The Kerry Park Islanders bounced back from a distressing loss to the Westshore Wolves at the Q Centre last Thursday to salvage a tie with the Campbell River Storm at home on Saturday night as they edge closer to the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoffs.
The Isles gave up a pair of one-goal leads in their 5-3 loss to the Wolves, then came back from a pair of deficits to tie the Storm 3-3.
“We played well, but we didn’t elevate our game like we should have,” Islanders owner Mark Osmond said of the loss last Thursday. “They were playing desperation hockey and getting to the puck more than us. They wanted it a bit more than our guys on the night.”
Kerry Park’s Corey Peterson opened the scoring just before the 13-minute mark of the first period, but the Wolves scored two goals just 18 seconds apart late in the frame to move ahead.
Parker Ellis tied the score 77 seconds into the middle period, and David Bittner put his team ahead again at 13:51, but the Wolves had made it 3-3 before the period was over, then added two more, including an empty netter, in the third.
Chase Anderson faced 37 shots from the Wolves, and turned aside 32.
Two nights later against the North Division-leading Storm, the Isles fell behind 2-0 in the first period, then drew even in the second on goals at the four-minute and 6:01 marks from Josiah Nadon and Keenan Eddy. The Storm got back in front at the 15:32 mark, but it took just seven seconds after that for Tait Aptakin to restore the tie, and neither team was able to score after that, through the third period and five minutes each of four-on-four and three-on-three overtime.
“The guys battled back,” Osmond said. “It was end-to-end hockey. The goaltenders were great on both teams.”
The Isles were outshot 54-36 overall, but had a 5-3 edge over the two overtime periods as they dominated the extra sessions.
“In overtime, I thought we were going to steal it,” Osmond said. “We definitely made a move to beat them, but their goalie made three excellent saves.”
Graham Winship had a pair of assists for Kerry Park, and Anderson returned to the net to make 51 saves. The Islanders got hard work from all four lines and six defencemen in the contest.
“Everyone contributed, which was nice to see,” Osmond said. “That’s the kind of effort we need every night until the playoffs.”
The Isles slipped into third place in the South Division, a point back of the Peninsula Panthers and two ahead of the Wolves, although they have a game in hand on the Panthers. They play Westshore again this Saturday, at Kerry Park Arena, in another huge four-point game.
The arena is hosting an initiation hockey jamboree this weekend, and the junior game at 7:30 p.m. will feature mini games between periods.