The Kerry Park Islanders’ postseason lasted just six days.
The Isles were swept four games to none by the stacked Victoria Cougars in the first round of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoffs, falling 10-1 last Thursday, 6-0 on Saturday, 3-1 on Sunday and 10-2 on Tuesday.
“Talent-wise, we couldn’t quite match up with them,” owner Mark Osmond said.
Things got off to a terrible start for the Isles, who got their only goal last Thursday from Francis Slicer late in the second period.
“The boys went in and they knew they were going to lose, and they played like it for two periods,” Osmond said.
The team was much better on Saturday, however, despite being shut out.
“I didn’t think it was a 6-0 game,” Osmond said. “There was no shame in the way they played. They competed and made Victoria work for every puck.” Kerry Park lost three players over the course of the game: Nick Kean, who was knocked out by an elbow to the head; captain Eric Mansueti, who injured his groin; and Jamie Jensen, who was hurt when he was charged in the third period. Ryan Paisley was also unable to finish the game after he broke a skate blade, leaving the team with just two forward lines by the end.
On Sunday, they again played with two lines of regulars, bolstered by a trio of affiliates.
Slicer again potted the lone marker. Osmond was proud of how his team performed, especially considering they played most of the third period shorthanded.
“They played awesome,” the owner said. “Even in a loss, it felt like at least a tied game.”
Paisley and Curtis Csuk scored on Tuesday as Kerry Park was eliminated. Paisley’s goal was the only one of the second period as the Isles played some of their best hockey of the playoffs.
“It was a decent game,” Osmond said. “They were just too strong for our team.”
Mansueti tried to play despite his injury, but only managed a handful of shifts.
Goalie Leighton Williams suffered a similar injury halfway through the contest and was replaced by affiliate backstop Ty Rennie for the balance.
Along with Colton Burt and Trevor Beauregard, Mansueti is one of just three 20-year-olds aging out of junior this year as the bulk of the team is expected to return, a year older and wiser, next season.
“We’ve got a good core of guys coming back, and they got great experience in the last four games,” Osmond said. “We should be able to build on that for next year.”