PORT ALICE—With his grandparents looking on from the bleachers while celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, Clayton Bono scored the final goal for the North Island Eagles peewees in Saturday’s hockey game against Campbell River.
It would have been even better had it been a game-winner.
Bono’s quick wrist shot from the bottom of the circle off a pass from Josh Borg with 2:49 left to play lifted the Eagles to a 5-5 tie with the Tyees at Port Alice Arena.
“I saw it coming out of the corner,” said Bono, who very nearly did not play in the game due to an illness during the week. “(Borg) passed it to me and I shot it in the bottom corner. It felt good; I didn’t really feel that good earlier today.”
The goal came with Bono’s father Ray on the bench as assistant coach and his grandparents, Werner and Carol Manke, in attendance on their golden anniversary. Clayton, however, very nearly missed the game himself.
“He was basically a game-time decision,” Ray Bono said. “He’s been sick for a little while.”
It was a bit of an unusual game, with six of the 10 goals coming during a four-and-a-half-minute stretch of the second period and the rest of the contest dominated by defence and goaltending.
After the Eagles grabbed a 2-1 lead on Tanner Roberts’ power-play shot from the high slot at 10:01 of the second period, Campbell River responded with three straight scores within a minute and three seconds to jump ahead 4-2.
Just a minute later, the peewees began their own comeback on an unassisted tally by David Charlie, followed two minutes later by a Tianna Walkus goal that tied the game 4-4 with 29 seconds left in the second.
“The kids stopped skating there for a while,” Ray Bono said. “Then they started skating again and turned it around. That’s something we coaches have emphasized to them, to keep skating and win every shift.”
That ended the scoring outburst, but the Tyees managed to go up 5-4 when a redirected shot slipped past Eagles goalie Michael McLaughlin. The Eagles weren’t finished, however, and kept pressure in the Campbell River zone until Clayton Bono struck for the tying goal.
The peewees, scheduled to begin the playoffs this weekend, finished 2-9-1 in Vancouver Island Hockey League Division 4 play. But the two wins and the tie all occurred in the final four games as the squad made huge strides from the beginning of the season.
“The kids are skating pretty well,” Ray Bono said. “I think we’re capable of beating any of these teams. From the start of the year they’ve improved a lot.”
Benton Browne scored the Eagles’ first goal, tying the game briefly at 1-1 early in the second period.
Roberts finished with a pair of assists and Charlie and Borg notched helpers.