PORT HARDY—Luke Gage capped a monster weekend Sunday with a hat trick that included the game-winning goal as the North Island Eagles peewee hockey team topped Juan de Fuca 5-3 in Division 3 league play at Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.
In an exhibition game between the teams a day earlier, Gage had a hand in every goal of an 11-3 romp over the Grizzlies, scoring four goals and adding seven assists.
The Eagles wrapped up the regular season with a 5-3-2 mark and finished just one point behind Juan de Fuca (6-3-1), which began the weekend in first place in the league.
The Eagles, however, are its top-scoring team, a status that was not jeopardized last weekend. And with the continued improvement of first-year peewee goalie Kayden Jones and the rest of the defence, the team signaled it could be a force in the coming Tier 3 playoffs.
After a scoreless first period Sunday, Rhys Dutcyvich gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead with a goal at 5:25 of the second. Gage pushed the lead to 2-0 with his first goal less than four minutes later, but the Grizzlies quickly answered to make it 2-1.
That score carried into the third period, when Juan de Fuca got an unassisted goal from Nathan Bouveur off the opening face-off to tie the contest and put the home crowd on edge with 19:42 still to play.
But Gage scored off assists from linemates Dutcyvich and Mathew Saunders to make it 3-2 at 4:28 of the period, and struck again five minutes later to make it 4-2. Juan de Fuca found the net again to close to 4-3 with 5:25 left, but the score held until Ryan Patterson ended the suspense on an empty-net goal with 30.9 seconds left.
Saunders finished with three assists and Payton Laming added a helper.
Saturday’s scorefest included five goals by Dutcyvich and one each from Laming and Saunders. Dutcyvich (4) and Saunders (3) were also busy in the assist column as the line combined for nine of the 11 goals. Chelsea Noel also collected a playmaker with three assists, Braden Walkus had two and Patterson added one.