PORT HARDY — For 29 minutes, it was anyone’s game. Over the final 11, it was all Port McNeill Devils.
Al Rushton, Glenn Moore and Chris Dutcyvich scored consecutive goals in the final 10:17 Friday as the Devils broke open a tie game and pulled away to an 8-5 victory over the Port Hardy Warriors in commercial league play at Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.
Until the Devils’ final flurry, the teams engaged in a back-and-forth contest that was tied on three separate occasions.
The last tie came when the Warriors’ Quinn Mellow tallied on a 5-on-3 power play at 7:23 of the final period to make it 5-5.
But Rushton got the game-winner less than two and a half minutes later and Devils goalie Bob Wells turned aside everything he faced the rest of the way as the Port McNeill squad won its league season opener.
Rushton and Dutcyvich each finished with two goals for the Devils, who got on score each from John Murgatroyd, Ryan Rushton, Kurtis Grant and Moore.
Murgatroyd and Reed Allen each contributed playmakers with three assists, Dutcyvich had two assists, and Ryan Rushton, Bill Rushton and Al Rushton had single helpers.
Jake Colbourne and Shelby Cockell scored two goals each for the Warriors (1-1), who fell behind 2-0 before kicking off their comeback midway through the first period.
Brett Demoe had two assists and Brian Texmo, Jamie Burroughs, Brayden Demoe, Jordan Nicholson and Cockell added one apiece. Jason Saunders was saddled with the loss.
All league teams will be in action this weekend, with the Neucel Islanders of Port Alice hosting their season opener at 8 p.m. Friday against the Warriors. The Devils return to Port Hardy to face the host Bulls at 9:15 p.m. that night, then both teams will regroup in Port McNeill for a rematch Sunday at 5:30 p.m.