The intermediate B Cowichan Valley Thunder may have scored nearly 50 goals over their first three games, while allowing just over a dozen, but head coach Lorne Winship isn’t expecting that trend to continue throughout the 2015 season.
Winship believes things will balance out more as the Island league’s season continues, but still feels his team will be a frontrunner for the Island and provincial championships.
"We have 15 returning players," he pointed out. "We only had four second-year intermediates on the team last year. I think we’ll be able to compete."
The Thunder opened their season last Wednesday with a 15-6 road win over the Saanich Tigers. Winship expects the Tigers to narrow that gap next time they meet.
"Just like last year, I think they’re going to be our nearest competition," the coach said. "I don’t know if the score was indicative of the game. I’m pretty certain that, going forward, they’re going to be much closer. I think they’re a pretty skilled team."
Colin Winship and Brandon (Skippy) Corby both finished the game with six points, Winship on three goals and three assists, and Corby with two goals and four helpers. Mathieu Jung was close behind with two goals and three assists, and Tyson Black added three goals and one helper.
Corwin Trent added a goal and one assist, while Kaine Dreaver, Steven Robertson, Kyle Page and James Taylor also scored. Kain Stewart picked up the win in net.
Two days later, the Thunder dusted the Juan de Fuca Whalers 18-7. Because JDF had a really short bench, the game went to running time midway through the second period.
"They only had 11 runners," Winship said. "Their coach said they were missing four or five second-year players and their No.1 goalie. I don’t know if we can judge them until we play them again."
Jung paced the Thunder with five goals and five assists, Tyson Black added two goals and four assists, and Jacob Taylor and Kyle Page each had a hat trick
and one assist. Colin Winship finished with five helpers, Trent had three goals, goalie-turneddefender Dallas McLaughlin scored once, as did midget callup Brody Black, and Dreaver, Brayden Zunti and goalie Marc Gagnon had one assist apiece.
Winship makes a point of saving milestone balls for players who score their first intermediate goals, and after putting aside six during Cowichan’s 16-1 win over Peninsula on Sunday, he’ll have to shell out for a new box of balls.
Zunti, Wyatt Gibb, Tyler Weidenfeld, Sean O’Neill, Hunter Hieta and Thomas Vaesen all scored their first goals at the intermediate level as Cowichan crushed the league newcomers.
"They’re a brand-new team, and they’re not at the level, probably, of any of the other teams in the league," Winship acknowledged. "There are two new teams in the league. That’s what the league needs."
Including the aforementioned half-dozen, the Thunder got their goals from 15 different players. Robertson was the only player to score more than once, while Jung, Corby, Trent, Tyson Black, Kyle Page, Mitchell Page, Jacob Taylor and Liam Clinging also had singles. Tyson Black and Colin Winship had five assists apiece, Jung added three, and Weidenfeld, O’Neill, Hieta, Vasesen, Jacob Taylor, Mitchell Page, Kyle Page and Brody Black each had one assist. Stewart came within a single goal of a shutout.
Cowichan will visit Juan de Fuca this Saturday. Their next home game will be on May 22 against Saanich at Kerry Park at 8 p.m.