Islanders slowly improving their fortunes

The Islanders’ fortunes appeared to be taking a turn for the better last weekend, at least until the third period of Sunday’s game.

The Kerry Park Islanders’ fortunes appeared to be taking a turn for the better last weekend, at least until the third period of Sunday’s game.

After the Isles dropped to 1-4 on the season with a 2-1 loss to the Westshore Wolves last Wednesday, they were hoping to pick things up with a pair of victories at home against beatable teams on Saturday and Sunday. Mission accomplished on Saturday as they defeated the Comox Valley Glacier Kings 5-4, but Sunday didn’t go so well as they let a 3-0 third-period lead slip away and had to settle for a 3-3 tie.

“It was a better weekend,” Islanders owner Mark Osmond said. “We were pretty happy with Saturday, and Sunday, most of it.”

Comox opened the scoring on Saturday, but the Isles pulled ahead late in the first period on goals by brothers Zack and Ty Smith. Keenan Eddy then staked Kerry Park to a 3-1 edge early in the second. The Glacier Kings came back to tie the score with two quick ones, but Eddy restored the edge late in the frame.

Lynden Eddy gave his team some insurance with an empty netter late in the third — and that insurance turned out to be vital as the Glacier Kings scored again in the last second of play. The Isles topped the Kings in the shot count 42-36 as goalie Chase Anderson made 32 saves for the win.

Against the Braves on Sunday, the Isles led 3-0 on a first-period goal from Abe Lamontagne and second-period markers from Tanner Browne and Corey Peterson, but the Braves came back to score three unanswered goals in the third.

“The players have to learn not to be complacent,” Osmond said. “Saanich just beat Victoria; they weren’t going to roll over.”

Some of the same old problems continued to show up despite the improvements over the weekend.

“We had a couple of good results,” Osmond said. “We’re still working on cutting penalties down, the selfish ones. They come back to bite you. We have to get the boys to understand that. When you’re slashed or hacked, don’t retaliate, don’t do anything that’s going to get you a penalty.”

The Isles did get Corey Peterson back in the lineup for the weekend games after he missed the first five games due to a suspension he incurred at the end of last season. Peterson compiled four points, a goal and three assists, in his first two games back. The 20-year-old veteran started his VIJHL career with the Islanders in 2012/13 before a trade to the Westshore Wolves midway through the 2013/14 season. In 133 career games over the last three seasons, he has compiled 151 points on 48 goals and 103 assists, and has a true offensive flair.

“He brings a new dynamic to the team, and he’s very encouraging to the younger guys,” Osmond commented.

In their last game prior to Peterson’s return, the Isles lost 2-1 to his former team, getting their only goal from veteran Lynden Eddy on a third-period powerplay. The Isles were outshot 34-27 with Rennie making 32 saves.

“The team wasn’t ready to play,” Osmond said. “Why, we have no idea. [The third-period resurgence] was too little, too late. That’s a team we should be beating.”

Seven games into the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season, the Isles have two wins, four losses and one tie.

“We were hoping we’d be 3-4 after the weekend,” Osmond said. “Hopefully the boys learned a lesson from the Saanich game.”

The Isles will visit the Campbell River Storm this Friday, then will play at home against Westshore on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and against the Storm on Sunday at 3 p.m.

This weekend, they will debut the pink jerseys that they will wear throughout October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The pink jerseys were the idea of Osmond’s wife, Denika, who lost her sister, Dawn Cleasby, to breast cancer. All the jerseys will feature the number 23, in honour of Cleasby’s birthday.