PORT ALICE—The village played host to eighteen teams last weekend for the North Island’s biggest hockey tournament, the 34th annual Oscar Hickes Memorial.
The teams were split into four divisions for round-robin play from Thursday to Saturday, setting the stage for Sunday’s finale.
In the C2 final, the Muff N Men triumphed over the Mainline Wild Timers, Dennis Foster bagging a hat trick and a pair of assists in the 6-2 win.
The C1 final saw the Ice Devils take on the Pioneers in a down-to-the-wire thriller. Scott Mitchell struck first to put the Pioneers ahead before Bill Rushton, then Mike Bell, found the net to put the Ice Devils 2-1 ahead at the break.
In the second half Shawn Desrosiers tied the scores before Gord Jones struck twice to put the Ice Devils 4-2 up going into the final minutes.
The Pioneers got a power play in the last minute after a slashing call and opted to pull goalie Doug Bondue to go six on four. They were rewarded when Dan Wilson found the net with 17 seconds left, but the Ice Devils were able to ride out the final seconds for the victory.
The B final pitted Port Hardy’s Warriors against the Horses who traveled from Duncan for their first Oscar Hickes.
Goals from Jeff Cowles, Ed Walkus and a pair of strikes from Shelby Cockell put the home side 4-2 ahead midway through the second, before a hat trick from the visitors’ Matt Foster gave the resurgent Horses a 5-4 lead with 1:27 left to play.
The Warriors swarmed forward from the puck drop to put pressure on the Horses’ goal. An attempted clearance from the visitors was brilliantly kept onside by the outstretched stick of Walkus who then found Cockell on the wing. Cockell’s at-pace delivery was turned home by Jake Colbourne to tie the score and force overtime.
The Horses broke the deadlock two minutes in, when Cole Whitelaw pounced on a rebound in front of the Warriors’ goal and coolly slotted home for the win.
The A final pitted Port McNeill’s Mustangs against local favourites the Islanders.
A pair of long-range strikes from the Mustangs’ Chad Mackenzie were answered by goals from the Islanders’ Richard Burgess and Grant Hawkins midway through the first period.
Chris Dutcyvich netted to give the Mustangs back the lead before setting up John Murgatroyd to restore the two-goal buffer before the ice-cleaning break.
The Islanders came out with a will in the second period, piling on the pressure in front of the Mustangs goal, and were unlucky to see a close-range effort go over the bar before Mustangs goalie Aaron Hinton performed a series of stops to frustrate the home side.
After weathering the early barrage the Mustangs went on the offensive, Dutcyvich adding a second goal, then putting in Al Rushton to double his assist tally.
Rushton then turned provider, assisting Murgatroyd on a goal to seal a 7-2 victory and the A division title for the McNeill outfit.