Kerry Park Islanders defenceman Dylan Parsons carries the puck up the ice during playoff action against the Peninsula Panthers at Kerry Park Arena last Saturday. The Isles are behind 3-1 in their best-of-seven series. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Kerry Park Islanders defenceman Dylan Parsons carries the puck up the ice during playoff action against the Peninsula Panthers at Kerry Park Arena last Saturday. The Isles are behind 3-1 in their best-of-seven series. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Kerry Park Islanders not rolling over in South Division semifinal

Trailing 3-1, Isles have been holding their own in series

The Kerry Park Islanders appear to be on the ropes, but that isn’t how head coach Brandon Cox sees it.

With a pair of losses last weekend, the Isles fell behind 3-1 in their best-of-seven series against the Peninsula Panthers.

“The outcomes didn’t go as we wanted, but we finished strong in Peninsula and we had a strong game in Kerry Park. We had a lot of chances, a lot of open nets. They just weren’t our nights. I definitely wasn’t upset with our play. I think we’re going to build off it this weekend.”

After the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League rivals split the first two games of the South Division series, the Panthers won both meetings last weekend, 4-2 at Panorama Rec Centre on Friday and 4-2 at Kerry Park Arena on Saturday.

The teams were deadlocked after two periods on Friday. The Panthers went up on a powerplay goal early in the third, but the Isles replied with a powerplay goal before the Panthers scored two unanswered. Matt Baird and Mateo Sjoberg scored for Kerry Park, and Dylan DeMelo made 31 saves as the Isles were outshot 35-33.

On Saturday, the Isles found themselves down 2-0 after one, but pulled even on powerplay goals from Reid Fitzpatrick and Brady Estabrook in the second. The Panthers scored two more in the third, and the Isles pushed hard down the stretch but were unable to get any closer. DeMelo made 29 saves as the Isles outshot the Panthers 38-33.

Based on the way his team has battled throughout the series, Cox doesn’t believe the Isles are done yet. The team will get a boost in game five with the return of veteran forward Kirk Whittaker after a six-game suspension has kept him out of most of the playoffs.

“If we were down 3-1 and I felt like we were outplayed in most of the games, I’d probably feeling pretty different,” he said. “But I believe in the hockey gods, and I think they’re going to reward us next game. Then we’ll be back to Kerry Park which will be a hard barn for them to come into. And game seven is anyone’s game; I’m not counting us out of that.”

Game five is set for Friday at Panorama. If necessary, game six will be played at Kerry Park on Saturday, and game seven will go at Panorama on Sunday. All games start at 7:30 p.m.

VIJHL

 

Wearing the ‘A’ for the Islanders, defenceman Marko Tokic looks to move the puck up the ice during his team’s 4-2 loss against the Peninsula Panthers at Kerry Park Arena last Saturday. The Isles trail the Panthers 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Wearing the ‘A’ for the Islanders, defenceman Marko Tokic looks to move the puck up the ice during his team’s 4-2 loss against the Peninsula Panthers at Kerry Park Arena last Saturday. The Isles trail the Panthers 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Kerry Park forward Logan Walker accepts a pass while in front of the Peninsula Panthers’ net last Saturday during the Isle’s 4-2 loss. (Kevin Rothabuer/Citizen)

Kerry Park forward Logan Walker accepts a pass while in front of the Peninsula Panthers’ net last Saturday during the Isle’s 4-2 loss. (Kevin Rothabuer/Citizen)