Atoms open with road sweep

The North Island Eagles atom development hockey team gets its Tier 3 regular season off to an impressive start.

The North Island Eagles atom development hockey team got its Tier 3 regular season off to an impressive start by traveling the length of Vancouver Island and posting a road sweep.

The atoms, despite an apparent case of shaky road legs, rolled to a 12-4 romp Saturday at Saanich behind a seven-point outburst by Ethan Bono and a hat trick from Tyler Roper.

They followed up with a much tighter, 4-3 win Sunday at Juan de Fuca when Roper snapped a third-period tie with a controversial game-winning goal.

“It was one of those where the puck went in at the same time the whistle blew,” peewee coach Ray Bono said. “The referee on one side of the net didn’t see it and thought the goalie had covered the puck, and he blew the whistle. But the ref on the other side saw it go in. It was a bang-bang play.”

After the officials consulted with each other, they skated to each bench to confirm the goal was good, touching off a celebration on the Eagles’ side at 6:30 of the third period.

The score held up until roughly eight minutes remained on the game clock, when the contest was halted because the teams’ scheduled ice time had run out.

“We’re just so proud of them,” Ray Bono said. “We’re happy with the way the kids are playing, and they’re having a lot of fun.”

It didn’t look that way for the first few minutes after they tumbled out of their vehicles to start the weekend’s play Saturday afternoon.

“On day one, our (pregame) warmup was terrible,” said Bono. “We gave ‘em a stern talking-to, and they came out flying.”

Ethan Bono had four goals and three assists, Roper had three goals and two assists, and Skyler Evans added two goals in the one-sided win. Other goals went to Joey Grant, Tynan Klein-Beekman and Daunte McKinney. Assists were awarded to Grant, McKinney and Connor Van Will, and Kayden Jones got the victory in net.

Jones, the teams’ loan netminder, was the winner again Sunday as Roper added a pair of goals and an assist.

Klein-Beekman and Keenan Saunders also found the net in the victory, while Cole Klughart assisted on two scores and Dawson Hudock added a single helper.

The atoms are scheduled to host Comox in an exhibition game in Port Hardy Sunday at 1:15 p.m.