The loss of half of their goaltending tandem last week surprised the Kerry Park Islanders, but didn’t hold them back from a successful weekend.
The Isles saw J.J. Pichette make the move from the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League to the junior A Cowichan Valley Capitals, but Chase Anderson held the fort as the Isles took three of a possible four points in two road games, falling to the Peninsula Panthers 5-4 in overtime on Friday before beating the Comox Valley Glacier Kings 4-3 on Saturday.
It’s all part of running a junior B hockey team, Islanders owner Mark Osmond pointed out.
“The main reason for doing this is to move kids up,” he said. “We knew he’d be AP’ed, but we figured we’d have him a bit longer.”
The Caps also borrowed defenceman Patrick Keon from the Isles for their weekend journey to the Mainland, and Kerry Park was without forwards Keenan Eddy and Avery Nielsen-Webb on Friday as they served out the last games of suspensions, which opened the door for a handful of APs. Isaac Leik managed to score in his first-ever junior game, while Dawson Bittner had an assist. Matt Baird bolstered the defence corps, and Brady Thompson filled in to back up Anderson.
Osmond felt his team could have performed better against the Panthers.
“It was a frustrating game,” he said. “I didn’t feel we got a good effort from all of our guys. We should have buried them in the second.”
In addition to Leik, Joe Lamoureux, Will Connors and Kayden Peck scored, while Anderson stopped 24 of 29 shots.
Eddy and Nielsen-Webb returned to action on Saturday, bumping out a couple of APs, but Leik stayed in the lineup. The Isles played a “pretty solid 60 minutes,” in Osmond’s words, and the close score flattered the Kings as the Isles outshot their hosts 40-25.
“We should have had a pretty lopsided score,” Osmond said. “It was a good road result.”
Jarret Malloch had two goals and two assists, Peck had a goal and two helpers, and Nielsen-Webb also scored. Parker Ellis and Connor Bissett each had two assists. Anderson stopped 22 of 25 shots.
The Isles remain in the mix in a tight South Division, but Osmond believes his team is underperforming, something he says he has heard from other owners and coaches in the league as well.
“We’ve got to get a consistent effort,” he said.
The Isles will face some tough opposition this weekend as they visit the league-leading Campbell River Storm on Friday, then host the always difficult Victoria Cougars on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The Isles will honour Nick Collins at Saturday’s game, something the team has done annually since he died when he was struck by a car in November 2017. The organization is hoping for a big turnout of Kerry Park alumni in support of Nick’s parents, Jan and Bob Collins, both longtime volunteers with the Islanders. Bob manages security and has served as the team’s alternate governor, and Jan has worked the front door for years and used to be the billet coordinator. The Collinses have also billetted numerous players in their house.
“It would be great to see [former players] out to support Bob and Jan.”