Home opener a positive sign for Isles

Mark Osmond hopes the Kerry Park Islanders set the tone for the 2014/15 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season by winning their home opener 6-2 over the Peninsula Panthers last Saturday.

"The boys played well and we had a good crowd," the Islanders owner said. "That’s the way we want to keep it."

The Isles opened the scoring 12 minutes into the game when rookie Patrick Poets potted his first VIJHL goal. The Panthers replied with a pair, however, and were up 2-1 by the end of the opening frame.

"The first period was a little flat," Osmond said. "I think the boys thought it would be an easy game. Of course, that’s not the way to think."

Head coach Dale Purinton provided a motivational speech between the first and second periods, and his team came back out and dominated the remainder of the contest.

After Cody Short and Matt Osmond scored even-strength goals in the second period, the Isles got a lengthy powerplay after Peninsula defenceman Brett Sjerven took multiple punches at Kerry Park rookie forward Keegan Bissett, who didn’t fight back. Sjerven was assessed seven minutes in penalties and a game misconduct, while Purinton was tossed from the game himself after having some choice words for the linesman who he felt wasn’t doing enough to separate the players.

Short and Nick Kean added goals on the ensuing man advantage, and Tyson Malloch rounded out the scoring with his first of the season in the third period.

Lynden Eddy finished the game with three assists, while Matt Osmond had an assist to go along with his second-period goal.

Leighton Williams earned the win between the pipes, stopping 26 of 28 shots. The Isles chased Peninsula starter Michael Frank, who allowed four goals on 16 shots, then scored twice on 11 shots on William Harvey.

The win at home came two days after the Isles lost 3-2 to the Nanaimo Buccaneers on Thursday.

"We were dominant for long periods of time, but we couldn’t get a result," Osmond said. "It was a little frustrating for the boys. They were playing well and losing. That’s what happens sometimes."

Eddy opened the scoring against his former team, but the Bucs rallied to take a 2-1 lead in the second period. Zack Smith evened things up in the third, but Nanaimo answered back with the eventual game-winner.

Chris Carpentier assisted on both Kerry Park goals. Ty Rennie took the loss in goal, making 32 saves on 35 shots.

Through their first four games, the Isles have six players – Smith, Short, Kean, Eddy, Carpentier and Ryan Paisley – averaging at least a point a game, and several more who aren’t far off that pace. That’s a good indication of the team’s depth, Osmond said.

"We’ve got lots of scoring throughout the team," he said. "That’s a good way to be. You want your first two lines to score, and if you get scoring from the other lines, that’s a bonus. I like the way things are going so far."

The Isles have a busy weekend coming up as they visit the Saanich Braves on Friday, then host the Westshore Wolves at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, and the Oceanside Generals at 3 p.m. on Sunday.