PORT ALICE—A well-worn proverb posits “old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill.”
It’s a rather lesser-known corollary that says when treacherous oldsters also happen to possess skill, things can get downright ugly.
The veteran Port McNeill Mustangs, that went unbeaten in North Island Commercial League play this season, bolted to an 8-0 intermission lead and coasted to a 9-2 win over the Moose Knuckles Sunday in the A final of the 33rd annual Oscar Hickes Memorial Hockey Tournament at Port Alice Arena.
The Moose Knuckles were made up of a mix of Port Alice and Port McNeill skaters, most of whom graduated from high school in the last few years.
“We’ve got a team that gets thrown together once a year, just for this tournament,” Moose Knuckles forward Michael C. Farrell said. “Those guys have played together all season, so they’ve definitely got the veteran advantage.”
Mustangs captain Reed Allen noted his squad’s average age is 40.
“We’re old,” admitted Mustangs forward John Murgatroyd. “But we’re crafty. We’d just like to thank the organizers and everyone who put the tournament together.”
The other two finals provided all the suspense lacking in the tourney’s closing game. The Port Hardy Warriors scored a pair of second-period goals to notch a come-from-behind, 3-2 win over the Gold River Road Warriors in the B Final, and Relativity of Port Alice built an early 4-3 lead before hanging on for a 4-3 win over the Fanny Bay Flyers in the C Final.
The Oscar Hickes memorial has long since outlived its namesake, a former Port Alice millworker and hockey standout who died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 27. And now it will be losing its most long-lived referee, Dan Daly, who was recognized in a ceremony following Sunday’s A final after officiating the last of his 31 years of Oscar Hickes tourney games.
Fellow ref Doug Bondue “reluctantly” presented Daly with a jersey of Daly’s beloved Montreal Canadiens, inscribed with Daly’s name on the back. John A. Smith then gave a Neucel T-shirt and mug to Daly, who will retire from his job at the cellulose pulp mill next week. Afterward, Daly posed for a photo with Bill Rushton of the Mustangs, who drew Daly’s last Oscar Hickes penalty call.
The tournament, part homecoming weekend, part fundraiser and all party, ran for four days. It drew sponsorship from many Port Alice businesses, and helped raise funds for causes including the Henny Penny Play Group, Port Alice Old-Timers hockey, Port Alice Minor Hockey, Youth Soccer, the North Island Secondary School dry grad and the Legion Ladies Auxiliary.
Fundraising features included refreshments and meals in the form of the concession, beer garden, hospitality lounge, Ladies Auxiliary turkey dinner, prizes in the form of a raffle table, 50/50 draws and puck toss between Sunday’s finals. The tourney was organized and directed by Russell Murray.
Al Rushton scored a first-period hat trick and Glenn Moore, John Murgatroyd and Jarvis Walsh scored two goals each for the Mustangs, who saw their season-long unbeaten streak ended the night before in a 2-1 loss to the defending champion Neucel Islanders in pool play. The Islanders also blasted the Moose Knuckles in pool play, but came up on the short end of a three-team penalty-minutes tiebreaker against the Mustangs and Moose Knuckles and watched the final from the bleachers.
Bob Wells got the win in goal for the Mustangs, while Chris Dutcyvich rang up four assists while skating on the Al Rushton-Murgatroyd line.
Quinn Mellow’s apparent pass from behind the end line to the slot instead deflected off opposing goalie Bryce Mann’s skate with 6:27 remaining, lifting the Warriors to their come-from-behind, 3-2 win over Gold River.
The Warriors compete with the Mustangs and the Islanders in the commercial league, but they did not get an easy run in the B Division. All four of the Warriors’ tournament games were decided by a single goal, including a 6-5 round-robin loss to the Road Warriors they avenged in Sunday’s final. Cole Morton was the winner in net. Matt Wood and Corey Swain had two assists each for the Warriors and Trygg Carlson added a helper.
Matt Foster scored two goals, including the game-winner on a shorthanded breakaway, as the local Relativity club held off the Flyers 4-3.
Foster also scored the opening goal and assisted Drew Stoltz on the first of the game’s three shorthanded tallies as Relativity, a co-ed squad, raced to a 3-0 intermission lead. But the Flyers opened the second period with scored from Steven Delves and Jordan Lambert to close within one before Foster’s clinching score. Delves added a second tally with 3:39 to play to provide the final margin.Ryan Stewart earned the win in goal for Relativity, which got an assist from Larry Cowles.
Richard Balcke of Hyde Creek contributed an assist for the Flyers.
33rd annual Oscar Hickes Memorial Hockey Tournament Mar. 8-11 Port Alice Arena
A Division results
Islanders 8, Moose Knuckles 2; Mustangs 5, Anarchists 2; Gettin’ Greasy 1, Rusty Trombones 0; Rusty Trombones 5, Islanders 4; Moose Knuckles 2, Anarchists 1; Mustangs 9, Gettin’ Greasy 1; Islanders 2, Mustangs 1; Anarchists 5, Gettin’ Greasy 2; Moose Knuckles 3, Rusty Trombones 2.
Championship: Mustangs 9, Moose Knuckles 2
Knuckles 0 2—2
Mustangs 8 1—9
First period—1, Mustangs, A. Rushton 1 (Dutcyvich), 6:51; 2, Mustangs, A. Rushton 2 (Dutcyvich, Murgatroyd), 7:35; 3, Mustangs, Moore 1 (Cadwallader, B. Rushton), 8:23; 4, Mustangs, Murgatroyd 1 (A. Rushton), 9:06; 5, Mustangs, Walsh 1 (B. Rushton, Moore), 9:46; 6, Mustangs, Murgatroyd 2 (A. Rushton, Dutcyvich), 14:50; 7, Mustangs, Walsh 2 (Moore, B. Rushton), 15:22; 8, Mustangs, A. Rushton 3 (Dutcyvich), 19:35. Penalties—Moose Knuckles 1 for 2 minutes. Second period—9, Moose Knuckles, Achtzner 1 (Murray, D. Farrell), 4:37; 10, Mustangs, Moore 2 (Murgatroyd), 8:59; 11, Moose Knuckles, Achtzner 2 (Smith), 18:55. Goalies—Mustangs, Wells; Moose Knuckles, A. Senciw.
B Division results
Ice Devils 5, Team United 0; Road Warriors 6, Warriors 5; Warriors 5, Team United 4; Road Warriors 5, Ice Devils 1; Road Warriors 10, Team United 5; Warriors 5, Ice Devils 4.
Championship: Warriors 4, Road Warriors 3
Road Warriors 1 1–—2
Warriors 1 2—3
First period—Road Warriors, Haddocks 1 (Toohey, McLean), 14:32; 2, Warriors, Cockell 1 (Wood, Swain), 16:11. Penalties—Road Warriors 4 for 8 minutes; Warriors 2 for 6 minutes. Second period—Road Warriors, Roberts 1 (R. Lauzon, Hutchinson), :38; 4, Warriors, Cockell 2 (Wood, Carlson), 8:25; 5, Warriors, Mellow 1 (Swain), 13:33 (pp). Penalties—Road Warriors 2 for 6 minutes; Warriors 1 for 2. Goalies—Road Warriors, Mann; Warriors, Morton.
C Division results
Pioneers 10, Da Beers 1; Trailer Park Boys 6, Hardy Buoys 4; Flyers 9, Da Beers 1; Trailer Park Boys 6, Pioneers 3; Relativity 7, Pioneers 5; Hardy Buoys 5, Da Beers 2; Relativity 6, Trailer Park Boys 2; Flyers 6, Relativity 2; Flyers 9, Hardy Buoys 4.
Championship: Relativity 4, Flyers 3
Relativity 3 1—4
Flyers 0 3—3
First period—Relativity, M. Foster 1 (un.), 12:32; 2. Relativity, Stoltz 1 (M. Foster), 13:10 (sh); 3, Relativity, Histapalka 1 (Cowles), 16:18. Penalties—Relativity 2 for 4 minutes; Flyers 2 for 4 minutes. Second period—Flyers, Delves 1 (D. Foster), 6:05 (sh); 5, Flyers, Lambert 1 (Mike Miller), 9:13; 6, Relativity, M. Foster 2 (un.), 12:32 (sh); 7, Flyers, Delves 2 (Balcke), 16:21. Penalties—Relativity 3 for 6 minutes; Flyers 2 for 4 minutes. Goalies—Relativity, R. Stewart; Flyers, Mitchell Miller.