Cowichan 0