PORT HARDY — Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena in Port Hardy played host to an atom-level hockey tournament last weekend.
Teams from Port Hardy and Port McNeill were joined by teams traveling from Campbell River and Nanaimo for a round-robin style series of games on Saturday and early Sunday to sort the teams for two finals on Sunday afternoon. The two local sides faced off in a battle for third while the two down-Island sides met for the championship.
In the third and fourth position playoff game the two local teams put on a show for the spectators.
The first period saw Port Hardy take an early lead before ending the period up 2-1. Port McNeill had a resurgence in the second, outscoring the opposition three to one to end the period ahead 4-3.
Port McNeill pushed ahead 5-3 at the start of the third before Port Hardy pulled back and the pair traded another goal each to leave the score 6-6 with six minutes on the clock.
Port Hardy thought they had done enough to win when Owain Jewell pushed the puck towards goal from just inside McNeill’s blue line and saw it trickle through everyone and end up in the net.
Ethan Bono for Port McNeill had other ideas though and took his chance on a breakaway to round the keeper and coolly slot home with just 18 seconds left in the game for the tie.
Organizers were happy to call the game a draw and both teams shared third-place honours.
Bono’s last-gasp equalizer sealed his hat trick to go with an assist for Port McNeill. On the Port Hardy side, Dominic Nelson was on song, scoring five of the seven goals, with Jewell scoring the other two while assisting twice.
In the final, the Nanaimo Hornets won convincingly against the Campbell River Teal. Nanaimo led 4-1 going into the final period and quickly extended that lead to 6-1 in the opening minutes.
Campbell River’s McLain added two more to his goal in the first period to seal a hat-trick after a teammate grabbed another on a breakaway. Nanaimo added three more of their own to finish the game 9-4 winners.
On the Nanaimo side, both Deruiter and Calverly scored hat-tricks of their own while one of the sides youngest players, their number six, Fryer, deservedly took the award for the Hornet’s player of the game.