U18 North Island Eagles finish 2-2 at Tier 3 BC Championship held in Port Hardy

Opening night puck drop. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Tyler Roper scores for the North Island Eagles against the Terrace Kermodes in the opening night game and then celebrates with his teammates. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)Tyler Roper scores for the North Island Eagles against the Terrace Kermodes in the opening night game and then celebrates with his teammates. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Tyler Roper celebrates with his linemates after scoring against Terrace. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Logan Lamothe makes a great save against the Quesnel Thunder on Sunday night. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)Logan Lamothe makes a great save against the Quesnel Thunder on Sunday night. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
William Grant skates towards his own net in the third period against the Quesnel Thunder on Sunday night. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)William Grant skates towards his own net in the third period against the Quesnel Thunder on Sunday night. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Griffin Handley in net for the Eagles. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Eagles vs. Quesnel. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Eagles vs. Terrace. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Eagles vs. Terrace. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Eagles vs. Terrace. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Eagles vs. Terrace. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Opening night ceremony. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Opening night ceremony. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Eagles vs. Terrace. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Opening night ceremony. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Opening night ceremony. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Eagles vs. Terrace. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Eagles vs. Quesnel. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Eagles vs. Terrace. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Eagles vs. Terrace. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Eagles vs. Terrace. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)

The U18 North Island Eagles came out firing to start the Tier 3 BC Championship hockey tournament.

The tournament was held in Port Hardy at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena from March 19-22, and the Eagles looked very sharp in their first morning game on Saturday, March 19, against the Sunshine Coast Blues.

The Eagles converted at 5:53 of the first period thanks to William Grant finding the back of the net (assisted by Landon Turgeon and Jack Barrett).

The Blues would go on to tie things up at 10:14 of the second period after Nicolas Alexis buried the puck past Eagles’ goaltender Logan Lamothe, assist on the play going to Ben Walker, but the Eagles kept pressuring from there, and it was Kale Hunt who scored the go-ahead goal at 5:53, with the assist going to Christopher Topfer.

The Eagles would add an insurance goal in the third at 12:25, Grant’s second of the game (assisted by Adam Russell), and that was all she wrote for the Blues, as the game came to an end 3-1.

Eagles coaching staff, Mike Bell, Glenn Moore and Cole Morton, noted afterwards that it was easily “one of the most complete games we have played all season,” adding the Eagles had “great legs and moved the puck, giving the Blues no chance to generate any offence or momentum.”

The second game of the day for the Eagles was held later that night at 7:30 p.m., and it would prove to be a tough one against the Terrace Kermodes.

The Kermodes got out to an early lead at 16:43 thanks to a goal from Kelton Shinde, assisted by Logan Kuehne, and then they would add another goal at 15:48 from Jackson Mulder, assist going to Logan Kluss, to make it 2-0.

That was when the Eagles’ Tyler Roper fired a rocket of a shot through traffic and found the twine at 13:32, assist on the play going to Zach Spafford.

The Kermodes would add another goal at 10:54 from Shinde to keep the two-goal lead in tact, but the Eagles refused to give up. Hunt came in on a breakaway and buried the puck past Kermodes goaltender Mark Pietralla with 3:19 left on the clock to cut the lead to 3-2 going into the second period.

Penalties would ultimately end up costing the Eagles the game from that point on, as the Kermodes would score four more goals over the last two periods courtesy of Braden Venard, Kuehne, Zachary Gull, and Mulder, whereas the Eagles managed only one more goal from Russell, assisted by Barrett.

All told, the Kermodes hammered the Eagles 7-3 over three periods.

“Our second game versus Terrace was a tough one,” said the Eagles’ coaches. “Not only was it the first time this season we have played two games in one day, the fellas being in their gear for such a long time through the opening ceremonies was [also] a challenge. Once the puck was dropped we found out real quick they could skate, and it took us some time to adjust to their speed – they got a couple early ones which forced us to chase the game, and in doing so, we took some untimely penalties.”

The Eagles would ultimately rebound from the loss on Sunday night against the Quesnel Thunder, where they dominated the game over all three periods and skated away with a big 4-1 victory. Goals were scored by Roper, Barrett (x2), and Yuri Noel. Assists went to Barrett, Spafford (x2), and Rylan Krawietz.

The Eagles coaching staff noted they won because the team got back to playing their game.

“Like many teams, we are much more dominant when we get an early lead and it was the bounce back game we needed.”

After posting a 2-1 record, the Eagles had a do-or-die evening game against the Nelson Leafs on Monday, March 21.

The Eagles needed to win the game by at least four goals in order to advance to the semi-finals on Tuesday, but they started off on the wrong foot as the Leafs scored the opening goal at 14:42 of the first period thanks to Nathan Medeiros, assisted by Nathan O’Brien.

The Eagles would find the net minutes later at 11:16 off a beauty of a shot by Jack Barrett to tie the game back up, but after that it was all Leafs as they added four more goals over three periods courtesy of Simon Forrester, Reid Gerrand, Koby Upper, and Ethan Bennett, assists going to Beynon Smart, Upper, and Bennett (x2).

Zach Spafford was able to notch one more goal for the home team, but that was all she wrote as the game came to a quiet 5-2 ending and the Eagles were officially eliminated from the tournament.

The Eagles coaching staff, Mike Bell, Glenn Moore and Cole Morton, noted after the game it was “not exactly the storybook ending we were looking for.”

They said the Eagles had played a very good game against Quesnel the night before, “which had put us in a position to be in the mix, but as the results of other games on Monday unfolded we knew we were in [a tough spot] before the opening face off. Knowing we had to win by at least four goals, the fellas still went out and laid it all on the line, and the coaching staff was so proud that they never gave up, working hard until the final buzzer.”

The coaches added it turned out to be a really emotional night for the team.

“Not only did our season come to an end without getting to the top of the mountain, but we also had to say goodbye to our seniors (Matthew Datos, Mannie Browne, Griffin Handley and Tyler Roper), four guys who have represented the Eagles logo to the fullest in their time.”

To end the season, the coaches said they would like to thank all of the fans of the North Island.

“They came out and supported this group and stayed till the final buzzer, and also all the people who put in so many hours to make this tournament and the season an amazing experience.”


@NIGazette
editor@northislandgazette.com

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