The Kerry Park Islanders will have to wait at least into another calendar year to put an end to their long streak of losses to the Victoria Cougars.
The Isles lost 4-1 to the Cougars at Archie Browning Arena last Thursday. It was the Isles’ seventh loss to the Cougars this season, and 39th defeat in a row, going back to March 2011, and including Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League regular-season and playoff matches.
“It wasn’t a bad game,” Islanders owner Mark Osmond said of the most recent game. “The guys gave it a good effort. When we lose, it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, but the effort was there, so be it.”
Kerry Park fell behind by one goal early, then went down by two on an unbelievable bounce.
“It was one of those ones we never get,” Osmond said. “It was a fluky goal. It was a shot from the point that hit a guy’s jersey. Normally it would just drop, but instead it flipped into the net.”
Tanner Tiel scored the Islanders only goal, an unassisted effort to make it 3-1 midway through the third period.
The Isles were outshot 41-30, but Chase Anderson made 37 saves to keep his team in the game. At the other end, Liam McCloskey, who the Cougars recently picked up from the Alberta junior A league, stymied the Isles.
“Their goalie made some phenomenal saves when it could have been 3-2 or 3-3,” Osmond said. “Most teams don’t get 30 shots on the Cougars.”
Barring a meeting in the playoffs, the Isles have just one more chance this season to end their losing streak against Victoria. The teams will meet again on Jan. 17 at Kerry Park Arena. The Isles haven’t beaten the Cougars in Mill Bay since January 2011.
Two days later, the Isles visited the Oceanside Generals, who sit last in the North Division, and who the Isles beat 6-3 in their last meeting. The upstart Generals prevailed 4-1 this time around.
“If we had played the way we did on Thursday, we would have beat them,” Osmond said.
The Generals have also added a new netminder from the junior A ranks recently, getting Tanner Douglas from the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, and their surge has included beating the North Division-leading Campbell River Storm on Sunday.
“They’re not a bad team now, especially with the goalie they have,” Osmond said.
After a scoreless first period, the Generals notched a pair of powerplay markers as they went up 3-0 in the second. Jordan Martin struck on the powerplay with his fifth goal in seven games to make it 3-1, but the Generals added one in the last minute of the game. Rett Rook started in goal for the Islanders and stopped 10 of 13 shots over two periods. He was replaced by Anderson, who made six saves on seven shots.
The Isles will use their Christmas break to recuperate before hosting the Peninsula Panthers on Dec. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
“We’re hoping the winter break is a respite for everybody.”
The team should get defenceman Connor Bissett and forward Samson McLean back for their next contest, although blueliners Tanner Browne and Kyle Bell remain out, and have been joined on the sidelines by forward Ty Berger, who suffered a concussion against Victoria last week.