PORT HARDY—Quinn Mellow punched home a tiebreaking, power-play rebound to break a 1-1 tie and Eddie Walkus went on to notch a hat trick as the Warriors pulled away for a 5-1 win over the Port Hardy Bulls Friday in the North Island Commercial Hockey League season opener at Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.
Thanks in large part to the play of Bulls’ goalie Colin Hunko, the game was tied 1-1 with 4:01 left to play. Thats when Mellow, camped in front of the crease, got his stick on a rebound of Jordan Nicholson’s point shot and banged away at it several times before beating Hunko for a 2-1 lead.
That opened the floodgates for the Warriors, who got back-to-back goals from Walkus 11 seconds apart, and a punctuation goal from Shelby Cockell with seven seconds remaining to provide the final margin.
Despite controlling play throughout most of the first period, the Warriors managed just one goal, when Walkus one-timed a pass from below the end line by Mitchell Walker past Hunko at 10:17.
The Bulls evened the score at intermission when Cody Diotte redirected Lucas Noel’s point shot past goalie Cole Morton.
Walker, Jared Breitkreitz and Corey Swain each had two assists for the Warriors, and Nicholson and Darryl Cockell had one apiece.
Bulls 2, Mustangs 2
Steve Verbrugge’s goal with eight seconds remaining lifted the visiting Bulls to the tie against Port McNeill in the Mustangs’ season opener Sunday at Chilton Regional Arena.
Stars 11, Rookies 4
Mike McCulley’s hat trick led the offensive parade as the Stars cruised to the win Sunday in Port Hardy. Tanner Beck, Jon Domalain and Malcolm Richards added two goals each in the victory. Albert Brotchie scored twice for the Rookies.
Smokers 8, Oilers 6
Rolando King scored four goals, including the tiebreaking tally with 7:48 to play, as the Smokers picked up the win Saturday in Port Hardy. Wally King added two goals. Jordan Thompson notched a hat trick for the Oilers and Evan Bridger added a pair of scores, including a goal that tied the game 6-6 with 9:51 to play.
Whalers 12, Rookies 2
Jordan Thompson’s five goals paced the Whalers Saturday in Port Hardy. Joe Humphries scored twice and five different players collected on goal. Mitch Nelson had a goal and an assist for the Rookies.