PORT HARDY—It was honours even last weekend as the Mustangs and Bulls played to a 2-2 tie at the Don Cruikshank Memorial Arena in the Mens Commercial Hockey league.
Much like the old cliche, it was a game of two halves and the first belonged to the Mustangs.
John Murgatroyd opened the scoring for the Port McNeill outfit, slotting home from a Ryan Rushton assist with 12:43 on the clock.
Eight minutes later Murgatroyd turned provider, putting Glen Moore in to double the Mustangs’ lead and giving a buffer to take into the ice-cleaning break.
Whatever was said in the Bulls locker room during the break fired up the Hardy side for the second half.
An Yvan Noel pass gave Brad Zealand an extra yard down the left during a power play and his wraparound shot found the back of the net.
The Mustangs protested that the puck didn’t go between the posts however. Team members pointed to a gap behind the left post and argued that the puck had gone the wrong side of the post and under the side-netting.
The protests fell on deaf ears however, and the goal stood.
With the difference down to one, both teams rallied and pushed up the tempo as the game went end-to-end. Both sides carved out chances, but goalkeeping heroics from the Mustangs’ Aaron Hinton and the Bulls’ Colin Hunko frustrated the attackers.
The Bulls got their breakthrough with 9:26 left on the clock. A shot from Steve Verbrugge from the right circle was turned aside by Hinton’s blocker, the puck looping across the goal. Curtis Martyn pounced on the rebound, volleying home a one-timer out of the air and tying the score.
A frantic closing spell followed, the Mustangs surging forward to pressure the Bulls zone while the home side looked to score on the counter.
Strong goalkeeping at either end kept the score in the balance however, the clock running down before either side could find another goal.
The pair will face off again this weekend, once more in Port Hardy, with the puck dropping at 9:15 p.m.