TYSON WHITNEY PHOTOS The North Island Bantam Eagles defeated the Kelowna Rockets 6-2 at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena in Port Hardy in a first round match up at the Championships.

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles blast Kelowna Rockets in first game of the Championships in Port Hardy

The Eagles are back in action at 7:30 p.m. tonight against the Dawson Creek KFC Canucks.

The Tier 3 Bantam Championships have arrived in Port Hardy.

After a lively player banquet Saturday night at the Civic Centre that featured former Vancouver Canuck Gino Odjick as a guest speaker, the North Island Bantam Eagles took over the ice the next morning at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena in a first round match up against the Kelowna Rockets.

In front of a jam-packed hometown crowd passionately cheering them on, the Eagles looked a little tentative throughout the majority of the first period, and it was the Rockets who would capitalize first at 14:21 thanks to a shot from the slot that was deflected past Eagles’ goaltender Griffin Handley.

The Rockets would continue to control possession of the puck from there, but they just weren’t able to add to their lead before the buzzer went, mainly thanks to the Eagles strong defensive work in their own zone.

Into the second period the game went, and it was the Eagles who finally started to find their legs and build confidence with more shots on net and some solid physical play along the boards.

After the Rockets were given back to back penalties, the Eagles would use the five on three man advantage to score at 11:44 thanks to a quick slapshot through traffic from defenceman Mannie Browne, which was assisted by William Grant.

With the game tied 1-1, the Eagles would start to pressure hard in search of the go ahead goal, and it was defenceman Cole Klughart who wound up and fired a rocket top shelf at 7:59, assisted by Liam Norman.

The Rockets weren’t ready to throw in the towel just yet, and they came back down the ice and scored off a nice two on one passing play at 6:30 to tie it back up.

With time winding down in the period, the Eagles defence would strike again. Browne got the pass from Grant and fired a hard shot at the net with 2:05 left to go, which ended up being tipped in past the Rockets’ goaltender by Klughart, giving the Eagles the lead right back.

After the second intermission, the Eagles came out of the dressing room ready and willing to put the Rockets out to pasture.

The Eagles would dominate all aspects of the game throughout the third, and they blew the scoreboard wide open.

Kai Verbrugge converted off a hard shot from the slot at 14:37, Klughart would complete the hat trick with another huge slapshot at 6:34, and then Verbrugge would cap things off with his second goal of the day by banging home a rebound at 5:12, which was assisted by captain David Klatt.

Final score, 6-2 for the Eagles.

All told, the Eagles showed a quite a bit of resilience and grit by battling back into the game after a somewhat rocky start, and their defensive core really stepped up the plate with some big hits and timely goals.

The Eagles are back in action at 7:30 p.m. tonight against the Dawson Creek KFC Canucks.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ near Quatsino

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Striking Western Forest Products workers willing to ‘modify position’ if talks progress

Brian Butler, USW 1-1937 president, says union and WFP to meet Thursday, Dec. 12

Midgets tie Alberni Valley Bulldogs, lose to Kerry Park Islanders

It was a bit of a rough road trip for the North Island Midget Eagles.

Help ‘Stuff the Goose’ at the Port Hardy Airport

The fundraiser ends on Dec. 18 so that the food bank can process all the donations before Christmas.

North Island Bantam Eagles are the top team in VIAHA’s Tier 2 division

“If we continue to play like that we are going to be a tough team to contend with come playoffs”

‘A loud sonic boom’: Gabriola Island residents recount fatal plane crash

Area where the plane went down is primarily a residential neighbourhood, RCMP say

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

One man dead after car crash in Nanaimo

One person died, another was injured in the accident which happened Wednesday on Nanaimo Lakes Road

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

B.C. guide fined $2K in first conviction under new federal whale protection laws

Scott Babcock found guilty of approaching a North Pacific humpback whale at less than 100 metres

Feds urge Air Canada to fix booking problems as travel season approaches

The airline introduced the new reservation system more than three weeks ago

Most Read