PORT ALICE—The North Island Eagles atom development hockey team has established an early season pattern of quick starts.
On Saturday, the atoms went for the big finish to close out an 8-3 Vancouver Island Hockey League romp over visiting Cowichan Valley at the local arena.
Clinging to a one-goal lead late in the second period, the Eagles exploded for five unanswered goals in a 15-minute stretch that ended any suspense of the outcome.
The line of Rhys Dutcyvich, Mathew Saunders and Luke Gage accounted for most of the damage as the atoms turned a 3-2 edge into an 8-2 bulge.
Dutcyvich had two goals, Saunders had a goal and three assists and Gage contributed a goal and two assists as the trio swarmed the Capitals’ net and kept rebounds alive.
Ryan Patterson got into the act, taking a pass from Liem Wadhams and crossing the slot for a goal from the edge of the circle.
It was an impressive finish to a game that began with a flurry of goals, then settled into a long scoreless period before the Eagles ramped their offence back up.
Cowichan Valley actually enjoyed the first lead, needing just 30 seconds from the opening puck drop to jump ahead 1-0.
The Eagles quickly responded, with Gage converting off a Dutcyvich assist to tie it at 2:24 of the first, and Dutcyvich scoring back-to-back goals 10 seconds apart of Gage assists to give the atoms the lead for good at 6:07 of the opening period.
From that point until 3:24 remained in the second period, the only score was a tally by Cowichan’s Dylan Langer in the final minute of the first that made it 3-2.
From then on, Eagles goalie Kayden Jones allowed nothing until the Capitals tacked on a meaningless final goal with 1:02 left in the game.
Dutcyvich finished with four goals and an assist, Gage had two goals and four assists, and Wadhams had a pair of helpers. Tynan Klein-Beekman added a single assist.
The atoms continue the heavily front-loaded portion of their home schedule this weekend, when they host the Comox Chiefs at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Port McNeill. Following the holiday break the Eagles will again be at home for a Jan. 6 game against Campbell River before hitting the road for much of the second half of the season.