PORT HARDY—Wearing his late father’s No. 10, young Braden Walkus took the ceremonial puck drop and skated in to score the first goal in the second annual Gilbert Walkus Memorial hockey game Friday night.
The rest of the Port Hardy Warriors kept up the momentum as Gilbert’s former team went on to an 8-5 win over the Port Hardy Bulls before a large crowd at Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.
The game commemorates Gilbert Walkus Jr., one of the North Island Commercial League’s top players when he died along with two other people in an apartment fire on New Year’s Day in 2010.
His widow, Crystal, was presented Gilbert’s framed Warriors jersey in the inaugural game a year ago. This time, she and son Bryce looked on from the bench as Braden, who plays for the North Island Eagles atom development team, took the puck drop and sent a shot past Bulls goalie Barry Wilson.
The goal went onto the scoreboard to give the Warriors a 1-0 advantage before the game started, but it did not decide the outcome as the Warriors got plenty more offense throughout the night.
Shelby Cockell, Trygg Carlson and Corey Swain scored two goals each, and Swain narrowly missed a hat trick when he was stopped on a breakaway in the closing moments. Jake Colbourne also found the net for the winners and added two assists.
Quinn Mellow also had two assists, and Brayden Demoe, Brett Demoe, Jordan Nicholson and Shelby Cockell contributed singles. Cole Morton earned the win in goal.
Andrew Laming and Marty Gage had two goals each for the Bulls, who fell behind 6-2 in the first period but rallied within 7-5 with 4:17 to play. Curtis Martyn also had a goal.
Brad Zealand assisted on three of the scores, while Aaron Gaborysh, Scott Williams, Lucas Noel, Richard Burgess and Jordan Campbell had one helper apiece. Wilson took the loss.
It’s a new year and they have a new name, but it was the same winning result last weekend for Port McNeill’s entry in the commercial league.
The unbeaten Port McNeill Mustangs, formerly known as the Ice Devils before surrendering that moniker to the old-timers squad of the same name, posted a pair of wins over the Neucel Islanders in a home-and-home series.
The Mustangs traveled to Port Alice and notched a 6-4 win over the host Islanders Friday night, then scored the final six goals of the game Sunday for a 7-2 comeback win at Chilton Regional Arena in Port McNeill.
On Sunday, the teams skated to a 1-1 draw in a tight, defensive first period, and Port Alice took a 2-1 lead when Neucel’s Daniel Farrell snuck a wraparound past goalie Bob Wells two minutes into the second period.
That apparently lit a fire under the Port McNeill skaters, who dominated the rest of the way. Chris Dutcyvich tied it off a nifty crossing pass from Al Sharpton, and John Murgatroyd got the game-winner with the second of his four goals in the contest. Kurtis Grant tallied on a backhand while rushing in from the left wing and, after back-to-back goals by Murgatroyd, set up Jarvis Walsh for the final goal of the game.
Rushton finished with three assists, Grant and Shae Mattice had two, and Murgatroyd, Walsh, Bill Rushton and Clint Cadwallader had one each.
Mike Schofield added a goal for the Islanders, who got assists from Jason Hodson and Rory Bondue. Adam Hall took the loss in goal.
No scoring details were available from Friday’s series opener.