The North Island Atom Eagles finished off the regular season with a bang, clinching the league banner on home ice.
After a tough run during preseason tiering, the Eagles managed to turn the corner and find some serious success in VIAHA’s Tier 4 division, going on a massive 9-0-1 run while scoring 67 goals for and only 22 goals against.
The Eagles last two games of the season were scheduled against the second best team in the division, the Victoria B2 Admirals, with the first game on Saturday at the Chilton Regional Arena in Port McNeill just an exhibition.
The game ended up being a close one, but the Eagles managed to skate away with a 4-3 win, thanks to goals in all three periods from Linden Tomasi (x2) and captain Axen Peterson (x2).
With the exhibition over, the league play game was set for 9:00 a.m. the next morning, and it definitely did not disappoint.
The Admirals got out to an early lead thanks to Grayson Dosouto firing a looping puck through the air from the point that tricked Eagles goaltender Drake Brooks, assists on the play going to Colten Durley and Luke Bernakevitch, but the Eagles came firing back after that.
Peterson scored with 16 seconds left on the clock, assists going to Linden Harrison and Levi McCart, and then in the second period Tomasi netted the puck at 12:20, assists going to Cameron Sheppe and Peterson, to give them a 2-1 lead.
That was when the Admirals’ Colby Berman converted at 9:55 to tie things right back up, assist on the play going to Preston Proulx.
With the game deadlocked 2-2, Peterson and Tomasi took matters into their own hands by taking over the game and scoring at 5:52 and :53 (assist on Tomasi’s goal went to McCart) to make it 4-2 going into the third period.
The Eagles continued to find the back of Hector Hall’s net in the third, with Jakob Pashley, Curtis Adams, Peterson and Tomasi all scoring to make it a huge blowout (assists on the goals went to Adams, Mattias Charlie x2, Tomasi and McCart).
The Admirals’ Nehemiah Plunkett managed to score one last goal with 50 seconds left to make it 8-3, but that was all she wrote for the Admirals.
After the game, head coach Shay Peterson said the kids are “stoked on securing the Tier 4 league banner” as they have had to “battle all year against a solid Victoria squad and this weekend was no different.”
Peterson noted that after a hard fought exhibition win on Saturday, “the coaches and I really tried to impress on the kids to come out strong and play a full three periods without letting up to prepare for what the playoffs might feel like. I feel the kids really stepped up their game Sunday and all three lines were firing and contributing.”
He added the line with Pashley, Adams and Charlie had the biggest improvement, “and they added two helpers when the game was close. We also had some really strong defensive moments when Victoria would make a push and our goalie Drake had a solid game between the pipes.”
He added he wanted to say a thank you to the Admirals for “their generosity towards our food hamper. They always bring a big donation and they did for the second time this trip up again. We’ve had very close games against them all year and really enjoyed playing them.”
Peterson said he and the coaching staff feel it’s been an amazing year.
“The kids are excited for their last tournament and a short break before we get to host our playoffs.”
The Eagles finished the regular season with a 10-0-1 record, with 75 goals for and only 24 goals against, which ended up the lowest goals against in the entire division.