North Island Eagles atom goalie Kayden Jones eyes the puck after making a blocker save during Saturday's playoff game against Sooke at Chilton Regional Arena.

Atoms fall one goal short in playoff bid

The North Island Eagles atom development squad bow out of the Vancouver Island Hockey League playoffs.

PORT McNEILL—The little team that could was finally stopped in its tracks.

But the North Island Eagles atom development squad bowed out of the Vancouver Island Hockey League playoffs in most dramatic fashion possible, taking visiting Sooke down to the final second before the Thunderbirds claimed a 7-6 victory Sunday at Chilton Regional Arena.

“It was a great game,” Eagles head coach Marty Gage said. “They just wanted it more than we did.”

With goalie Kayden Jones pulled for an extra attacker, the Eagles had their final chance on a face-off in the T-birds’ zone with five seconds remaining. Captain Mathew Saunders won the draw and sent a pass to Ryan Patterson, who already had a game-high four goals. Patterson’s blast from the high slot was tipped by a defender’s stick, however, and sailed harmlessly wide of the net just before the final buzzer sounded through the shrieks of the crowd.

The loss ended the Eagles’ postseason chances at a Tier 3 league title, but Gage said it will not diminish the young squad’s accomplishments over the past six months. With only 12 rostered players — six of them first-year atoms — TriPort had to apply for an exemption just to play in the league this season.

Once approved, the team proved it belonged, posting a solid third-place finish in Division 3 to earn the home playoff matchup.

“We shouldn’t even have had a team,” Gage said. “All the success they’ve had is just phenomenal. The coaching staff was talking in the locker room about just how good a team we’ve become this season, and the camaraderie is exceptional, among the players and the coaches.”

The Eagles ran out to a 3-0 lead early in the second period behind goals by Patterson, Rhys Dutcyvich and Luke Gage. The visitors responded with three straight goals of their own in the second period to knot the score, before Patterson lifted home a shot from the left circle for a 4-3 advantage at 7:02 of the second.

That would be the Eagles’ high-water mark. Sooke tied it again at 11:11 on a goal by Kobe Knowles, one of two Thunderbirds to score hat tricks, and took its first lead at 1:23 of the third.

Next came a game-turning sequence. Saunders got free on a breakaway and beat Sooke goalie Matthew Ryan with a shot from the slot, but the puck caromed off the inside of the crossbar and back out onto the ice. Moments later, the T-birds’ John Richardson beat a defender for his own breakaway score and a 6-4 Sooke lead at 2:44 of the period.

Patterson jammed home the rebound of his own wraparound try at 4:11 to bring the Eagles to 6-5, but Sooke restored its two-goal advantage on a point-blank, short-handed goal after winning a face-off draw in the Eagles’ end.

Patterson had one more round in his chamber, however, and buried a wrist shot while skating through the left circle under heavy pressure from a defender to make it 7-6 and set up the wild finish.

For his efforts, Patterson earned the team’s Digger hard hat award for the game.

The atoms will continue to work out in preparation for a tournament appearance in Victoria March 22-24.

 

 

Men’s Commercial Hockey League

 

Standings

Through Mar. 6

 

Team W L T Pts

Warriors 10 5 2 22

Mustangs 9 4 1 19

Islanders 6 8 1 13

Bulls 5 13 2 12

 

Friday, Mar. 1

Mustangs 5, Islanders 2

Warriors 6, Bulls 6

Friday, Mar. 15

Warriors at Islanders, 8 p.m., Port Alice

Mustangs at Bulls, 9:15 p.m., Port Hardy

End of season

 

 

Port Hardy ‘B’ Hockey League

 

Standings

Through Mar. 5

 

Team W L T Pts

Stars 11 3 1 23

Whalers 11 3 1 23

Smokers 9 5 1 19

Pioneers 4 5 1 9

Mainline 3 3 0 6

Oilers 2 8 0 4

Rookies 0 15 0 0

 

Saturday, Mar. 2

Rookies 4, Mainline 3, exhibition

Sunday, Mar. 3

Whalers 8, Pioneers 0

Stars 8, Mainline 7

Saturday, Mar. 9

Whalers vs. Smokers, 9:15 p.m., Port Hardy

Sunday, Mar. 10

Stars vs. Whalers, 8:45 p.m., Port Hardy

 

 

Just Posted

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

VIDEO: North Island Peewee Eagles unleash avalanche of goals against Peninsula in semi-final showdown

The two teams squared up on Sunday morning at the Chilton Regional Arena in Port McNeill.

North Island Seniors Housing Foundation takes the next step towards getting Trustee Road land

Seniors rejoice, Port Hardy council is very much in favour of helping… Continue reading

Port Hardy Volleyball club requests funding from Port Hardy council

The sport of Volleyball is alive and well in the North Island,… Continue reading

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

Steam train to McLean Mill is out of commission for repairs; city wants to re-examine rail costs

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Most Read