After a promising opening weekend, the Kerry Park Islanders lost some momentum in their second week of Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League play with back-to-back losses to South Division rivals.
The Isles fell 3-1 to the Peninsula Panthers on the road on Friday before losing 5-0 to the Victoria Grizzlies at home on Saturday.
According to Islanders owner Mark Osmond, the effort was definitely lacking on Friday.
“They might as well have not gotten off the bus, half the team, because they weren’t ready to play,” he said. “They’ve got a bit to learn about that.”
The Isles trailed 3-0 after two “awful” periods before they came out stronger in the third frame and finally got on the board on a powerplay goal by Ryan Paisley.
“That was a good period, but you can’t play one period of a game and expect to win,” Osmond said.
Goalie Chase Anderson played his first game of the season, stopped 30 of 33 shots, while the Isles managed just 14 shots on the Peninsula net.
Things weren’t any better against Victoria on Saturday, but maybe because the Isles had too much life.
“We took too many penalties again, and you can’t play that team from the penalty box,” Osmond said.
Including five 10-minute misconducts, the Isles accumulated 73 penalty minutes to the Cougars’ 26. Too often, the Kerry Park penalties came in retaliation to misdeeds by the Cougars. The Cougars, Osmond said, have always been good at goading the Islanders into taking bad retaliatory penalties.
“The day our guys realize that is the day we beat Victoria,” Osmond said. “[The Cougars] are not going to get the calls against them.”
The Islanders were badly outshot once again, 49-16, as Ty Rennie was kept busy in the Kerry Park net.
“No two ways about it, they are a very good team,” Osmond said. “But they are beatable. It’s just a matter of staying out of the penalty box, and playing five-on-five for 60 minutes.”
Osmond remains insistent that this is the season that the Islanders will beat the Cougars, something they haven’t accomplished in more than three years.
“We’ll get there at some point, he said. “It’s a matter of putting a few wins under our belt. We have some winnable games coming up, and if we can put a few wins together, that will give the guys some confidence. There’s lots to learn from the last few games.”
Prior to last weekend’s games, Isles made two separate trades with the Westshore Wolves. Goalie Leighton Williams, who returned from a junior A tryout in Ontario only to find the Isles already committed to Rennie and Anderson, was shipped to Westshore for future considerations in one deal. The other trade, also for futures, saw forward Tyson Malloch sent to the Wolves where he will get a chance to play with his brother Jacob.
To round out the roster, the Isles signed forward Parker Ellis out of the major midget ranks, and they will get veteran Corey Peterson back from a suspension this coming weekend.
The Isles will visit the Westshore Wolves this Wednesday, then play back-to-back home games, against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings on Saturday at 7 p.m. and the Saanich Braves on Sunday 3 p.m.