PORT McNEILL—Players from Port Hardy and Port McNeill minor hockey associations have often faced each other in the playoff round of both clubs’ tournaments.
On Sunday, both groups were winners in the fifth-place game of the Port McNeill atom tournament.
Matthew Jones of Port McNeill scored the tiebreaking goal off an assist by teammate Ethan Bono as North Island Team Two edged the Alberni Valley Kings 5-4 in the first of three tournament playoff games at Chilton Regional Arena.
With low turnout threatening Port Hardy’s participation in the tourney, the club’s atoms were split up and combined with a split group of Port McNeill atoms to create two “North Island” atom teams that competed in last weekend’s six-team tourney.
“When everybody is here, we have eight kids,” said Justin Reusch, the Port Hardy coach who shared bench duties with Port McNeill’s Nate Rutherford. “And usually one or two don’t show up. At least this gives them a chance to play.”
Dominik Nelson of Port Hardy had two goals and an assist, and Bono and Port McNeill’s Chelsea Noël also scored in the win, which was backstopped by Port McNeill netminder Avory Collins.
North Island Team One held the Campbell River Sharks scoreless through three periods in the third-place game, but still failed to come away with a win in that rarest of minor hockey occurrences — a scoreless tie.
After Port McNeill’s Joey Grant was stopped on the first shootout attempt, Campbell River’s Noah Braiden deked and scored past Port Hardy’s Avary Miller, who had been stellar for the North Island team in keeping the Sharks off the board for the preceding 45 minutes.
Rutherford and Doug Grant of Port McNeill shared coaching duties with Joe Jewell of Port Hardy for Team One.
In the championship final, Peninsula overcame a 2-1 second-period deficit and went on to take the title with a 5-2 win over Campbell River Black.
Port McNeill Minor Hockey Atom Tournament
At Chilton Regional Arena
Peninsula 5, Campbell River Black 2
Campbell River Sharks 1, North Island One 0, shootout
North Island Two 5, Alberni Valley 4
North Island goals: Dominik Nelson 2, Ethan Bono, Chelsea Noel, Matthew Jones. Assists: Bono, Nelson.
CR Sharks 7, NI One 1
North Island goal: Joey Grant. Assist: Owain Jewell.
Peninsula 10, Alberni Kings 1
CR Black 11, NI Two 3
North Island goals: Dominik Nelson 3. Assist: Matthew Jones.
Peninsula 6, CR Sharks 0
NI One 7, CR Black 4
North Island goals: Grant 2, Darien Johnson 2, Xander Rutherford, Kenneth Jolliffe, Angus Glazov. Assist: Grant.
NI Two 9, Alberni Kings 4
North Island goals: Ethan Bono 3, Nelson 2, Avory Collins 2, Noah Jensen, Chelsea Noel.
Peninsula 7, NI One 3
North Island goals: Jewell, Grant, Jolliffe.
CR Black 13, Alberni Kings 5
CR Sharks 11, NI Two 5
North Island goals: Connor Van Will 2, Bradley Hosken 2, Bono. Assist: Bono.