PORT ALICE—Trailing 3-0 midway through the second period of Saturday’s Vancouver Island Hockey League game with Comox, the North Island Eagles atom development team had done little to inspire the home crowd.
But the end, they had that crowd in a screaming frenzy.
A goal by hometown boy Jackson Cole with 1:56 drew the Eagles within 6-5 and the team threw a flurry of shots at the Comox net in the wild final seconds before the Chiefs escaped the arena with the win.
“They came back hard, and that was good to see,” atoms coach Marty Gage said of his squad. “But I’m not happy. I told the kids, ‘We can’t beat a team of that caliber without playing the full 60 minutes.”
Ryan Patterson got the Eagles’ rally going with a goal at 12:14 of the second period, and Benton Browne scored 20 seconds later to make it a 3-2 game.
From that point, the teams traded goals, with Carson Strang scoring twice off assists from Clayton Bono, the last one drawing the atoms within 5-4.
Comox went back up by a pair at 6-4 with a goal with 6:07 remaining, but the Eagles controlled play the rest of the way and brought the fans into the game with a spirited charge that fell short.
“The fact they didn’t give up was a positive,” Gage said “If we would’ve played 60 minutes we would’ve beat that team.”
Michael McLaughlin and Avary Miller shared duties in goal. Payton Laming, Liem Wadhams, Luke Gage, Tianna Walkus and Browne each had assists.