PORT HARDY—As Port McNeill bantam hockey coach Howard Saunders watched his son Brandon score a goal in Sunday’s game against Port Hardy, his cell phone buzzed.
As Brandon skated off and celebrated with his teammates, Howard pulled up a text message from his wife Karmen, who accompanied their other son, Mathew, at the atom rep tournament in Campbell River.
“Mathew just scored a goal,” Howard read on the screen.
It was that kind of day as the annual Port Hardy Minor Hockey Tournament wrapped up its three-day run with its playoff round at Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.
Saunders’s co-coach, Jim Foldy, also had one player in the bantam tourney and a younger child on the atom development squad in Campbell River. After Saunders relayed the message to fellow coach Jim Foldy the atoms had reached their tourney final, Foldy said he and son Jacob were planning to drive down as soon as their early morning game wrapped up in Port Hardy.
Port McNeill topped Port Hardy 14-0 in the seventh-place game with a team that included five players on loan from its peewee program.
“We’ve only got six or seven (bantams), if they all show up,” said Foldy. “These kids have done a good job,” he said.
“We had one loss where they gave up 10 goals, but otherwise they’ve been in every game.”
The Whalers opened with a 5-5 tie with Juan de Fuca, and later lost 5-3 to the Campbell River Cougars.
For its part, Port Hardy had a little lineup-juggling fun in its final tourney game.
Longtime goalie Sarah Case skated out, while Kristian Jensen put on the goalie gear for his first try between the pipes — at any level.
“It was fun,” Jensen said.
“It hurt though — especially that shot from the blue line by Brandon (Saunders),” he said.
“I think I’ll go back to defence.”
Brothers Denzel and Klyde Pausang of Port Alice combined for seven goals to lead the Port McNeill onslaught, Denzel scoring four times and Klyde adding a hat trick. Saunders had two goals and three assists.
Adrian Walker-Burroughs collected the shutout in goal.
The peewees contributed as well. Kerrigan Sharpe scored two goals, Kristopher Jollife of Alert Bay scored once, and Randi Sharpe added an assist.
“It’s faster, more competitive and more fun,” Sharpe said of playing up at the bantam level.
Sharpe, Ward and Emma Mitchell had already skated for multiple teams this season, the Port McNeill peewees and the newly formed Triport She-devils peewee girls team.
So it was not too much of an adjustment to fit in with a new group of teammates for the weekend.
“The first game it was kind of awkward,” Mitchell admitted.
“But then it got less awkward. Ish.” Fellow peewee Cameron Grant merely had to get reacquainted with players he joined as atoms during his second year of novice play.
“I haven’t played with them for a while, but it wasn’t that hard,” said Grant.
2012 Port Hardy Minor Hockey Bantam Tournament
Feb. 3-5 Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena
Third-fourth: JdF 4, Campbell River 2
Fifth-sixth: Comox Wookies 7, Comox Warriors 7
Seventh-eighth: Port McNeill 14, Port Hardy 0
Port McNeill goals: Denzel Pausang 4, Klyde Pausang 3, Brandon Saunders 2, Kerrigan Sharpe 2, Jacob Foldy, Kris Joliffe, Evan Gordon-Valan. Assists: Saunders 3, Gordon-Valan 2, Randi Ward, Tristan Boyd, D. Pausang.
Kerry Park 11, Port Hardy 1
Port Hardy goal: Brendan Williamson. Assists: Danielle Dawson, Cory Pearson.
Port McNeill 5, Juan de Fuca 5
Port McNeill goals: Cameron Grant, Foldy, Joliffe, Saunders, Jaidyn Standiforth. Assists: K. Pausang, Saunders, Grant, Standiforth.
Comox Wookies 6, C.R. Cougars 6
Kerry Park 7, Comox Wookies 1
C.R. Hawks 18, Port Hardy 1
Port Hardy goal: Jayden Paul. Assists: Reynold Henderson, Pearson.
Kerry Park 8, Comox Warriors 1
Juan de Fuca 7, Comox Wookies 4
C.R. Hawks 10, Port McNeill 2
Port McNeill goals: K. Pausang 2.
Juan de Fuca 3, Comox Warriors 2
C.R. Cougars 12, Port Hardy 0
Comox Warriors 7, C.R. Hawks 4
C.R. Cougars 5, Port McNeill 3
Port McNeill goals: Cameron Grant, Joliffe, Saunders. Assists: Sharpe, K. Pausang, Grant.