PORT HARDY—Port Hardy Bulls goaltender Colin Hunko stymied the visiting Port McNeill Mustangs for more than 39 ½ minutes in the teams’ North Island Men’s Hockey League game at Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.
Problem was, the game lasted 40 minutes.
Lucas Woo and Reed Allen punched home goals in the final 27 seconds as the Mustangs escaped with a 3-1 victory to improve to 2-0-1 in league play.
With the score tied 1-1, John Murgatroyd slotted a pass from behind the net to Chris Dutcyvich. Hunko stopped his one-timer, but was unable to smother the rebound. Woo collected the puck and roofed it for the game-winner at 19:33 of the final period.
The Bulls won the ensuing face-off and flooded the offensive zone in a desperate effort to tie the score. But Dutcyvich blocked a pass and shovelled the puck ahead to Murgatroyd, who led a two-on-none rush and crossed a pass to Allen for the final insurance goal 15 seconds later.
The closing score was redemption for Allen, whose own-goal in the opening period staked the Bulls to the early 1-0 lead.
Though their clinching goals came in the final minute, the Mustangs were actually far more dominant in the first of the two, 20-minute periods, pressuring Hunko and the Bulls’ defence with a devastating forecheck throughout.
But Port McNeill found the net only once in the frame, on a rebound score by Joe Murgatroyd midway through the period, to take a 1-1 tie into intermission.
The Bulls (0-1-1) found their groove after intermission and took the attack to the visitors. But Mustangs’ goalie Bob Wells proved up to the challenge and repelled each attack to secure the win in goal.
Lucas Noel was credited with the Bulls’ opening goal, and Hunko was given an assist.
It was Hunko’s second straight strong showing in goal for Port Hardy, after he kept the Bulls close in a 2-2 draw with the Mustangs one week earlier in Port Hardy.
Dutcyvich finished with assists on all three Mustangs scores.
The Mustangs were scheduled to host Port Hardy’s Warriors Sunday, but the game was cancelled when the visitors failed to arrive.
Warriors 3, Islanders 2
One week after the Port Hardy Warriors cruised to a wide-open, 14-6 win over the Neucel Islanders in Port Alice, the teams played a much tighter game.
A power-play goal by the Islanders early in the second period forced a 2-2 tie, and the Warriors (2-0) finally secured the narrow win on a score late in the second.