The Kerry Park Islanders didn’t get into the spirit of giving to the less fortunate this holiday season.
Leading up to the Christmas break, the Isles had a home-and-home series against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings, the only team in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League that has struggled more than Kerry Park has so far this season.
Instead of being charitable, the Isles feasted on the Glacier Kings like Christmas turkey, winning 3-1 in Comox last Saturday and 6-1 in their home rink on Tuesday night.
“We’ve been slowly going in the right direction,” Islanders owner Carl Ollech said.
The Isles might have been able to beat the Glacier Kings by a larger margin on Saturday, but weren’t quite on top of their game. Comox ended up outshooting Kerry Park 40-25, but Isles netminder Spencer Deakin was up to the task. Parker Bergstrom had a goal and an assist, Dawson Elzinga had a pair of helpers, and Riley Windsor and AP Zachary Pearson had the other goals in the victory.
The coaches asked the players to play smarter hockey on Tuesday, and the players delivered.
“The kids more or less gave us 100 per cent for 60 minutes,” Ollech said.
Kerry Park’s top line combined for nine points, with two goals and one assist from Alex Villa, a goal and two assists from Bergstrom, and three helpers from Cory Mater. Tyler Magnuson and AP Tobin Bergman scored their first VIJHL goals, and defenceman Taylor Webb had the other. Deakin made 31 saves as the Isles outshot the Glacier Kings 45-32.
“Our shots on the Comox goalie were strategic,” Ollech said. “I think we only had eight missed shots. We were on target, smart shots. The boys played well. I’m very proud of them.”
The Isles allowed free entry to all minor hockey players who showed up in a jersey, and it helped them pack the stands.
“It was probably pretty close to the biggest crowd of the season,” Ollech assessed. “It was nice to see all the community support out there.”
Last Thursday, the Isles were beaten 8-1 by the Victoria Cougars, getting their lone goal from Mater.
Kerry Park has also bid farewell to forward Hikaru Kinowaki. The 20-year-old has returned to Japan after a season-ending, and possibly career-ending, shoulder injury. Ollech said the team won’t be the same without Kinowaki, who had four goals and four assists in 18 games this year.
“He’s a positive player, a positive role model, great for the young kids,” the owner said. “He’ll be missed.”
The Isles will start the New Year with another home-and-home series as they host the Westshore Wolves at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 4, then visit the Q Centre the following night.