PORT HARDY—Other than his position on defense and his number 4, Port McNeill Ice Devils hockey player Reed Allen shares little with NHL legend Bobby Orr.
But Allen did enjoy an Orr-like moment when he pushed home the game-winner while being tripped up in front of the net in the closing minutes of Friday’s 3-2 commercial league victory over the Port Hardy Warriors at Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.
Not known for his goal-scoring prowess, Allen seemed an unlikely hero for the Devils, who were shut out for 30 minutes and erased a 2-0 deficit with three goals in the final 10 minutes.
But he was encouraged by teammates to keep the puck on a rush down the left wing, and curled through the circle while being pressured by the Warriors’ Brett Demoe. As Allen reached the bottom of the circle he was tripped up by Demoe, but kept the puck on his stick blade and, while sailing horizontally across the crease, managed to slide it just inside the far post past goalie Cole Morton with 2:09 remaining.
Morton, in just in second start in net since regular Warriors goalie Jason Saunders was sidelined by a leg injury, was solid and received plenty of defensive help in the tight, low-scoring game.
Shelby Cockell put the Warriors on the board with the only goal of the first period, a one-timer from the slot off a crossing pass from Corey Swain.
Early in the second period, Cockell made it 2-0 with a backhand rebound while Devils goalie Bob Wells was down after stopping a Jeff Cowles shot.
The score remained 2-0 until 9:39 remained in the game, when Kurtis Grant managed a wrist shot from the right circle despite being tied up by a defender.
John Murgatroyd knotted the score at 12:40 with a shot from the slot that eluded Morton’s glove and caromed in off the crossbar.
Allen picked up the assist on Murgatroyd’s goal and fellow blueliner John Prachnau added a helper in the win.
Cowles picked up assists on both goals for the Warriors in their final game of the season’s first half. After a break for Christmas, league play will resume Jan. 6 when the Warriors face the Port Hardy Bulls in the second annual Gilbert Walkus Jr. Memorial Game at 9:15 p.m. in Port Hardy.
Islanders 5, Bulls 4
In Port Alice Friday, the host Neucel Islander build a 4-1 lead, watched the visitors from Port Hardy claw back into a tie, and then netted a late game-winner to improve to 4-5.
The Bulls fell to 2-8 with the loss. Scoring details were not available.
The Islanders will kick off the second half of the season with a home date Jan. 6 against the Ice Devils.