A handful of newcomers helped the Kerry Park Islanders collect their first win of the 2019-20 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season on Saturday night.
New goalie Spencer Deakin stopped 35 of 37 shots and recently acquired forwards Alex Villa and Corey Mater both scored as the Isles defeated the Saanich Braves at Kerry Park Arena to get in the win column after starting the year with four straight losses.
“It feels awesome,” Islanders owner Carl Ollech said. “The kids busted their britches out there.”
Deakin was making his second start for Kerry Park on Saturday after he was acquired from the Nanaimo Buccaneers in late September. Villa and Mater were skating with the Isles for the second time after they were picked up from the Westshore Wolves two days earlier, the same day Kerry Park grabbed fellow foward Rick Takeda from Nanaimo.
The Isles were in fine form on Saturday, peppering Saanich goalie Connor Svienson with 58 shots as they dominated the Braves from start to finish, and getting goals from three mainstays in addition to Mater and Villa.
“It’s not like the other guys weren’t there,” Ollech said, pointing out that it wasn’t just the new acquititions who did the damage.
Parker Bergstrom opened the scoring on a penalty shot with just over three minutes left in the first period, and Villa doubled the lead with 56 seconds left before intermission. The Braves got on the board with a powerplay goal early in the second, but the Isles got that one back when Mater scored late in the frame. Saanich potted another powerplay goal at 3:00 of the third, and it stayed that way for most of the period until Riley Windsor made it 4-2 with 2:53 left to play. Logan Furkalo sent the puck into an empty net in the final minute to finish the night with a goal and an assist.
The victory came at the end of a busy stretch that saw the Isles play three games in four days. It started last Wednesday when the Isles lost 4-2 at the Q Centre to a Westshore team that still included Villa and Mater at the time. Deakin stopped 45 of 49 shots in his Kerry Park debut, while Bergstrom scored twice and Windsor had a pair of assists.
On Saturday night, the Isles were shut out 3-0 by the Campbell River Storm at Rod Brind’Amour Arena. Jayce Hudak turned aside all 32 Kerry Park shots, while Nick Haisell had 38 saves for the Isles.
“The kids played good,” Ollech said of the Campbell River game. “They just couldn’t beat their tender. We dominated a good chunk of that game, too.”
The Isles will visit the Braves on Friday in their only game of the week. The team is still missing a few key players due to injuries, but 20-year-old forward Hikaru Kinowaki was expected to practice Monday and should be in the lineup Friday.