Despite blowing a two-goal lead over the Comox Valley Glacier Kings on the road last Saturday, the Kerry Park Islanders came back in full force to collect their first victory of the young Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season.
"It was a funny game," Isles owner Mark Osmond admitted.
The Isles got goals from scoring star Braedan Cross, back with the Isles after finishing the 2013/14 campaign in junior A with the Trail Smoke Eaters, and veteran defenceman Jordan Coyne as they went ahead 2-0 in the first 15 minutes. Just over two minutes after Coyne’s powerplay marker, the Glacier Kings got on the board, and by the end of the period, Comox had tied it up.
"We played awful after that," Osmond said.
Head coach Dale Purinton gave the players a talking-to at the first intermission, but less than seven minutes into the second period, the Glacier Kings had taken the lead. Soon after that, Cam Nickerson scored on the powerplay to even things up once again, and from then on, it was all Kerry Park.
"Then they woke up and played extremely well and scored at will," Osmond said.
By the end of the second period, it was 6-3 for Kerry Park. For the last 10 minutes of the third period, the Isles leaned heavily on their third and fourth lines to avoid running up the score any further, but even that wasn’t enough as Nick Kean and Abe Lamontagne scored their first goals of the season to get the team up to nine goals.
Ten different Islanders recorded points against Comox, led by Nickerson’s two goals and one assist, and Kean’s one goal and two helpers. Cody Short had two goals, Cross and Zack Smith finished with one goal and one assist apiece, and Ryan Paisley had two assists. Coyne and Lamontagne had single goals, and Kyle Green and Matt Osmond each had one assist.
Goalie Leighton Williams made 38 saves on 41 shots, while his teammates fired 28 pucks at the Comox goalies.
The team is still missing a few prospective players, including local products Nick White and Ryan Hogg, who remain in junior A camps with the Victoria Grizzlies and Cowichan Valley Capitals, respectively. The team is also hoping to get some defencemen back in the mix.
"When we get everyone here, I think we’ll be a force," Osmond said.
The Isles will play one more road game – at the Nanaimo Buccaneers on Thursday – before their home opener on Saturday against the Peninsula Panthers, facing off at 7:30 p.m. For fans, it will be the first chance to glimpse the team in the newly renovated Kerry Park Arena, with new boards and a new ice surface.
"The boys will be up for the game and hopefully there will be a good win in order," Osmond said.