The North Island Atom Eagles finished off their 2016-2017 season with a bang, winning their own tournament at the Chilton Regional Arena in Port McNeill.
The rep tournament was held March 17-19 with six atom teams (North Island Eagles, Campbell River Tyees, Kerry Park Islanders, Juan De Fuca Grizzlies, Comox Valley Chiefs, and the Victoria Ice Hawks) battling it out to see who would come in first place.
The Eagles got out to great start on Friday night, defeating the Tyees 9-3, and then continued to score goals the next day against the Islanders, winning 6-4.
In order to qualify for the finals, the Eagles had to beat the Grizzlies, a team that had bested the Islanders the day before 4-3.
The Eagles drew first blood against the Grizzlies with a goal from Zachary Spafford at 13:35 of the first period. Spafford netted the second goal of the game almost four minutes later to put the Eagles up 2-0.
The Eagles’ Jack Barrett then scored twice before the end of the first period, giving the Eagles a strong 4-0 lead going into the second period.
In the second, the Eagles continued to pour on the offence. Barrett ended up scoring three more goals as the Eagles cruised to a 7-4 victory, ensuring them a spot in the tournament final against the Ice Hawks on Sunday afternoon, which turned out to be a real nail biter of a game.
The Eagles got out to an early lead in the first period, thanks to a goal from Barrett at 8:44, but the Ice Hawks’ Cameron Lott put the puck in the net late in the second period to tie it up 1-1.
In the third and final period, both teams were battling hard for the puck and desperately trying to find the game winning goal, but it was Christopher Topfer who ended up finding the back of the net with 4:03 left in the game to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead.
Barrett then scored an insurance goal at 3:48 to secure the Eagles 3-1 victory over the Ice Hawks.
In what turned out to be an incredible season for the young North Island players, the Eagles finished in first place in the Atom Development tier three division, winning a league banner, and made it all the way to the final game of the playoffs against league rivals the Port Alberni Bulldogs.