PORT HARDY—An Ethan Bono-Tyler Roper partnership supplied all three goals in a 3-3 see-saw tie when the North Island Eagles Atom Development faced Alberni Valley last weekend at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.
“The kids came out flying right from the start,” atoms coach Ray Bono said. “It was a strong effort. They certainly deserved a tie, at least.”
This visitors struck first, midway through the second period, but the Eagles were only behind for just over a minute as Roper found the net off of Bono’s assist.
The teams were locked in a stalemate for the rest of the period, the Eagles finally pulling ahead for a deserved lead with 16:08 left to play in the third. A Roper pass found Bono waiting to pounce in the slot and he found the net to give the home side the advantage.
The two sides battled for control in the centre before Alberni got a breakthrough of their own with 9:21 on the clock, sparking a frantic end-to-end finale.
The Eagles got their noses in front once more through a masterful strike from Roper. Bono’s pass found the Port Alice skater in space on the edge of the left circle. Roper then carved a route across the face of goal and slotted home a shot at the far post.
It wasn’t to be the Eagles’ day, however, as the visitors surged forward on a power play minutes later, a glancing touch from a scramble in the slot enough to elude Eagles goalie Kayden Jones and trickle across the line.
The atoms will wrap up the tiering portion of their schedule this weekend when they host Juan de Fuca at 1:45 p.m. Saturday in Port Alice.
“Once we get into our tier and start playing our league games, I think the kids will figure it out,” Bono said. “We’re right there, just one step away. And they’re having fun, win or lose.”