Riley Browne

Riley Browne

Bantams open playoffs with bang

PORT McNEILL — On paper, it looked like a mismatch. On ice, it was even worse.

PORT McNEILL — On paper, it looked like a mismatch. On ice, it was even worse.

Riley Browne poured in four goals and Malcolm Browne added a hat trick Sunday as the North Island Eagles bantam rep hockey team dismantled visiting Campbell River 17-2 in a first-round, Tier 3 playoff matchup at Chilton Regional Arena.

Tyren Dustin and Curtis McCarrick added two goals each and 10 different players scored in the laugher, which did little to test the Eagles’ readiness for their upcoming challenges.

“The silver lining is, a lot of guys who haven’t scored much this year got goals,” said Mike Bell, who returned to the bench as the bantams’ head coach after a multi-game suspension. “We told them, ‘Now you guys have scored; we expect that every game.'”

The Eagles (18-11) travel south this weekend for games at Juan de Fuca Saturday and Victoria Sunday, with a chance to clinch a berth in the Vancouver Island Tier 3 championships. The top two finishers in the five-team round-robin will square off in a best-of-3 series to determine the Island’s representative to the provincial championships.

David Shaw, Nick Klein-Beekman, Brett Walker, Thomas Coon, Brandon Pelletier and Chad Bell scored single goals in Sunday’s laugher. Clayton Ellis had little to do but watch from a safe distance while picking up the win in goal with one half of shutout play. Riley Mathieson took over following the mid-game ice clean and allowed two meaningless goals on breakaways.

“We read ’em the riot act after the second period,” Bell said. “Everybody wanted to get in on the scoring, so they got sloppy and gave up some breakaways and three-on-ones the other way. Riley never had a chance on those goals.”