After being shut out by the Westshore Wolves at home on Saturday night, the Kerry Park Islanders bounced back the next afternoon and gave the Victoria Cougars a scare.
The Isles ended up on the losing side of a 7-4 score in Victoria on Sunday, but the improvement from Saturday was significant.
The Wolves scored less than two minutes into Saturday’s game, taking advantage of an ill-prepared Kerry Park team.
“The guys came out not ready to play and got punished,” Islanders owner Mark Osmond said. “They got their feet going pretty much halfway through the period. We dominated the next 40 minutes, but we couldn’t score. Three-nothing sounds worse than 1-0, but it was the same old thing: you’ve got to be ready.”
The teams battled back and forth until the last two minutes, when the Wolves scored a pair of empty-netters. Chase Anderson made 29 saves in the Kerry Park net, while Westshore’s Jordan Spandli shut out the Isles for the second time this season with a 28-save performance.
The Isles potted the first two goals on Sunday as Jarret Malloch struck 33 seconds into the game and Jordan Martin scored shorthanded at 2:55. Kayden Peck also scored in the first period, and the Isles led 3-2 after 20 minutes.
“We had a good talk with the guys before the game,” Osmond said. “We told them this was a team we need to beat before we can do anything.”
The parade to the penalty box began in the second period, and the Cougars scored four times. The teams traded goals in the third, the Isles getting theirs from Joey McGuire, who scored his first junior B goal.
By the end of the game, there had been 13 powerplays for the Cougars, who only capitalized on one, but just six for the Isles. Osmond knows the officials are young and learning their jobs, but he still thinks there need to be some changes made.
“I think the league needs to go to a fourth official,” he said. “We’re the only league that doesn’t have it. I’d rather have a safe environment for the kids than what’s going on now.”
Caleb Franklin had two assists against the Cougars, and Anderson made 38 stops. The Isles chased Liam McCloskey from the Victoria net after he stopped only one of the four shots he faced over 12 minutes and 43 seconds. Anthony Ciurro played the balance of the contest and stopped eight of nine.
The Isles will visit the Saanich Braves on Wednesday and the Comox Valley Glacier Kings on Saturday before returning home to host the Braves on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.