The North Island Eagles atom development team poses with its 2013-14 Division 4 championship banner following Saturday's 7-3 playoff win over Saanich at Chilton Regional Arena in Port McNeill.

Atoms lift pennant, win semifinal

North Island Eagles atom development team claim Division 4 banner, eye playoffs final.

PORT McNEILL—On his birthday Saturday, Alert Bay’s Daunte McKinney got a card, a bright, neon-yellow hard hat and a championship banner.

And that was before the party even started.

McKinney and his North Island Eagles atom development teammates cruised to a 7-3 playoff quarterfinal win over Saanich at Chilton Regional Arena, earning a berth into this weekend’s championship final in Port Hardy.

Following the win, Liza Furney of Tri-Port Minor Hockey presented the team with the 2013-14 Vancouver Island Division 4 league championship banner.

“I’m very proud of them for winning the league,” atom coach Ray Bono said. “They played very hard all year; they earned it.”

Bono offered a more mixed review of Saturday’s game, in which the host Eagles jumped to a 3-0 lead and were never really threatened. Cole Klughart had a hat trick, Tyler Roper and Keenan Saunders each scored three points and McKinney added a birthday goal as the squad advanced to host this weekend’s three-team playoff finals.

“They played good enough to win, but they can do better,” said Bono, who felt the game was closer than the 7-3 score, despite Saanich getting its final tally with just one second to play. “If they want to win next weekend, they’re gonna have to come out flying. They’ve worked too hard to let it get away in one game.”

Roper finished with a goal and an assist, Saunders earned a playmaker with three assists and Ethan Bono and Joey Grant were credited with goals in Saturday’s victory. Additional assists went to Koen Harwood, Connor Van Will, Tynan Klein-Beekman and Ethan Bono. Kayden Jones got the win in goal, and McKinney picked up the hard hat presented to the winner of the team’s ‘Digger’ award.

The game was one of three divisional quarterfinals played on the weekend. The two other winners will travel to Port Hardy and face each other in a semifinal Saturday at 3 p.m. at Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena. The winner will return Sunday to face the Eagles for the Island championship.

Ray Bono hopes to see his team firing on all cylinders when they take the ice for that final. The squad has one more practice tonight to get ready, but he’s not going to spend it alarming the youngsters about the importance of the playoff.

“We’re just going to keep them loose by having fun,” he said.

The fun started immediately after Saturday’s win, when the players — from Alert Bay, Port Alice, Port Hardy and Port McNeill — gathered to celebrate McKinney’s birthday. The party included goodies and a return to the ice for a fun skate.

For his part, McKinney said he is looking forward to this weekend’s playoff final.

“I’m excited,” he said.


Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Tier 3 Bantam Championships

“The packed arena and electricity within was fantastic.”

Port Hardy RCMP issues warning about recent overdose

“Our primary concern is public safety. We are urging the public to be aware of what is circulating.”

Port Hardy RCMP looking for volunteers who are interested in public safety

“The volunteer program will include community and crime prevention programs”

Suspicious fire in Alert Bay burns two homes, spreads to nearby bush

Police say underage suspects have been identified

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles tie Dawson Creek Canucks in front of massive hometown crowd in Port Hardy

The Tier 3 Bantam Championships continued in style last night at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

Fire crews battle large blaze at Courtenay hostel

Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said nobody was injured

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Most Read