Isles beat South’s best and worst

The Kerry Park Islanders earned wins last weekend against the best and worst teams of the VIJHLs South Division.

The Kerry Park Islanders earned wins last weekend against the best and worst teams of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s South Division.

Forward Kayden Peck compiled five points over two nights as the Isles defeated the division-leading Saanich Braves 4-2 on Friday, then downed the last-place Peninsula Panthers 5-2 on Saturday.

“Two good games, two good results,” Islanders owner Mark Osmond said.

A 60-minute push allowed the Isles to beat the Braves in their own barn to start the weekend.

“We took on the top team in the South and beat ’em, with hard work and three periods of effort,” Osmond said. “It was a good team performance, with everyone battling. That’s what happens when you play three periods of hockey.”

After a scoreless first period, Caleb Franklin got the Isles on the board five minutes into the second, and Tanner Tiel and Peck also scored before the middle frame was over. Will Connors scored in the third to put the Isles ahead 4-0, before the Braves tried to make a game of it with a pair of powerplay markers.

Franklin and Peck both finished with a goal and an assist on the evening. In goal, Rett Rook made 28 saves for the win, while the Isles scored their four goals on 29 shots against Kerry Park goalie Riley Mathieson.

Friday’s game was packed with penalties to both teams as the Isles went 2-for-10 on the powerplay and the Braves were 2-for-8. Osmond felt the officiating crew was “a little harsh,” but acknowledged that they treated the two teams equally.

“It was fair that way,” he said. “But there wasn’t a lot of flow to the game.”

Connors racked up a team-high 16 minutes in the box, including a 10-minute misconduct early in the second period. He would add two more on Saturday to take the team lead in penalty minutes with 39, one more than Connor Bissett and two more than Ellis, who returned on Saturday from a one-game suspension to earn 10 more penalty minutes.

Back home Saturday, the Isles cruised to a win over the Panthers, who had been clobbered 11-2 by the Oceanside Generals the night before.

“We knew they would either be up for [Saturday’s] game or down in the dumps,” Osmond said.

It turned out that the Panthers were ready to play the Isles, and they opened the scoring early with a shorthanded goal. Jarrett Malloch answered back for the Isles midway through the opening frame on the powerplay.

“We didn’t play our best in the first period,” Osmond admitted. “But the guys improved in the second and third. At no point in the game did I think we were in trouble.”

Scott Smith gave the Isles their first lead of the game with a shorthanded marker at 4:20 of the second, then added his second of the game at 14:18, and Eric LeBlanc extended the lead exactly a minute after that. The Panthers got their second of the game late in the third period, but Peck restored Kerry Park’s three-goal edge with an empty-netter.

Peck finished the night with a goal and two helpers. Chase Anderson got the start in net for the Isles and did well on a quiet night, stopping 12 of 14 shots, while his teammates fired 28 pucks at Liam Tutte at the other end of the rink.

The Isles sit third in the five-team South Division, three points back of the Braves, who have played two more games, and just one back of the Victoria Cougars, who the Isles will visit this Thursday. Infamously, the Isles haven’t beaten the Cougars since March of 2012, and haven’t won a regular-season game against Victoria since Oct. 6, 2011.

The schedule won’t get any easier after that, as the Isles head to Campbell River on Friday to take on the league-leading Storm, who have lost only twice in 12 games so far this year.

“It should be a good two games to see where we’re at,” Osmond said. “If we can get two wins, we’ll be very happy. Especially Thursday. It’s got to happen sooner or later.”

Following a rare Wednesday-night date with the Westshore Wolves at the Q Centre, the Isles return home on Saturday, Oct. 22 to play host to the Storm.