The North Island Eagles brought home the banner after beating the Sooke Thunderbirds 7-6 on the road Saturday.
“After playing one of, if not their best game of the year last weekend in (Port) Alice to take a one to nothing lead in the best-of-three Island finals; we kind of forgot to show up to start game two in Sooke,” said Coach Marty Gage.
“Sooke came out flying. We took penalties and they started to impose their will on us. This was not the plan, but set the script for the most dramatic game anyone could imagine,” Gage said.
Sooke took a commanding 4 – 0 lead in the first period.
“I knew we needed to get one before the end of the first and we did,” he said.
“We went to dressing room down 4-1 and not very happy with our effort, but we were starting to get chances and that first goal gave us some hope,” Gage said.
It was 5-1 when the Eagles went to the room after two periods.
“We came together as a team in the room and decided we believed we could come back,” he said.
The Eagles fought hard and got within a goal, 5-4. Then Sooke scored to make it 6-4. The Eagles refused to give up and came back and tied it again, 6-6.
“We went to overtime and talk about a nerve-wracking experience. We hit the crossbar on the first shift and I thought oh boy, if we lose, that crossbar will haunt me,” said Gage.
“A couple minutes later, we jammed the net and put that puck in the back of the net. The crowd went crazy, players went nuts and we were ecstatic,” said the coach.
Next stop provincials in Kitimat March 15-18.
Luke Gage got the Eagles only goal in the first period assisted by Mathew Sanders.
Early in the second, Saunders scored an unassisted goal.
The Eagles went on a scoring spree in the third. Rhys Dutcyvich opened things up for the Eagles assisted by Braden Walkus and Liem Wadhams. Saunders scored next with the assists going to Payton Laming and Ryan Patterson.
Dutcyvich scored the Eagles fourth goal assisted by Saunders. Gage scored to tie the game 6-6. Assisting on the tying goal was Saunders and Dutcyvich.
In overtime, Saunders put one into the back of the net to give his team the victory, and himself the hat trick. Assisting on the goal was Dutcyvich.