PORT HARDY—The annual floor hockey tournament in commemoration of Tom Joseph and Gil Walkus Jr., held at Wakas Hall last weekend, proved that experience still has the edge over youth.
But only just.
In the final of the four-team Womens Division, the fresh-faced strike force of Chix with Sticks had combined to take a commanding 5-1 lead over Gil’s Girls midway through the second period when the incredible happened.
A pair of strikes in quick succession from the Girls completely turned the game on its head, and the Chix — who had been coasting to a near-certain win — were on the back foot for the first time as the Girls surged forward.
A fourth goal soon followed and when Pamela Charlie’s strike found the net to tie the game with minutes left, the crowd roared.
A late flurry from the Chix was repelled, in large part thanks to goalie Salla Sakow, who was quick to smother any ball that came within range and run out the clock.
With honours even at 5-5 the buzzer sounded, signalling a five-minute overtime period to sort the sides.
Courtenay Walkus was the hero for Gil’s Girls, firing home her second goal to complete the most unlikely of turnarounds.
The Girls were able to batten down the hatches for the remaining minutes and ride out the storm of Chix attacks to claim a hard-fought victory.
“I don’t know where that came from,” said organizer Lowena Walkus. “I believe Gil and Tom’s spirits were in the air.”
Charlie took the MVP for her performance, her two goals helping her top the points total in the playoffs.
In the Mens final, the newly formed Wolfpack had fought their way through a tough eight-team lineup to earn a spot against the veteran Gil’s Warriors, some of whom were fresh off the ice after competing in the Wild Women hockey tourney at the arena.
The 9-5 victory for the Warriors belies how tight the game was until the final five minutes.
The two sides fought a pitched end-to-end battle for the first period, the Wolfpack looking the stronger of the two despite the 3-3 scoreline. The Wolfpack were inches away from taking a lead into the break, a crafty backhand flick on the run by George Walkus hitting the crossbar and bouncing out.
The second period proved the difference however.
The two sides went tit-for-tat in the opening minutes, going to 5-5 before the Warriors pulled away.
A cheeky lift over the defender’s stick by Jeff Badger set himself up on goal and opened the floodgates for the Warriors.
A move from the first-period’s theme of long-distance strikes to more crafted attacks paid dividends for the Warriors, who quickly raced out of sight. From a 6-5 advantage with 5:49 on the clock, the side raced out to 9-5 in four minutes.
As the minutes ticked down, the Wolfpack became resigned to the defeat as the Warriors ran down the clock for a comfortable win.
Wallace Walkus of the Warriors got the nod as the Mens MVP for his playoff performances.