The Kerry Park Islanders got more outstanding performances from their young goalies over the past week as they collected two more wins and one loss over three Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League games.
Dryden DeMelo, 17, made 23 saves last Thursday for his second shutout of the season, then stopped 43 pucks in a loss on Sunday. In between, Eric Young — who doesn’t turn 16 until late December — had a 46-save outing in a win on Saturday night.
DeMelo backstopped the Isles to a 3-0 win over the Nanaimo Buccaneers at the Nanaimo Ice Centre on Thursday, while Brady Estabrook had two goals, including an empty-netter, and captain Matt Baird scored his first goal of the season on the powerplay. Kerry Park outshot Nanaimo 45-23 in the win.
“As usual, he stood on his head,” Islanders head coach Troy Newans said of DeMelo. “The guys played well defensively in front of him. It wasn’t an easy game, but we got through it and came out with the win.”
Young took his turn between the pipes on Saturday, and earned his fifth win in as many games this year as the Isles beat the Westshore Wolves 6-2 at Kerry Park Arena, avenging an 8-5 loss from the last time the teams met. The Wolves outshot the Isles 48-37, but Young was outstanding. His .951 save percentage leads all qualified VIJHL goalies.
“The boys were blocking shots, and even the ones that got through, Younger did a good job on,” Newans said. “We were happy with his performance. It doesn’t matter who we’ve put him up against, he’s come up with a win for us.”
Estabrook had his second straight two-goal outing and now has 10 on the season and eight in 10 games with Kerry Park. Also scoring were Matthias Raschdorf, Logan Walker, Reid Fitzpatrick and Cameron Nisula. Fitzpatrick finished with a goal and an assist, and Kirk Whittaker had two helpers.
DeMelo faced 49 shots from the South Division’s top team on Sunday afternoon as the Isles lost 6-1 to the Victoria Cougars to close out a stretch in which they played six games in 13 days.
“By the third period, we were banged up and bruised, and they just kept going at us,” Newans said. “They did a good job finishing up the win, that’s for sure.”
The Cougars opened the scoring at 4:27 of the first period and Walker replied for the Isles exactly two minutes later. The Cougars added one more in the first and two each in the second and third. Victoria’s best players were on top of their game on Sunday: Duncan’s Ben Brant had his 10th goal of the season and added three assists, while Jackson Estey scored four times to reach 20 on the year.
The Islanders now have nine wins and eight losses and sit fourth in the South Division.
“We certainly have to gain a few wins to get into the top half in the South. We’re happy with our production. I’m happy with the way they guys are playing.”
The team will get a chance to rest this week with just one game on the slate: a home date with the Saanich Predators on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.