Although they had two solid outings over the weekend, the Kerry Park Islanders had nothing to show for it.
“The boys played two really good games, they just didn’t get any points,” Islanders owner Mark Osmond said. “I think we deserved some points this weekend. We just didn’t get them.”
The Isles were facing two of the top teams in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League as they visited the Campbell River Storm on Friday and hosted the Victoria Cougars on Saturday. Although they lost both games, 3-1 and 4-2 respectively, Osmond wasn’t disappointed.
“I can’t fault the effort,” he said. “They played very well.”
The loss to the Storm was essentially a 2-1 game, as Campbell River potted an empty-netter with 19 seconds left to play.
“The coaches said they played 60 minutes against the top team in the league,” said Osmond, who didn’t make the trip north. “They came up a little short; they just couldn’t bury the puck.”
Evan Easton scored Kerry Park’s only goal on the powerplay, at 5:34 of the third period. Chase Anderson made 26 saves in the Isles’ net.
The Islanders’ bus broke down in Campbell River, and the players didn’t get home until 3:30 a.m. Several of them also got sick on the trip, possibly with food poisoning, Osmond speculated, but he wasn’t certain. Most of them still played on Saturday night in spite of not feeling well. Anderson, however, couldn’t even get out of bed, forcing newly acquired Parker Swanson to make his first appearance in the Kerry Park net, without a backup dressed.
“He played very well,” Osmond said of the new goalie, who the Isles brought up from Minnesota. “He kept us in it most of the game.”
The Isles outshot Victoria 42-24 over the night, but struggled to get the puck past Cougars netminder Patrick Ostermann. Trailing 2-0 after two periods, Kerry Park got on the board 45 seconds into the third, courtesy of Samson McLean. Victoria answered back just over a minute later, but Parker Ellis got the Isles back within one with a shorthanded breakaway goal at 6:32. One more goal sealed the win for Victoria.
It was a tough night for any goalie to make his debut, as the Isles played their 10th annual Nick Collins Game, honouring a former minor hockey goaltender who died in 2007 when he was struck by a car. Nick’s parents, Bob and Jan, are both longtime volunteers for the Islanders organization. The Collins family — with whom Swanson will be billetted this season — was presented with game-worn jerseys from each of the nine VIJHL teams at the end of the game.
The Isles will be in action at Oceanside on Wednesday, then home to Westshore on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Oceanside again on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.