PORT HARDY—The Port Hardy Bulls' got the final weekend of the regular season off to a great start with a 5-4 win against the Port McNeill Mustangs on Dec. 14.
The Bulls opened their account after just 29 seconds when Richard Burgess slotted a pass that Curtis Martyn turned into the opening goal. Chris Dutcyvich leveled the score four minutes later for the Mustangs.
The rest of the period was all Bulls as the Hardy side went into the break ahead 4-1 courtesy of goals from Steve Verbrugge, Chad MacKenzie and Will Jacques.
The Mustangs pulled one back almost straight after the break through a John Murgatroyd goal, supplied by brother Joe, setting the scene for a dramatic finish.
The Bulls (3-7-1) found themselves in penalty trouble in the last six minutes with two on the bench, and the Mustangs (4-3-1) took full advantage.
First Reed Allen and then Ryan Rushton struck for the McNeill side through John Murgatroyd assists to level the score with just four minutes on the clock.
The pendulum swung the other way a minute later as a pair of Mustangs found themselves on the bench and Jacques struck again to earn the win for the Bulls.
Warriors 6, Bulls 4
The Warriors (6-4-1) took command of the Dec. 15 contest in Port Hardy within the first minute through a Shelby Cockell strike off of Eddie Walkus' assist.
The Bulls put on the pressure in search of an equalizer, but the Warriors looked the more dangerous as the period went on, looking sharp on the break, with Cockell in particular seeming consistently able to get goal side of the Bulls' defence.
Quinn Mellow increased the Warriors' lead with 12:55 left in the period through a solo effort before Richard Burgess pulled one back for the Bulls a minute later through a Curtis Martyn assist.
A Jared Breitveitz strike restored the Mustangs lead off a Bulls penalty with 6:40 left in the period before the Bulls pulled another goal back just before the break through Matt Wood to go in 3-2 behind.
The Mustangs extended their lead in the second period to 6-2 courtesy of goals from Walkus, Breitkveitz and Mitch Walker before the Bulls found a sense of urgency.
Martyn pulled one back for the Bulls through a solo effort with 4:22 on the clock and Burgess made it 6-4 two minutes later through a Lucas Noel assist.
The Bulls and Warriors will kick off the second half of the season in the third annual Gilbert Walkus Memorial game Saturday, Jan. 5 at Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena. Walkus, a former Warriors standout, died in an apartment fire on Jan. 1, 2010.
Islanders 2, Warriors 1
A strong effort by goalie Adam Hall propelled the host Neucel squad to its fourth straight victory Dec. 14 in Port Alice. The victory pushed the Islanders above .500 for the first time this season with a 4-3-1 record.
Whalers 13, Oilers 4
In B League action, the Whalers ran out convincing winners over the Oilers last week.
Depth was the issue for the Oilers, who had only seven players available.
The Whalers took full advantage, regularly rotating players to keep fresh legs on the ice and run their opponents ragged.
The Oilers gave their all to their credit, with Malcolm Richard scoring a hat trick before Dennis Charlie added a consolation goal.
Kodie Wilson scored five for the Whalers, Clint Bleaney bagged a hat trick, Chris Ranger got a pair, and Carl Robitaille, Tom Kraweitz and Chris Olney got a single each to round out the scoring.