North Island Bantam Eagles battle Powell River Kings at Cruickshank Arena

After a triumphant 7-5 first round playoff win against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, the North Island Bantam Eagles had another hometown showdown on Saturday, this time against the Tier 2 league champions, the Powell River Kings.

Prior to the game, coach Ryan Handley said the Eagles had their usual practice on Tuesday and were “loose and feeling good.”

Emotions were clearly running high, as both teams had a noticeable jump in their step during warm ups.

The puck officially dropped at 4:20 p.m. at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena in Port Hardy, and it was the Kings who came out charging, drawing first blood at 13:57 thanks to a garbage goal from Callum Street.

The Eagles would shut down the Kings offence after that, with defenceman David Klatt setting the tone early with two huge bodychecks, and the first period came to a close without anymore pucks finding the back of the Eagles’ net.

In the second period, the Eagles finally struck back.

Ethan Bono scored off a big rebound at 9:27, assisted by Joey Grant and Chelsea Noel.

The Kings would answer with a goal of their own minutes later, thanks to Dignan Winmill finding the twine behind Eagles goaltender Griffin Handley, and then Gavin Mastrodonato added another goal at 5:29 to make it 3-1 for the Kings going into the third period.

The Eagles looked determined to tie the game back up after coming out of the huddle, and they skated down the ice towards the Kings’ net.

Mannie Brown jammed the puck in at 17:38, assisted by Noel and Bono, to cut the Kings lead down to one.

The Eagles would come within inches of tying the game off a huge point shot on the power play, only to be beaten by the sound of the puck hitting the crossbar.

The Kings fired back after that, and would go on to add an insurance goal before the final buzzer sounded, giving them a 4-2 victory that the gritty Eagles definitely made them work for.

After the game, coach Handley said he felt the team “worked very hard today and I am very satisfied with our work ethic.”

He added they outplayed a quality team who are “probably the best Tier 3 or Tier 2 team on the Island. If we had buried a couple of our power play chances it would have been a different game, and we were without one of our top defence in Cole Klughart, so it made others play some bigger minutes.”

Handley was proud of how the Eagles responded to such a big game against a team that is known for their speed and puckhandling skills, adding, “We know we can play with them and we know if we can keep up our commitment and intensity we can beat them. They can be proud of themselves as they left it all out there.”

The Eagles will be travelling down island to play the Tier 3 Nanaimo Clippers on Feb. 10. The Clippers posted a 8-3 record in the Tier 4 division this year. If the Eagles win, they will move on to the semi-finals.

Handley said the Eagles had previously defeated the Clippers 11-1 in the preseason, and they are looking forward to the challenge of playing them on the road.


Just Posted

Better At Home needs Volunteers this spirng

The Side-by-Side with seniors program aims to help seniors tackle yard work

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Wounded Warrior Run stops in Port McNeill

For Jacqueline Zweng, the Wounded Warrior Run is a personal matter.

Wounded Warrior Run 2018 leaves Port Hardy

The Wounded Warrior Run is a relay run where a group of runners cover Vancouver Island in seven days

Tri-Port Midget Wild push win streak to 8-0-1 with shutout win over Grizzlies

The Tri-Port Wild posted a 10-2-2 record this season, with 55 Goals For and only 24 Goals Against

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Canada rounds out Day 11 earning gold in 2 more events

Comox Valley’s Cassie Sharpe and fan-favourites Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir all earned golds

Trudeau announces two-way $1 billion investment deal with India

Some of India’s biggest companies say they will invest more than $1 billion in Canada in the coming years

Vancouver Island job market ever-evolving

Various sectors driving employment in region will be represented at Black Press career fair in Comox Feb. 8

’60s Scoop group educates survivors, pushes rejection of federal settlement

Federal government’s compensation proposal includes $50 million for an Indigenous Healing Foundation

As ‘Black Panther’ shows, inclusion pays at the box office

At the box office, inclusion is paying — and often, it’s paying off big time

Washington senator wants B.C. to follow suit and phase out net-pen fish farms

An American ban will be less effective in the shared ecosystem of the Salish Sea, senator says

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Most Read