The Kerry Park Islanders earned an unusual split last week by winning on the road, then losing at home.
The Isles avenged a loss they suffered at home the previous week by beating the Nanaimo Buccaneers 3-2 in Nanaimo on Thursday, but couldn’t defend their home ice in a 5-3 defeat by the Saanich Braves on Saturday.
Islanders owner Mark Osmond was obviously pleased with the result on Thursday.
“It was a good game,” he said. “Everyone played well.”
Parker Ellis and Scott Smith gave the Isles a 2-0 lead in the first period. The Bucs scored the lone goal of the second period, and things stayed that way until Caleb Franklin scored an empty-netter with just 70 seconds left in the game. That empty-netter proved vital when Nanaimo managed to beat Kerry Park goalie Rett Rook with 19 seconds on the clock.
Rook finished the game with 35 saves on 37 shots, while the Isles beat Nanaimo goalie Cedric Lesieur on two of their 20 shots.
At home on Saturday, the Isles gave up two goals in the first period and two more in the first 72 seconds of the second to fall behind 4-0 before waking up. Eric Leblanc and Franklin scored powerplay markers to get their team on the board in the second, and the teams traded goals again in the early going of the third period, Kerry Park’s coming from defenceman Joe Lamoreux, who notched his first goal and first point in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.
“The first eight shifts or so, we were flying,” Osmond said. “Then we got a delay of game penalty for putting the puck over the glass, and they capitalized on it.”
Chase Anderson started the game in net and lasted just over a period, allowing four goals on 14 shots before he was relieved by Rook, who stopped 23 of 24 shots.
“Our goalies are playing well,” Osmond said. “They’re keeping us in games.”
The weekend split kept the Islanders at .500 on the year with a 4-4 record.
“I’d rather be 7-1, but there are signs there that we can hold on and do well this year,” Osmond said. “You can’t spot any team four goals and expect to win.”
The Isles will play Saanich again this Friday, in Saanich, and are hoping they can do to the Braves what they did to the Bucs, winning on the road after losing at home.
“It would be nice to have a repeat of the Nanaimo game from the week before,” Osmond said.
After the rematch with Saanich, the Isles will host the Peninsula Panthers on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. With just one win through 11 games, the Panthers have the worst record in the VIJHL.
The Isles are searching for applicants to be the Mill Bay Subway Seventh Man at home games. Participants get to skate with the team before games and stand on the ice for the national anthem. Players in the atom, novice and initiation ranks can apply. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.