Last weekend the Campbell River Minor Hockey Association hosted the Annual Bantam House Tournament at Strathcona Gardens.
Five Campbell River teams and five out of town teams from Comox Valley, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Port Hardy and Cowichan Valley, competed over the three days leading up to the big Gold Medal game on Sunday afternoon.
The final proved to be extra exciting as two Campbell River teams faced each other for gold and silver – the CR Eagles and the CR Bears.
The first goal on the board went to the Eagles – thanks to Jaxon Ward and assisted by Carter Dashkewytch.
This was followed not long after by a shot from CR Bears player Matthew Leard, assisted by Drew Savery tying the game. The Eagles finished off the first period putting two more past the Bears goalie Cole Gent thanks to a second goal from Ward assisted by Cole Warner/ Mitchell Rogers and a great shot off the stick of Eagles player Max Bawks-Smith, assisted by Jared Baker/Dashkewytch.
In the second period the Eagles put two more goals up on the board courtesy of Jared Super (assisted by Max Bawks-Smith/Dylan Heemskerk) and Dashkewytch (assists from Bawks-Smith/Jared Super). The Bears ended the second period with one goal scored by Connor Ludvigson (assisted by River Berry and Nick Ordano).
With a commanding 5-2 lead over the Bears, it was not looking good for the under-dogs of the tournament. Heading into the weekend, the Bears had only ever won one game in regular league play. But out to prove otherwise the Bears fought back scoring three unanswered goals with the game tying goal coming with just 1:32 remaining on the clock from Savery assisted by Ludvigson. The arena erupted in cheers as the tournament winners were to be decided in a shoot-out.
Leard of the Bears shot first, putting the puck past Eagles goalie Nicholas Askey.
First skater for the Eagles was Rogers putting the puck past the Bears net minder. Next up for the Bears was Savery, easily putting it in the net again. The second attempt by the Eagles was from Bawks-Smith who was stopped by Gent. The third shoot-out skater for the Bears was Ludvigson who successfully buried the puck in the back of the net.
The crowd erupted and gloves flew in the air as the Campbell River Bears won the gold.