The Kerry Park Islanders wrapped up exhibition play last weekend with a perfect three-for-three record under new head coach Aaron Spotts, and will be ready for their Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season opener on Sept. 10.
“I like what I’m seeing,” Islanders owner Mark Osmond said. “The boys are responding well to Aaron. They’re playing a simpler system and I think it works. The boys are finding it easier to play.”
Most of the roster will be made up of returning players, Osmond noted, although the Isles do have a few new players signed, including local products Connor Bissett and Caleb Franklin.
After beginning exhibition play with a 4-2 win over the Nanaimo Buccaneers on Aug. 23, the Isles returned to the ice last Friday on the road against the Peninsula Panthers. Although the Isles had some hopefuls in the lineup while the Panthers iced virtually their whole team, Kerry Park still won 7-2. Back home against the same Panthers team the next night, the Isles won 5-1.
“All-in-all, I think we did very well,” Osmond said.
Playing on a line with Zack Smith and Ryan Paisley, Corey Peterson had five points Friday night on two goals and three assists. Smith scored twice and set up another goal, and Paisley had a single. Franklin and Patrick Poets also found the back of the net, while David Bittner, Keegan Bissett, Lynden Eddy, Kyle Green and Nick White each had one helper.
On Saturday, Franklin led the way with two goals, while Kyle Green, Zack Smith and David Bittner also scored. Bittner, Poets, Peterson, Tanner Browne and Connor Bissett had assists.
Dawson Haines rejoined the team from the Capitals camp on Saturday, and the Isles are still waiting for Keenan Eddy to return from the Caps camp.
Last year’s scoring leader, Braedan Cross, had already left to play junior A in Saskatchewan, and it appears that defenceman Taylor Armbruster is off to Saskatchewan junior A as well, while goalie Leighton Williams is headed to a junior A team in Ontario.
Ty Rennie, who played the whole game last Saturday, looks ready to step in as the No. 1 goalie, although the team is looking for a backup for him.
The Isles will open the regular season on Sept. 10 on the road against the Victoria Cougars. The home opener is set for Sept. 12, when Kerry Park will host Peninsula.