The Kerry Park Islanders ended October on a high note, with back-to-back victories over a pair of their Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League South Division rivals.
The Isles picked up a 7-4 road win over the Peninsula Panthers last Friday, and followed it with a 5-2 victory over the Westshore Wolves at home on Saturday.
On Friday, the Panthers scored the only goal of the first period, and the Islanders were down 2-0 before they caught fire and outscored the Panthers 4-1 in an explosive five-minute span.
“I don’t think we ever lost control of the game,” Islanders owner Mark Osmond said. “Once it was 2-1, we carried it from there.”
Caleb Franklin led the way in the decisive victory with two goals and two assists, and Jarret Malloch and Tanner Tiel each had a goal and a helper. Will Connors, Eric LeBlanc and Jacob Malloch also scored, and Brad Bagnall and Brandon Wilson each had two assists. In goal, Rett Rook made 24 saves for the win.
The victory proved costly, however, as the Isles, who were short-staffed to begin with, lost forward Jack Kendall to a broken nose and defenceman Kyle Bell to a separated shoulder.
“Last time he played [at Panorama], he had a concussion and was out for three weeks.” Osmond said of Bell. “He’s hating that place right now. He might be a healthy scratch for us next time we play there, just to protect him.”
The game against Westshore was a tighter contest than the night before, and closer than the final score would suggest.
The Isles went up 3-0 in the first period on goals by Franklin, Samson McLean and LeBlanc, but the Kerry Park brass had a feeling the game wasn’t over yet.
“We told the guys they’d come out hard,” Osmond said.
The Wolves battled back, scoring the only goal of the second period, then added a powerplay marker at 13:34 of the third to get within one. Jacob Malloch added some insurance into the empty net with 1:04 remaining, and Scott Smith hammered the win home with an even-strength goal after that.
Jacob Malloch finished with a goal and an assist, and Wilson had two helpers, while Chase Anderson earned the win with a 29-save performance.
The Isles got a boost last weekend as defenceman Tanner Browne returned to the lineup and played his first games of the season. The team also recently traded Parker Ellis to Westshore for future considerations.
This week, the Isles will get a crack at ending their four-season-long losing streak against the Victoria Cougars with a pair of home games this Saturday and next Tuesday (both at 7:30 p.m.), beginning a span of five games in nine days, four of which will be played at Kerry Park.