Eric Kennelly of the Blues

Watson goes down to wire

The annual Rod Watson Memorial game goes down to the wire in Port Alice.

PORT ALICE—Local residents attended a fund-raiser here Saturday night, and a hockey game broke out.

The annual Rod Watson Memorial has been held to benefit Port Alice Minor Hockey and other worthy causes for several years. Last weekend’s event raised more than $1,000 to benefit cancer victim Dorothy Noseworthy, the mother-in-law of Rod Watson, Jr.

Watson was among a large sampling of the village to take part in the game as players, ranging from old-timers to current secondary school students. The approach was understandably low-key, on-ice heckling and mock ‘fights’ between the Blue team and White team participants. No scoresheet was kept, and refereeing chores were handled by local minor hockey skaters Tanner Roberts and Klyde Pausang.

In the end, however, it turned out to be a closely contested and entertaining game, with the Blues rallying from a two-goal, first-period deficit and hanging on for a 4-3 win as the Whites missed a couple of last-second chances to tie.

The contest drew a sizeable crowd, of all ages, who dropped donations into a bucket just inside the arena doors or ponied up for tickets for a post-game puck toss, won by Martin Kernachan.

On the ice, the Whites enjoyed a 2-0 lead after Jason Hodson punched home a point-blank rebound at 8:48 of the opening period. But the Blues tallied one goal later in the period and opened the second with another to tie it, 2-2.

White took its first lead at 14:16 of the final period, thanks to a passing turnover by Team Blue at its own blue line.

Michael Farrell intercepted the pass and pushed it ahead to Russell Murray, who went top shelf on goalie Doug Bondue. Less than two minutes later, Zach Cameron came from behind the net to loft a backhand from the circle that snuck just inside the far post to pad Blue’s lead to 4-3.

But White wasn’t finished, even when forced into a penalty kill in the last two minutes. Engaged in a positioning battle with defenseman Dave Stewart in front of the Blue goal, Adam Farrell managed to tip in a shorthanded point shot by Shane Murdoch with one minute remaining to make it 4-3.

After pulling Bondue a few moments later, Team White had several more chances. The best came right at the end of the game, but Rory Bondue sent a shot from the high slot skittering just over the crossbar. When the puck caromed off the back glass it bounced alongside the unguarded right post, but Bruce Murray fanned on the bouncing puck and the horn sounded.

 

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