North Island Eagles forward Tyler Roper

Young atom team learning on the job

Eagles atoms continue to improve in placement play.

PORT McNEILL—The North Island Eagles atom development team is still looking for its first win. But the fledgling hockey club is having a great time with the search.

Three late goals allowed the Powell River Kings to pull away for a 6-2 win over the atoms in Vancouver Island Hockey League placement play at Chilton Regional Arena Saturday.

After falling behind early, the Eagles got goals from Tyler Roper and Ethan Bono to draw within 2-1 and 3-2 before the Kings’ late flurry put it away.

“It’s a work in progress,” Eagles head coach Ray Bono said of the team, heavily populated with first-year players and a new mix of coaches. “But the kids are having fun, we’ve got a great group of coaches, and we’re all just trying to help the kids develop.

“I think it’ll come.”

Only five players are back from last year’s atom development team. The rest are in their first year of competitive play, most of them freshly arrived from the novice ranks.

“It’s quite a transition from house hockey to this level,” said Bono, a first-time head coach who served as an assistant with last year’s peewee team. “They’re all just learning, getting to know each other and their game.”

The team includes players from Alert Bay, Port Alice, Port Hardy and Port McNeill, and the coaching staff is nearly as diverse. Jason Saunders returns as the only assistant coach back from last year. He is joined by fellow Port Hardy assistant Steve Dugas and Port Alice’s Jason Roper.

Doug Grant and Pieter Van Will of Port McNeill have also been helping out, said Bono, who gave a special shout-out to first-year manager Laura Evans.

“There’s not only a learning curve for the kids, but for the coaches and staff as well,” he said. “Laura’s learning on the fly and she’s doing a great job, at the same time she’s the ice scheduling coordinator for the whole North Island.”

Powell River carried a 1-0 lead into the second period Saturday, and extended it to 2-0 in the opening minute of the second. But Keenan Saunders won the ensuing face-off, and Tyler Roper collected the puck, split a pair of defenders at the blue line and skated in to score just eight seconds later to make it 2-1.

That score held up into the third period, when the Kings’ Ethan Taylor rattled a shot off the crossbar and into the net to restore the two-goal lead. Again, the Eagles answered, with Ethan Bono parking himself at the post and jamming home the rebound of Roper’s shot from the slot, making it 3-2 at 5:54.

This time, however, it was Powell River’s turn for a quick turnaround, as the Kings took the next face-off, flooded the zone and got a quick score from Gavin Mastrodonato to go up 4-2. Just 28 seconds later, Caleb Vallance got loose on a breakaway and unleashed a shot from the circle that Eagles goalie Kayden Jones got a piece of, but that managed to slip through and trickle slowly across the goal line for a 5-2 advantage.

The atoms, who opened the tiering round with road losses in Nanaimo and Parksville one week earlier, get their next chance at the win column when they travel this weekend to Port Alberni for the annual Bulldogs Thanksgiving Tournament.

 

Just Posted

Port Hardy’s RCMP Staff Sgt. Wes Olsen: ‘It’s business as usual’ after cannabis legalization

Local RCMP will still be on the lookout for impaired driving despite cannabis legalization.

Jay Dixon finishes top three for School and District Leadership award

“I believe it’s all of our responsibility for our schools to provide quality education,” said Dixon.

7 Mile Landfill operations tender closes October

Taxes covering the landfill have not increased over the past 15 years and are not expected to soon.

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

B.C. NDP retreats again on empty-home tax for urban areas

Rate reduced for all Canadians, dissident mayors to get annual meeting

Jets score 3 late goals to beat Canucks 4-1

Winnipeg ends three-game Vancouver win streak

San Group announces plans to build new sawmill in Port Alberni

San Group has purchased 25 acres of Catalyst Paper land for expansion

Two B.C. cannabis dispensaries raided on legalization day

Port Alberni dispensaries ticketed for “unlawful sale” of cannabis

Canada not sending anyone to Saudi business summit

Sources insist Ottawa never intended to dispatch a delegation this time around

VPD ordered to co-operate with B.C. police watchdog probe

According to the IIO, a court is ordering Vancouver police to co-operate with an investigation into a fatal shooting

Port Hardy municipal candidate Rick Marcotte’s profile

“I feel that we have had a wonderful council that can discuss issues of importance,” said Marcotte.

Earthquake early-warning sensors installed off coast of B.C.

The first-of-its kind warning sensors are developed by Ocean Networks Canada

Port Hardy municipal election candidate Leightan Wishart’s profile

Wishart speaks on his experience: “I’ve was elected to the School Board in 2002.”

Most Read