On the verge of not having a program due to low turnout, the North Island Eagles atom development team made the most of its available manpower last weekend, rolling to a two-game, home-and-home sweep of the Campbell River B Tyees.
The atoms rolled to an 11-2 win Saturday at Strathcona Gardens, then posted a 12-4 win over the Tyees Sunday in Port Hardy.
With just 12 players on the roster, the Eagles atoms needed an exemption from the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association to compete in league play this season. Returning head coach Marty Gage said the team is a healthy mix of six second-year veterans from last season’s squad along with six promising newcomers.
“I was nervous that we weren’t going to be allowed to play,” said Gage. “I’m very grateful we have a team, but we could definitely use another player or two to join.”
New goalie Kayden Jones made a good showing in net both days, while the second-year quartet of Payton Laming, Rhys Dutcyvich, Ryan Patterson and Mathew Saunders all piled up multiple goals to lead the parade on the scoresheet.
“Our team played an aggressive, hard-working couple of games, which Campbell River was no match for,” said Gage. “(But) Campbell River is a weaker team this year and we will get our chances to face some tougher competition.”
First, however, the teams will square off one more time, this Saturday at 12:45 p.m. in Port Hardy. The atoms will then travel to Port Alberni for a Thanksgiving weekend tournament before resuming preseason league play.