Despite missing some key cogs in their machine for all or some of the three Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League games they played last week, the Kerry Park Islanders came away with some respectable results.
The Isles had Keenan Eddy, Samson McLean, Jarret Malloch and Ty Smith all sidelined for various lengths of time and Connor Bissett playing injured, and then lost Brandon McClintick to a suspension after a staged fight during last Thursday’s game against the Victoria Cougars. They still collected three points on a win over the Westshore Wolves and an overtime loss to the Comox Valley Glacier Kings.
The Isles beat Westshore 6-5 last Wednesday, lost 3-1 to Victoria on Thursday, and were edged 3-2 by Comox on Saturday, with all games played on the road.
“For the results we’ve been getting, it’s pretty good,” Isles owner Mark Osmond said. “But we should be at the top of the South if we had our full team dressed for every game. I can’t really grumble. The effort is there, but it’s tough when we’re playing teams with a full team.”
Kayden Peck’s second goal of the night, scored on the powerplay with just 13 seconds left in regulation, stood up as the winner against Westshore.
The teams combined for seven, with the lead changing hands four times. Peck, Avery Nielsen-Webb, Brandon McClintick and Malloch had the goals for Kerry Park, who led 4-3 when the teams headed to the dressing rooms. Evan Easton made it 5-3 early in the second, but Westshore came back and tied it. Peck had the only goal of the third period.
Brandon McClintick finished the night with three points, while Peck, Easton and Braydon Nelson had two each. Chase Anderson started the game in net and stopped 28 of 33 shots over the first two periods. Parker Swanson came in for the third and turned aside all 16 shots he faced.
On Thursday, Will Connors staked the Isles to a 1-0 lead at 15:41 of the first period, but Victoria tied it less than two and a half minutes later. After a scoreless second period, the Cougars scored twice in the third. Swanson went the distance in goal, making 38 saves.
Twice on Saturday, the Isles battled back to tie the score against Comox, but they didn’t have a chance to respond to the Glacier Kings’ third goal.
Comox went up 1-o in the first. Nelson scored shorthanded to tie it at 16:12 of the second, but Comox restored their lead at 18:35. Tanner Tiel drew the Isles even with just under six to go in the third. The Glacier Kings potted the winner at 2:55 of the second overtime. Swanson finished with 13 saves as the Isles outshot Comox 40-16.
The Isles still have a pair of road games to go before they get a break for Christmas, visiting the Cougars on Thursday and the Saanich Braves on Friday. They return from the break with a home-and-home series against the Braves, playing at George Pearkes Arena on Jan. 5 and Kerry Park on Jan. 6.
“Hopefully everyone gets rested and healthy over Christmas,” Osmond said. “And we have a good January and February into the playoffs.”
Kerry Park also had three players named to the VIJHL Prospects Game in Campbell River on Jan. 7. Braydon Nelson and brothers Brandon and Tory McClintick will suit up for the South Division team that will take on the North prospects. The North Division team will include Cowichan Valley products Dawson Frank (Campbell River), Luc Wilson, Dylan Hartl and Derek Krall (all Nanaimo).
Osmond believes there should be lots of junior A and even college scouts in the stands for the game.
“It’s a good showcase for them,” he said.